Daniel Bliley

The Five People Essential to Your Next News Release

By: Daniel Bliley | March 22, 2016 | 
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The Five People You Need on Your Next News Release

By Daniel Bliley

Let’s face it, public relations can be routine most days.

Push out company updates. Pitch a few articles. Scout new journalists. Reports. Happy hour. Repeat.

Then a story hits.

I’m not talking about the new vice president hire or recent product launch.

I’m talking about a real, bonafide, ripped-from-the-headlines NBC-style movie drama.

Meetings are called. Coffee is brewed. Phones are put away.

Just kidding! Everyone will still be on their phone.

A company response is needed. Opinions fly. Wordsmiths begin smithing. Pontificators pontificate.

An hour later, the CEO slams the table and adjourns the meeting. A news release final draft is needed by the end of the day.

You draw from your experiences, top blog advice, and expert case studies to draft a killer news release.

You float your masterpiece out on the editing floor.

By the end of a Google Doc melee, your news release, with all of its calculated clarity, now looks like your first attempt at knitting a quilt.

There are now 20 minutes to your deadline and your company—and career—are on the line.

How can this situation be avoided?

You need a team.

A small group of the right people to deliver the perfect response every time. 

The Five People Essential to Your Next News Release

The Subject Matter Expert

Odds are, PR professionals aren’t always an expert on the topics they cover.

The level of knowledge may range from cursory to comfortable, but conveying information in a strategic way isn’t the same as fully understanding the subject.

Working with an expert helps gain the critical insight necessary for developing an effective message in your news release.

Why they’re critical

Fact-checking.

You have to make sure your message jives with academic types and lawyers eagerly awaiting their turn to dispute the company’s position.

Don’t give them a chance.

Get a qualified eye and manage risk with an expert view.

The Creative

Creatives see the world differently.

Not better. Not worse. Just different.

I have worked with many designers, copywriters, and art directors in my career.

I love how they approach problems and imagine solutions.

Bringing in a creative perspective will help open the door to other possibilities in your message that may prove more effective.

Why they’re critical

Creatives are constantly looking to improve things.

They break down complex ideas and concepts in multiple ways.

You need someone who can make sense of large inputs of information and develop a simplistic approach to convey the message for maximum effectiveness.

The Overthinker

Over-thinkers are critical for a strong final draft of your news release.

I know they make meetings longer.

They derail your train of thought. They can be maddening. But, they make you think. And rethink. And think again.

This helps you consider multiple angles and take risk management seriously.

Why they’re critical

They see all sides.

They evaluate how each word might affect the reader, how it might be interpreted, and how each detail could threaten your company.

Pro tip: Take notes when they go on analytical soliloquies, it makes for great talking points to distribute to staff.

The Oblivious Onlooker

One of the most difficult things in writing is stepping back with a fresh perspective.

No matter how hard you try, you still carry all of your preconceived thoughts, experiences, and biases into your projects.

It is also difficult to determine if the message conveys correctly since you are prewired with the information.

Having an unbiased set of eyes helps overcome these obstacles and ensure your message is being read as intended.

Why they’re critical

Clarity, clarity, clarity.

When you are close to a subject, it is easy for your brain to read between the lines and fill in informational gaps that might not be apparent to others.

If someone can easily interpret your information without knowing it beforehand, you’ve nailed it.

The Intended Audience

While the other four types of people can help you craft, dissect, and build a terrific news release, none of them can tell you how it will feel to have the information hit the wire.

Knowing what the affected group thinks gives you a better sense of empathy for what you are writing–even if you don’t end up changing it.

Why they’re critical

They give you insight that doesn’t come from textbooks, case studies, or best practice blogs.

It comes from the heart.

Whether you want to make edits based on their feedback or not, the world could always use a little more empathy.

The Five Member Team

This five member team will help you write strategic and clear communications on your company’s behalf.

Next time you are faced with an important or difficult news release, bring them to the table and solicit their input to avoid the editing drama.

You will grow in your writing and your company will better navigate the nuanced world of media relations.

image credit: shutterstock

About Daniel Bliley


Daniel Bliley is a national award winning marketing professional with 15 years experience. He has worked in many industries, including healthcare, automotive, banking and technology. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Virginia and his M.S. in Marketing Management from New England College. Daniel is the 2014 Western Virginia American Advertising Federation Ad Person of the Year.

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4 Comments on "The Five People Essential to Your Next News Release"

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Paul Krupin
3 months 8 days ago

To me this is a slow path to mediocrity. News releases written by committee are usually horrible. Best task it to the right executive VP who has the authority to get the information from these five or more people in minutes, write it up and give it ready for press to the CEO.

Daniel
Daniel
3 months 8 days ago

I agree Paul, writing by committee is not favorable and recommend gathering their input versus opening it to a full blown piece-mealed writing

Shonali Burke
3 months 7 days ago

This is certainly an interesting approach, though I’m not in favor of working by committee either. But I’m curious: where would you place legal counsel (if there are “tough” releases coming out, then surely they need to be involved)?

Daniel Bliley
Daniel Bliley
3 months 7 days ago

Shonali,

That’s a great point…legal counsel is very important in the mix to make sure you are safe on all accounts. I was focusing more on personality types than job roles, but agree, they bring valuable input to the table

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