3 Steps to Crafting Your PR Message

Simone Shubuck, 'Believe It', 2012. (c) Taylor De Cordoba gallery

Simone Shubuck, 'Believe It', 2012. (c) Taylor De Cordoba gallery

The first thing I always work on with my clients is the message - we first have to figure out, why should anyone care about your business? This is partially because a clear message is the backbone to drive all the momentum that PR can deliver, and because people are always curious to learn about new ideas and hear the story behind a business or brand.

Your PR message should be just that - a great story. A message is an introduction to your mission, your ideas and your values, told through a narrative structure. And in a world where we are saturated with information daily, your message needs to stand out amongst all the other stories.

Here’s three steps I recommend for crafting your PR message:

1. Have a PR objective and be clear on your target audience

It’s pretty straightforward: If you don’t know what you want or who you are talking to, what you are saying will not have the impact you are looking for. So before you get into the specifics of what you want to say, think about your overall objective and who you want to connect with.

There are plenty of objectives you may have for PR, ranging from broad to specific. Common objectives include customer acquisition, attracting investment or partnerships, hiring, lobbying, raising awareness or building an individual’s profile. You may have multiple objectives for PR, but when crafting a message it’s best to concentrate on one outcome and one audience at a time.

For instance, your objective might be customer acquisition for a new software product. So your target audience is potential customers of this product. Think more deeply about who these customers are - where will they find your product? What product might they already be using, and how is yours different? Knowing your audience really well is the first step to crafting a message.

2. Draw from your expertise

So you know who you are talking to and what you would like them to get from their interaction with you. Now reverse it, and think about what you can offer them.

Your message should come from a place of authenticity, so try answering some of these questions in relation to your objective;

  • What do you know better than anyone else?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you believe that no-one else does? (that one is from Peter Thiel)
  • What do you know what would help your target audience?

3. Choose your language wisely

Now you have the tools to put your message together, it’s tempting to think of a short statement that fulfils the basic ‘elevator pitch’ structure and press go. But even if your message is revolutionary, if it’s poorly written, confusing or too similar to your competitors your audience are unlikely to resonate with it.

  • Concise: One to three sentences in length, avoiding jargon and complicated terms
  • Strategic: Clearly defines and differentiates the value proposition
  • Authentic: Not a marketing slogan. Think back to your expertise - how does it relate?
  • Interesting: Engages your audience and tells a compelling story
  • Honest: Be straightforward and truthful with any statements you make (hopefully that is obvious!)

Finally, assess the message against your key competitors by doing some quick research on their key media and content messages. This should demonstrate whether your message stands out in the wider landscape, and give you some context around what messages your audience are already responding to.

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