Unsure how to start writing key messages?
I'm not going to lie, it can sometimes take HOURS to write just four compelling key messages. But, once you do, those messages will be used over and over again.
To find out why key messages are one of the most crucial elements of a media relations campaign, I'm joined by Allira Carroll from Tonic PR. We'll also cover what should be included in the messages, how long they should be and what not to do when writing them. Plus, we'll share eight tips we've learnt from many years of practice.
WHAT ARE KEY MESSAGES?
They're a concise collection of messages that summarise THE most important points relating to your brand/product. If you had 30 seconds with a journalist, these would be the messages you'd want to communicate to get them excited about it.
WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
They provide a brand's internal stakeholders with an approved selection of messages that can be used in all internal and external communications, and ensure the brand is referred to correctly across all of them. Key messages are used in media releases, on websites, within social media copy and as briefing points for interviews. Get them right from the start and it will save you a lot of time down the track.
“Key messages should be factual and genuinely reflective of of the brand/product. Never use hyperbole!”
Listen to the full episode on The PR Pod podcast for more tips and insight on crafting key messages. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, just search "The PR Pod".
WHAT SHOULD YOU KEEP IN MIND WHEN WRITING THEM?
Keep them to 3 -5 concise points, listed in order of priority
The first sentence should summarise what you're trying to communicate - who, what, when, where, why and how
Look at the messages through a journalist's lens. Collate all your information in advance then distill from that what are the most important elements to communicate
Key messages are different to a media release. A media release is a much broader, supporting document that accompanies a pitch, which allows you to be more descriptive on smaller elements of the offering/product/brand. For key messages, you want to summarise the key components
Think about how you can combine points to be more concise
It can take a really experienced PR about 1.5 - 2hrs to write key messages so if you're new to writing them, it could take you a whole day. Plus, you'll no doubt have to rewrite them many times once you get feedback from your manager. So, allow yourself enough time to go through multiple approval stages before you have to meet your deadline (if you don't have a deadline, ask for one)
Say them aloud (in your head) once you've written them. This helps get the flow right and see if you've got the punctuation in the right places
Sleep on them. Not literally on them.... Just give yourself a break overnight and then come back to them the next day. You may have some fresh insight or a better way of articulating a point
Ready to move onto building your media list and need some guidance? Check out the Creating a Media Matrix episode.