Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Benefits of Personnel News Releases

The development and distribution of a personnel news release to announce the promotion or hiring of a professional is standard practice in public relations. It is part of the process of notifying targeted media and your audiences on company developments, and it serves several purposes. The announcement of the person’s career advancement creates internal good will and indicated that your company continues to flourish. It is not meant to land the cover of the New York Times – it is meant to generate local and industry awareness.

Personnel news releases help keep the company name in front of its publics, including potential recruits, prospective customers and other influentials. Here is what should be included in the release:

-The person’s name and new title
-If the person is new to your company, include the previous place of employment, his or her title, and the city and state where the company is located
-A brief description of the person’s new responsibilities
-Prior work experience and educational background (if not included in bullet one)
-Community and professional association involvement
-Any industry awards received or publications written by this person
-If desired, martial and family status as well as place of residence
-A quote from the subject’s supervisor or company leader commenting on the expectation for his or her future performance as it benefits your clients and customers

Issue the press release on company letterhead and include a brief description or your business’ mission, headquarters and contact information.

It is essential to send personnel news releases to all the media contracts who normally receive news from your company along with a 5 X 7 headshot in 300 dpi. The use of color or black and white photography will depend on the target media.

To expand coverage, personnel news releases can also be distributed to:

-The employee’s hometown newspapers
-The employee’s alumni publications
-Community associations (in which the company or the employees are members)
-Professional, church or nonprofit organizations (in which the company or the employees are members)
-Company clients and prospects as a direct mailing

Personnel news releases are extremely useful marketing communications tools in the quest for top-of-mind awareness. They subtly promote a company’s success, help make the most of frequency and timing and expose initiating companies to other publicity opportunities.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Preparing Your Spokesperson

Here are six techniques your spokesperson can use to convey positive messages, even when questions get difficult:

- Use key messages as a base to generate fresh answers to questions. Use conversational language. Support your assertions with data and stories to illustrate why your service is newsworthy.
- Don’t introduce controversy unprompted. Avoid going off on the needless tangent by keeping answers short. When your spokesperson has finished answering, he or she should stop talking and await the next questions. Also remember to focus replies around one theme or key message.
- Good planning is vital to avoid divulging too much information. Pausing to collect thoughts is a good way to avoid confusion or raising a negative subject. Think of an answer as an essay. You need an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
- Facial expression is very important. Much credibility is judged this way. To look more engaged and professional, sit upright in the chair, make eye contact and smile. Hand gestures can convey passion for the topic and emphasize messages.
- Speaker credibility is also judged on the way you talk. It is important to be aware of tone. Make sure the topic being discussed matches the emotional quality you project in your voice.
- Building bridges is an effective way to handle negative questions. First acknowledge the topic the journalist raised. Mention the subject so the journalist knows you’ve heard the question. The second step is to use a phrase that builds a bridge from the journalist’s topic to one of your key messages. Use phrases such as “actually” or “I’d characterize that differently.” The final step is to provide a message with critical supporting data points or stories.

These tips will help to expand your spokesperson’s talents and capabilities. Following this advice will greater your chances that newsworthy, positive information is conveyed to the masses.