Press releases are an important component of any company’s investor relations program. They are a key method for companies to announce news to a variety of stakeholders.
Creating and approving press releases can be an involved process that requires various resources and stages of internal and external approval. Managing this process is not a simple task, particularly when you are working with different internal teams and, at times, third party organizations.
What is the best way for this process to be streamlined to save time and ensure the best final product is communicated to the public? Below is a list of some key components in maintaining the integrity of the press release process and the final written product:
Point Person. Have a designated point person who is responsible for driving the process forward, writing an initial draft and identifying and collecting input from the appropriate stakeholders. This person must liaise with their internal colleagues as well as external partners to ensure everyone is on the same page and that the message you wish to send is clear and easily understood.
Deadlines. Clarify your deadlines and communicate those deadlines to involved stakeholders. Give yourself enough time before the scheduled release time to make sure deadlines can be met. Do not be shy about setting deadlines for senior leaders giving their feedback. Anticipate delays – multiple stakeholders may have multiple opinions on the direction or the content of the release. It is also possible that more people will be inserted into the process at the last minute. If possible, build in ample time for versions to be circulated and edited.
Sourcing Quotes / External Approvals. Press releases are often written in conjunction with outside parties. Approvals and sign-offs for quotes might be required and can take time. Anticipate approval timing in your deadline and reach out to third parties for approval early. Remember that many press releases need to be cleared by a legal team, who might require extra time for review.
Press Release Approval Committee. The “approval process” is a vital part of generating a press release. Know ahead of time how many people need to approve the press release. Consider establishing an internal approval committee for all press releases. This can be a tricky task, as many team members feel that they should have input. This group should be small – remember that in most cases a press release contains material non-public information, so keeping access to this information to a limited group minimizes chances of information leaking out to the public.
There are many components that go into the creation and publication of press releases. Managing the press release process is not a simple task, particularly when you are working with different teams and other companies. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a project with several stakeholders, these tips should help things run smoothly in order to get the best communication out to the public arena in the most efficient way possible.
Debbie Kaster, Managing Director