What Spokespersons Must Consider in Press Release Writing – Misili, Gombe Press Affairs DG
A versatile and prolific journalist, Ismail Uba Misili, is the Director, Press Affairs at the Gombe State Government House.
Misili, at the 2022 Spokespersons Communication Awards’, SCA of Spokesperson’s Digest, emerged as the ‘Best Press Release Writer’.
Recently, Spokesperson’s Digest’s Kabir Abdulsalam had a chat with Misili, who also doubles as the spokesperson to Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
Through issuing well-crafted press statements, he explained how spokespersons of organisations can be on top of their A-game, in this interview excerpted below.
Press release and press conference are among the tools of media relations. Tell us their individual advantages?
Press releases and press conferences are two different things even though the objectives of both are to send out a message to the public.
A press release is a compelling news story written by a spokesperson of an entity, or government in our own case, which is usually sent to targeted members of the media for onward dissemination.
While press conference is a media event where media outlets/personnel are invited to cover and listen to the organizers to speak on issues, which also gives opportunities for the press to ask questions or seek clarification and get responses at prompt.
Each has its advantages; take the press release for instance. It is mostly a prepared news statement that entails every information you may need to know about a particular issue and it is not time, energy and resources consuming. Also, press release is sent to members of the media via available platforms without necessarily summoning them to obtain it unlike a press conference which has to be organized, give them a prior notice and then allow them ask questions to enable them prepare a news story.
Why is press release essential?
Like I said earlier, press release is the most essential means of disseminating information to members of the media as far as the government is concerned. It is essential because it gives detailed information about an event or issue which members of the media can access and disseminate in a very short time.
What factors should spokespersons consider when writing a press release?
The factors that prompt writing of a press release are the occurrence of events and when issues that require the attention of the media come up. You write a press release to send out information about an event that happened or would happen, or about an issue that needs the public to be aware of.
With your experience as a seasoned image-maker, what are the major media attractions of any press release?
The media attraction of a press release is usually the person involved in the event, that is the prominence, the subject of the event and how significant or rather impactful the information is to the consumers, I mean the audience.
How often and when should a release be written and sent to the media?
Press release doesn’t have a specific time to be written or sent to the media. Any time an event or an issue comes up, a press release can be written and sent to the media. So, it doesn’t have any specific time. A press release can be issued before an event to create awareness or after an event to highlight what happened, how and where.
Your last word to spokespersons in the country, on effective press release writing?
I think every spokesperson is assumed to be a professional public relations manager who underwent a series of training and is aware of the professional ethics of the job. So, that person ideally needs not to be advised on that aspect, but nevertheless, when writing a press release, the spokesperson should be mindful of their words. Use of ambiguous words is often discouraged, and the press release should be as brief, clear, factual as possible.