When You Need to Make a Statement to the Media
If you're in the news, your voice needs to be heard
Words can speak louder than actions. When you or your company are in the news, your reputation is on the line. No matter how busy you are, whether the news is good or bad, you need to be heard.
That's when you need to get out a press statement. Its sole purpose is to provide the news media with quotes from you and facts that can be attributed to you so that your side of the story is heard. A paragraph or two that can be dropped into a news story is plenty.
How to Write a Statement
Statements from you personally should always be written in the first person. You don't have to use quotation marks because the whole thing is a quote. Italics are fine if you want to set off the text. When you're releasing it to the media, don't forget contact information. Here's an example:
Statement by Joe Football About His Trade to the Giants
Playing for the Giants is a dream come true for me.
The Giants are a good fit for my skills, and it's a pleasure to find a home here. I met with the coaches and players this morning and they're excited to have me on the team. The doctor has said that my shoulder has healed up fine, and I'm not worried about losing any time due to injury this year. I feel good about our chances to make the playoffs this season and take a shot at another Super Bowl.
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For interviews, contact:
Giants Vice President / Public Relations
A Press Statement is Not a Press Release
Just to be clear, a press statement is not the same as a press release. The latter is longer and more detailed, written in a newsy style and usually published in order to announce an event: a store opening, a product launch, or an award. The issuer of the press release wants to make news.
A statement is more likely to be widely published because it is exactly what a reporter wants: quotes and facts from the subject of a breaking story.
You need a press statement when you're already in the news, for better or worse. You might be an app developer whose startup Apple just bought. On the downside, you might be the toy entrepreneur whose product just got slammed by a consumer safety group.
Whether the news is good or bad, your reaction must be on the record. Remember when Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and he said nothing for days? Not even, "Thanks, guys." That was a little weird.
Maybe he was just overwhelmed, which can happen to the best of us. But the great thing about a press statement, as opposed to a press release, is that it's short and to the point. It can be a brief explanation, a pithy quote, or a response to the news about you.
A statement can be released much more quickly than a traditional press release. In fact, it can be pushed out instantly to Twitter and Facebook as well as released to more conventional news outlets with few changes beyond contact information for follow-up.
Don't get long-winded, but make sure your statement includes the vital information that people will want to know. Joe Football mentioned his shoulder because he knows his fans will wonder about it. Nobody needs the complete medical record or a quote from the doctor.
Remember that your statement is public record, so select your words carefully. If you're unsure about something, consult with legal counsel before you make an announcement to the world.