There’s no escaping the ever-growing threat of the “fake news” label – for media, and potentially as a huge PR crisis for communicators. According to Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report, journalists said that regaining trust amidst the rise of misinformation and fake news is one of the greatest challenges facing the media this year. 91% of journalists report that the public trusts them less than before.
PR professionals and communicators face the same challenge as the media and must be careful to avoid the appearance of false or deceptive content. Communicators understand that transparency and clarity benefits their brand story. Journalists surveyed in the State of the Media Report rated press releases and story leads as the #1 most important PR resource. The same finding was also observed in the 2016 journalist survey conducted in Asia Pacific by PR Newswire Asia, which indicated that Asia Pacific journalists rated press releases as the most trusted source of information. Earned media opportunities and media coverage rely heavily on brands’ storytelling integrity. Without it, a brand jeopardizes not only their relationships with the media and their customers, but they also risk backlash and damage to the brand.
PR Newswire provides a trusted channel to share your brand’s story with new audiences. And as a vetted and reliable distributor to the media, PR Newswire enforces strict guidelines on clarity and attribution, to ensure content is seen as accurate – the antithesis of “fake news.”
Arm yourself with these five guidelines that PR Newswire advocates on every release we distribute, to ensure your organization maintains credibility with audiences:
- Straightforward Headline
As the gateway to your content, your headline should be clear and engaging. It should also be an honest teaser of what’s to follow, in order to maintain trust. If you make a promise in your headline, be sure you fulfill that promise in your content. And it’s usually best to include your company or brand name, so it’s clear to journalists and your audience who is originating this news. To know more about maximizing the power of your press release, view our recent webinar and other archived videos on trending topics related to PR & Communications.
- Clear Attribution
Embrace your brand’s perspective and write clearly from that viewpoint. Attribute any statement of analysis or opinion to your organization. Audiences are more likely to trust your content if you’re upfront about who it’s coming from. This extends to quotes as well, which enrich a content piece, provide easy copy for journalists to use and adds a “human element” to the story.
- Identifiable Source
PR Newswire includes a note identifying the “Source” organization within every release we distribute. Along with clear attribution within the release text, that “Source” tells the media and other readers the company or group responsible for the information. The media knows that PR Newswire vets the organizations we work with, so they can trust the news is credible and understand who is responsible for that news. Here’s how to build brand trust with content source attribution.
- Available Media Contact
Your media contact should be a real person, with a working phone number and an email address. Journalists prefer not to be directed to an office number or a website for information – that makes their job harder, and makes it less likely they’ll cover your news.
A phone call or follow up email to the journalists may also increase the chance of your news being picked up. Based on an interview we had with Mashable Asia, Asia Editor Victoria Ho explained the importance of following up, as you can help provide other facets of your news that may not be obvious to the journalist in the first place. Also, 59% of the journalists we surveyed in Asia Pacific prefer to be contacted via email and the best time to reach them is in the morning.
- Authentic Voice
Once you’ve gained your audience’s trust through the above tactics, work to maintain it. How? Be firm in telling the whole truth and don’t exaggerate. And stick to your organization’s realm of expertise. There are times when it makes sense for a company to join in on a conversation about a timely topic, and provide thought leadership content. Just make it clear who your organization is, the connection to the topic, and why audiences should see you as an expert.
Once you have crafted your content with these five guidelines, connect with a trusted distribution partner like PR Newswire to help you engage new and existing audiences and build out a press release distribution strategy that helps enhance your brand’s credibility and visibility.
This blog post is adapted from the United States team.