Public Relations Magic: The Four-Part Message Document that Will Make Your Customers Sit Up and Listen!

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Whether you have four employees or 40,000, the ability of every member of your team to speak in a unified voice is a very powerful business tool that will help you get higher visibility.

Effective messaging provides you and your team with a PR ''codebook'' to communicate with all audiences: customers, potential customers, the press, investors, partners, and employees. It provides a shortcut for all of your public relations: creating speeches, marketing materials, website text, news releases, and language for proposals, contracts, and other official communication. Your team will find it indispensable.

Your message document need not be complex — two to three pages is standard. It includes:

  1. The ID graph. This is a single paragraph, the ''boilerplate,'' that describes your organization. Like all of the other messages below, it should answer the question ''What can you do for me?'' It is often used at the bottom of press releases under ''About XYZ Co.''

  2. The elevator speech. Keep it to three to four floors! Practice a 15-second pitch on how you and your organization can help your ''elevator-mate’s'' organization succeed. What they want to know is ''What can you do for me?''

  3. Must-say messages. These are the four or five most important messages everyone in your organization must know by heart. They should be in all communication. When you do a press interview, for example, you should weave them into your answers — regardless of the questions.

  4. Main messages. These comprise a couple of pages of accurate details about your organization/services/products/industry that everyone on your team can cut and paste into proposals, presentations, articles, letters, op-eds, fact sheets, and marketing and sales materials.
Once your message document is finalized, you, as CEO, or another senior executive should present it to the company at an all-employee meeting to underscore its importance.

About the Author

Robert Deigh is principal of RDC Communication/PR and the author of How Come No One Knows About Us? (WBusiness Books, May 2008), the ultimate PR guide for any organization. To get a full chapter by email (called ''Use These 16 Sure-Fire Ways to Come Up with Story Ideas that Will Attract Press'') from his upcoming book, to inquire about his availability for speeches or workshops, or to subscribe to his popular monthly online newsletter, PR Quick Tips, contact him at or
703-503-9321. His website is
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