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Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each week we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This week: an executive appointment press release from ITV, a leading U.K. TV network.

ITV names EasyJet’s Carolyn McCall as new chief executive – BBC

This news from ITV, the original broadcaster of the British hit drama series “Downton Abbey”, generated massive media coverage, particularly in the U.K. In addition to mainstream media like the BBC, the news was also picked up by business outlets like Bloomberg and trade publications like Business Traveller and Rapid TV News.

Why did the media like this story so much and what can we learn from ITV’s announcement?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook. A seasoned executive moved from one well-known company (the U.K.-based budget airline easyJet) to another well-known company (ITV). As we’ve touched on in earlier blogs like this oneBig Names Make News. Because of this powerful news hook ITV didn’t have to work hard to draw attention to its press release. They made a wise decision keeping their press release short and sweet, sticking to the facts and flagging all the important names in the lead.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Big Element Missing. ITV’s press release excels in simplicity. It’s straightforward and covers many important issues in just six short paragraphs: from the new CEO’s background to her biggest accomplishments and her start date. But one key element is missing. What is going to be McCall’s top assignment? And why is she the right person to take on these challenges? The press release failed to answer those questions, which might explain why some media created their own narrative focusing on the new CEO’s pay and slipping ad sales.
What We’ve Learned: Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Tell a Bigger Story

ITV might have had its reasons to approach this press release the way they did, but when you announce an executive appointment don’t waste the opportunity to tell a bigger strategic story. What will be the new executive’s key focus? Why are these topics relevant to your company and industry, particularly right now? And how will he or she help accelerate your company’s strategy?  Answering these questions will help you to control the message while also tapping into new consumer and technology trends, which journalists typically love to write about.

Check out ITV’s announcement here and let me know in the comments section below why you think the media liked this story so much and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Marcel van de Hoef is co-founder of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and medium-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.

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