Organizations are constantly hiring or replacing personnel, so alerting stakeholders (e.g., business partners, investors, employees, customers, or/and relevant media) to changes in key staff is a standard public relations task. The most straightforward and most commonly used tool for this task is the appointment release.
When I wrote my first appointment release, I found it a bit more daunting than the product announcement releases that I usually did. But I quickly realized that the formula isn’t really different: the lead paragraph contains a general summary that includes the following:
- who (appointee)
- what (title)
- where (organization and branch/region if applicable)
- when (you can include the phrase “effective immediately,” but the current time is often implied; if the appointment takes effect at a later date, include that information)
You don’t need to include “why” or“how” aspects for this type of release unless it serves as specific purpose such as damage control. E.g., if the press release is part of a campaign to show that the company has righted its course in some way, you would definitely want to include the “why” and maybe even a quote that details the “how” for that extra touch of transparency.
What you always will need to include are two main elements: (1) the appointee’s new position and responsibilities and (2) the appointee’s credentials and background.
Writing the First Part of the Appointment Release
The press release should announce the appointee’s name and new position in its lead. You can use a standard opening such as “XYZ Corp. has named Jane Doe its new [title] …,” “XYZ Corp. today announced the appointment of John Doe to [title] …” or “John Doe has joined XYZ Corp as [title] …”
If the position is new, include that fact in the first or second paragraph of the release. When an appointee is stepping into an existing position, think about whether or not it’s appropriate to mention who is being replaced. If the appointee is replacing someone who is moving to a higher position in your organization, then by all means, include that information.
Next, mention the appointee’s new duties and responsibilities and to whom they will be reporting. Many releases also include the number of years of experience the appointee brings to the new position.
You can also include a quote from the CEO or another relevant executive. On the other hand, you may find a quote from the appointee to be more fitting. Some press releases include quotes from both. While quotes are often in the first part of the release, you can also use one to end the piece or place it anywhere else that makes sense.
Second Part of Appointment Release
The next part of the press release should deal with the appointee’s past positions and education. Start with the position or job held immediately before the current one and then work backward chronologically.
If the list of past positions is long, you can do a group summary of positions that you feel aren’t really worth individual mention, particularly if they occurred sequentially. An example would be“Before that, Jane Doe served as vice president of marketing in a variety of companies.” You can also omit positions that are truly irrelevant if you will not be leaving a questionable gap in the person’s history.
The very last bit of the press release will be the appointee’s educational history. You can also add personal information such as their place of residence, whether or not they are married and the number of their children, if any.
Finally, bear in mind that the appointment release should be relatively short. People want a bird’s eye view of the appointee’s credentials, not every little detail, so don’t get bogged down. You can always include a bit more detail in their biography sheet. You are writing biographies for key staffers, right?