Message -- this is the most important element of the Message Planner, and it is the culmination of your
entire pre-writing process. Look back at your original objective
(at the top of the planner), and think about the 5 W's and
the news angle ...
Now put your entire story into a sentence or two -- the main
points of the story, what makes it newsworthy, and anything else that
you want to communicate for your client, all phrased compactly in a
paragraph of one or two sentences.
One way to think of it: as a short news item. Imagine you're
driving home after the press conference, which was a big success. A
radio station who received your press release has boiled it down to a
short broadcast news story -- 30 seconds or less. What is it that
you're hearing on the radio? That's your message.
Or you can think of it as a sound bite. Imagine your client
is the mayor of Turtle Bay, Jimmy Cline. He wants your professional
advice: when a reporter asks about this project, what is the 20- or
30-second sound bite -- a couple of sentences -- that he should be
prepared to say, that will communicate everything essential about this
Another way to approach it: ask yourself "What's the headline?"
That's a common phrase among PR people. It's a good shortcut to the
central point. Sometimes a well-crafted headline can help you frame the
rest of your message.