Every day, hundreds of new hire press releases are published on the Internet via services such as PRNewswire.com. They all generally adhere to some basic golden rules of narrative construction.
Stay Away from the Cute Headline
While it is often desirable to try to catch the attention of an online user with a headline that employs a pun or cute turn of phrase, such is not the case when it comes to new hire press releases. These documents are a reflection of the company in question, and are communicating the very serious business of an executive or senior-level hire.
The headline should be brief and to the point. For example, if chicken food products firm Pilgrim’s Pride wants to announce the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer, the headline should read, simply: “Pilgrim’s Pride Appoints Fabio Sandri as Chief Financial Officer” (1) The idea is to headline a new hire press release with Company Name + New Hire Name + Position Filled. The only thing missing here is the also-acceptable use of the abbreviation CFO.
Three-Four Paragraphs, Max
Unless the new hire is at the CEO level or some sort of celebrity Board of Advisor addition, brevity is the next golden rule. In just three or four paragraphs, the following information should be conveyed: name, age, and background of the new hire, name and other details of the person they are replacing, and the start date.
The other essential element is an enthusiastic quote of endorsement from a company spokesperson, as well as, if desired, a brief quote from the new hire themselves (where applicable). These quotes humanize the press release and deliver an extra level of excitement to the reader. In the case of a CEO level hire, it is also nice to end the release with a quote about the legacy of the previous person at the helm.(2)
Finally yet importantly, the new hire release should include a brief “About the Company” paragraph at the bottom, and contact info for corporate PR. Some releases dispense with the latter info, or embed it within the subscription layers of news release services.
(1) PRNewswire – “Pilgrim’s Pride Appoints Fabio Sandri as Chief Financial Officer”, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pilgrims-pride-appoints-fabio-sandri-as-chief-financial-officer-123122533.html
(2) PRNewswire – “McCain Foods Limited Announces Dirk Van de Put as President and CEO”, Retrieved June 5, 2011 from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mccain-foods-limited-announces-dirk-van-de-put-as-president-and-ceo-123100718.html