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What are Key Messages - Best practices in Public Relations

Updated: Sep 12

In Public Relations, key messages are the main primary messages that you want to get through to the intended 'public' or stakeholder group, to achieve a desired set objectives. For example, if you are a city councillor and want people to litter less, you would create a strong key message based on factual evidence to communicate to the 'publics' or audience that they should stop it because the plastics are ending up in oceans and killing sea life. So based on emotional impact, you would send out a press release to the press to educate them by sharing educational impact information such as: 'Litter Less, bring a plastic bag and carry the litter home with you' key message, with an impactful picture of a whale littered with plastics all over it.

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So essentially, key messages are the primary / core messages you want to get through to your public to reach your set objectives.

Psychology research has shown that humans remember things best in threes, for example a telephone number of 8 digits, you would likely break it up into 3 to remember it, for example if you had 10 digits to remember 6478023382, you would likely break it up into three something like this 647-802-3382. It's easier for the mind to absorb whether you look at it, or if it is spoken to you, or to even store it in your memory. Hence why three is the lucky number. Even Thomas Jefferson and Steve Jobs believed in the Rule of Three. Just as a general rule of thumb, however based on the objectives, you may want to set it anywhere between 1-10 to get your intended messages through.

So when you have an event or gathering for whatever reason, be it a corporate or product launch, festivity, political, governmental or charitable - there may be a lot of things to say throughout the event, but you want people to remember a number of core messages.

For example if your client was a fine dining restaurant that was about to launch, and you invited journalists so they can write about what it is about. And there are so many things about the restaurant that you need to promote and you want to talk about, and you may just keep rambling on about the decoration, or about the food, or how much effort it was putting it together, but you want them to carry the right information to the audience / publics / i.e.: your customers.. An example below:

Example Key Messages

  1. Palacio is a fine dining Spanish restaurant in Toronto serving the widest selection of the finest pinchos akin to that found in San Sebastian, serving wines from award winning Spanish wineries. Book with us today at or call us at 647-xx-xxxx.

  2. The Spanish themed restaurant located in Downtown Toronto also has an events space that can accommodate up to 100 pax, and comes with the basic conference set-up of a projector, speakers, mic and small stage. Please get in touch with our office manager Rick at 647-xxx-xxxx.

  3. Disco Espaniol @ Palacio every Fridays & Saturdays 5pm- 2am, FREE drinks for ladies till 10pm. Table bookings call xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Photo by Helena Lopes on

So effectively, you have managed to group things into 3. Then from there, you elaborate out. But you know in broad terms, the audience is going away comfortably with about 3 messages pertaining to your business goals or goals for the day in mind. Whatever event you have, there would be thoughts you would want people to walk away with. So try to filter it down to about 3.

Next, have a peak into How Politicians Speak in Key Messages, and Why You Should Too

And now that you're clearer about the 3 key messages you need to fine tune your public relations campaign to, work it into your press release. A common format of information flow is usually The Inverted format of Pyramid Press Releases. Good luck! Follow us for more tips on Public Relations, and read on about The Inverted format of Pyramid Press Releases – Best Practices in Public Relations

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