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Newsworthy Reasons to Write a Press Release: Part 9: ESG

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The opportunities to promote your organization and get your brand in front of a new audience of potential customers can be found by discovering newsworthy reasons to send a press release.

In this series, we have outlined press releases related to company news, employee news, product and service offerings, events, financial disclosures, recognition and more.

Stakeholders are increasingly demanding that organizations make progress on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Consequently, more and more companies are sending out press releases outlining their ESG initiatives. Show audiences you're doing your part to address the most critical issues of our time.

ESG Topics to Consider for Your Next Press Release: What Audiences Want

Here are some topics to consider that can connect the dots between ESG and brands for your audiences.

Launching efforts to reduce environmental footprint. From implementing advanced recycling initiatives to reducing packaging or lowering energy consumption, there are myriad ways organizations can improve their impact on the environment. Customers, investors and employees strongly support and encourage any steps  organizations take to limit their harm to the environment, so if there is effort to be a better corporate citizen, that’s more than enough reason to create a press release about it.

Some examples:

Publishing a sustainability report. More and more organizations are choosing to include sustainability goals and metrics as part of their quarterly and yearly disclosures. To provide that information in one place, many organizations have taken to publishing annual sustainability reports that outline their progress. If your organization has the resources and bandwidth to create a report of your own – and it makes sense for your brand – consider gifting investors and customers with this gift of knowledge – in the form of a press release.

Some examples:

Setting or reaching goals to increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Customers and investors prefer to patronize and invest in companies committed to creating a fair and equitable workplace for their employees and business partners. (Not to mention a more diverse, inclusive work environment will only make your organization stronger.) If your organization is making concerted efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive environment, sharing the reasons for doing so – and how you’re going about it – can go a long way in generating brand loyalty.

Some examples:

Creating an environment that sets employees up for success. Treating employees well isn’t just goodwill – it’s good for business and your brand rep. Not only will you attract (and retain) more talent the better you treat your employees, but you will also be more attractive to potential customers, who increasingly want to conduct business with companies that do good by their employees. Show your stakeholders how you are investing in those actually creating the products and services your organization delivers, and your stakeholders will invest in you right back.

Some examples:

Announcing changes to the company board. For public companies, investors want to know that major decisions have the oversight of an independent and capable board. Announcing an addition to your board in a press release shows investors that your company is committed to transparency.

Some examples:

3 Tips for Creating a Strong ESG Release

  1. Use specific target dates and well-defined goals. Companies are increasingly running the risk of being accused of "greenwashing" or "diversity-washing" when announcing new commitments to environmental or diversity goals. Show your audience that you are walking the talk by including specific, measurable goals and outlining how you will ensure accountability in reaching those goals.
  2. Ensure you're only sharing attainable milestones. While it is important to set and share tangible goals, make sure they are realistic. Saying that your company will become carbon neutral by 2050 sounds laudable, but is it achievable for your brand? If not, focus on smaller, more manageable goals your organization can reach.
  3. Highlight the main takeaway in your headline. In many of the ESG press release examples we've shared, the headlines not only explain the "what" but also answer the all-important question, "Why should your audience care?" Your press release will be more compelling (and more likely to receive engagement) if you present your primary conclusion up front.
Erin Payton

Erin Payton is an Integrated Marketing Manager for Distribution at Cision. In her role, she develops multichannel marketing campaigns, drives demand generation, fosters brand awareness and creates thought leadership. Away from the keyboard, she is an unabashedly enthusiastic cat mom to Mia.