What are specific questions to ask in a press release SME call?

Here are some questions to get you started

Writing a good press release starts with asking the right questions. And while it's important to be able to ask "dumb" questions without sounding dumb. it's also important to be organized and prepared for your SME interview.

Here are some basic questions to use with client subject-matter experts, or SMEs:


  1. What are we announcing? Why is it important?
  2. Who should care and why?
  3. What evidence/proof points can support specific claims?
  4. How does this fit into the larger company story?
  5. Who would you like to quote in this announcement?

Product Announcements

  1. Who should care and why?
  2. What customer problem does this product/solution address? 
  3. What are the top three business benefits?
  4. What are the top features?
  5. How will it help customers/what market challenge will it address that has never been solved before?
  6. What is the anticipated timing for securing a new customer based on this product?
  7. Who are some of the customers that are being targeted for this solution? Who is the ideal buyer?
  8. Do you have a customer and analyst we can quote in this announcement?

New Executive Announcements

  1. What attracted you to company? What is it that made you feel like this would be the perfect fit?
  2. What are some key successes from your career, and how will these help you in your role?
  3. What strengths do you bring to the table?
  4. What are your immediate next steps in your role?
  5. What's your long-term vision for core responsibility?
  6. What excites you about industry, and what are some trends you’re seeing that point to why company is the right choice for customers?

Partnership Announcements

  1. Can you share more specifics on the partnership?
  2. How will this impact customers of both organizations?
  3. How will this impact the market?
  4. Do you have a joint customer we can quote in the press release?
  5. What is the first step now that a partnership is in place?

Funding Announcements

  1. What is the final funding amount? [If this follows a previous funding round] Which round is this?
  2. Which investors are involved/should be mentioned, and who led the funding round?
  3. Is there preferred market data we can cite in the release to demonstrate market size/growth opportunity?
  4. [If this follows a previous funding round] Are there any data points we can share on your’ growth and momentum since your last funding round?
  5. What do you intend to do with the funding?
  6. What are your future growth plans?
  7. What’s next for the company?
  8. How will this funding impact your end customer?
  9. In addition to the CEO quote, would you like to include an investor quote? (IG can provide an initial draft.)
  10. What messages are you wanting to send to the market about what you've accomplished and where you're heading?

Acquisition Announcements


  • Who are you acquiring? Where are they headquartered?
  • When is the acquisition being finalized, and when are you planning to announce it?
  • Are forms being submitted to the SEC? If so, when? (Some news orgs have automated searches to catch these types of developments, which can result in the news leaking prematurely We’ll want to know of anything going on the public record in advance so that we’re prepared to monitor.)
  • Are you able to share the sell price with the public announcement?
  • Which investors are backing the deal? Are they willing to be named/quoted?
  • How will the teams be integrated? Are any executives moving over?
  • How will the products be integrated? What is the timeline?
  • Who are the spokespersons for this announcement?
  • Who should be quoted in the release on behalf of each entity?
    • Who will participate in interviews?
    • Do any of these individuals need media training? If so, what level of training?


  • Which audiences do you want to reach? (Include any relevant broader audiences such as potential investors, future acquisition targets, etc.)
  • What is the primary message you’d like to communicate around this? Are there any nuances with the message to specific audiences?
  • What is your vision for the future of the company? How does this acquisition help you move in that direction?
  • What specific capabilities and strengths of both companies should we highlight to demonstrate why the two organizations/solutions are so complementary?


  • Why is this acquisition significant? Why does it matter? Why should someone care about it?
  • What does it indicate about the current state of the market / needs of the market?
  • How do you think this will be seen/perceived by the market? Are there any negatives we need to be prepared to address?
  • What does this mean for customers of both entities? How will this benefit them?

Communications Plan

(Internal note: Answers to these questions may indicate additional service opportunities, but in general we need to know the broader communications plan.)

  • Are you developing a communications plan for employees, customers (for both entities)? Is support needed in this area?
  • Do you need support with the website communications?
  • Do you need support with the announcement on social media?
  • What is the post-acquisition plan for:
    • Updating your branding/messaging
    • Integrating the two websites
    • Integrating the two company's social profiles