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What Is A "Leak" In Public Relations? (Advantages / Methods / Precautions to know)

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It's important for spokespersons to always be aware of how to get the media to take up their topic in a big and positive way, and to maintain a good relationship with any media on a daily basis. 

Therefore, the method of disclosing information to media personnel by public relations is generally a method of officially announcing information to multiple media at the same time, such as press releases and press conferences, but information is only provided to specific media. Disclosure, the so-called " leak " method, may also be used.

In this article, it will introduce the specific method and points to be aware of when performing a "leak" and the merits of "leaking" in public relations activities.

What is a "leak" in public relations?

"Leak" is a word used in various situations, but what does "leak" mean in public relations activities?

What is a "leak" in public relations activities? How to provide information only to specific media and request coverage before making a simultaneous announcement.

Because the media is different from other companies' media, we are looking for information that hasn't been revealed yet. It can be said that the fact that other companies do not grasp the fact that the information released all at once and the fact that it is often handled more in the case of original information and scoop coverage than the material that is side by side of each company .

Given these media needs, information may be "leaked" only to specific media in order to be widely covered in the press. In particular, it is said that it is often done for reporters in charge of economic news such as newspapers and weekly magazines.

Benefits of doing a "leak" in public relations

What are the benefits of doing a "leak" in public relations? Here are the three main benefits.

Benefit 1. Increased likelihood of being reported

Ultimately, it is up to the media to decide whether or not to carry out public relations activities. Since the media considers that it is important to report the exclusive coverage of the company, that is, the special news, it is a big merit that the information obtained by "leak" will find value and the possibility of being reported will increase

Benefit 2. Increased chances of getting a big deal

"Leak'' is not limited to information disclosure, but from their techniques for capturing interview opportunities. Therefore, in the case of simultaneous announcement, even in the case where only the so-called "solid article", which is made into an article based on the press release information, can be expected to obtain exposure, if you "leak" an interview, it will be large. One of the merits is that the possibility of being handled is expanded.

Benefit 3. Deepen the relationship of trust with reporters

Not only is it beneficial for companies to "leak", but reporters also feel the value of being able to make special reports. You can deepen the relationship of trust with reporters.

Since "Leak" discloses information before the announcement, please try to do it for reporters who are careful about the handling of information and reporters who have a relationship of trust.

What is the best news for leaks as a public relations strategy?

A "leak" that expands the possibility of being widely treated as a news report. That doesn't mean that all information is suitable for a "leak."

The material that "leak" is suitable for as a public relations strategy is especially related to business. Specifically, the information is as follows.

<Information suitable for leaks>

  • Information on new businesses, services, products
  • Business alliance information
  • Top management personnel information
  • Medium-term management plan 
  • Business strategy
  • Market share information

Three steps for public relations to "leak"

So what should we start with when it comes to "leaking"? Here are the three step-by-step instructions for doing a "leak".

STEP 1. Decide the media / reporter to "leak"

First of all, let's decide which media / reporter to attack. Select the media you want to handle, whether it is a media that has a high affinity with "leaking" material, or whether it is a reporter who has already built a relationship of trust.

If you have media that you would like to handle, but there are no related reporters, it is a good idea to read the byline articles, find a reporter who might be interested in your company's story, and attack.

STEP 2. Tell the information by phone and check the reporter's reaction

After selecting the media and reporters to attack, first tell the information by phone and check the reporter's reaction.

What you should be careful about here is, don't give all the information over the phone. Keep in mind that the information you give over the phone may become an article as it is.

STEP 3. Establish a place for coverage

If the reporter responds positively to the information provided over the phone, you will set up a place for coverage. Select who will respond to the interview before interviewing the spokesperson. When you want to interview, it is best to create FAQs and media training for spokespersons in advance so that you can control and you do not provide more information than necessary.

Five things to keep in mind when "leaking"

It's a “leak” that is beneficial to your public relations strategy, but you need to be careful when you do it. Here are the five things to keep in mind when leaking.

Attention 1. Check if the material deserves a "leak"

Just because a "leak" increases the likelihood,  it will be widely treated as a press does not mean that all the information is suitable. If you ask a reporter to "leak" with a story that has no news value, it will give a negative impression. Make sure that the information is valuable to the media.

Attention 2. Hold information release with reporters

In public relations strategy, the timing of information release to the world is an important matter to control. When can I expose it? Hold an information ban date with a reporter.  Also, it is good if you tell when you will announce it all at once in a press release etc. and when you want it to be published as an article.

Attention 3. Don't "leak" to multiple media

"Leak" is a technique that should be focused on specific media and reporters. The media and reporters generally have that awareness because you can cover exclusively, you can consider treating it as a news report.

In the unlikely event that you "leak" into multiple media, you will no longer be in an exclusive interview, so you should be aware that the reporter may think that the story is different and the relationship of trust may be broken.

If it is only an attack on one company, it is uncertain whether the interview will be recognized. If so, call out from the media with high priority, and if the interview / exposure is not recognized, go to another media outlet. It's a good idea to tell them that you want to speak.

Attention 4. Stay in close contact with reporters after the "leak"

After the "leak", stay in close contact with the reporters. You have to check the progress. There is some of the information that should be an article and there are some that should not.  Check the contents ``What kind of information should be an article" and "If it can not be an article, can I try to leak it to another reporter" and take the next action. It is also effective in preventing unintended exposure.

Attention 5. The value of the official announcement may diminish

If the "leak" is successful, the article will be published before or at the same time as the official announcement, so even if the official announcement is made , it may be less likely to be reported in other media. Carefully consider whether it is appropriate to expose the information you want to publish as a "leak" or to announce it all at once.


Leaking is an effective means of public relations strategy, as it increases the likelihood of being reported and being treated extensively. However, if you do not understand the risks, you will break the friendly relationship with reporters that you have built up until now, or information will be released before the information ban date, which will have a negative impact on your business, which is a disadvantage. There is also a possibility.

Please pay attention to the precautions introduced in this article and try to incorporate "leak" well at the right time with the right information.

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