How You Can Make Your Press Releases Better – and You Can Quote Us On That!

 September 4, 2012

One of the most under appreciated parts of any press release is an authoritative or informative quote.

Any release will benefit from one or more quotes from connected, reputable sources – especially for a corporate or business release.  This could come from a company spokesperson, CEO, happy customer or other expert testimonial.  If you don’t include a quote then your release will lack the expected structure, will have lessened legitimacy and just be generally less readable and memorable.

The downside of this arrangement is that while most readers will accept that quotes are essential, the majority are frankly, boring and add nothing to the release. In fact, if they are removed, the release would lose nothing in translation. There are three main reasons why the quote can sometimes come out flat.

1. Executives want to play it safe and not make waves

2. People are in a hurry and don’t want to dig deeper than necessary for something pertinent to say

3. Writers often have to manufacture the quotes for their clients – somebody they haven’t met or interacted with.

Regardless of the type of release, the writer holds the power because they have complete license to mold the text however they see fit. So if the writer decides to adopt a safety first strategy, they have to take a greater amount of responsibility for the final product.

This is also a great advantage for the writer because they have the ultimate power to change the practice and create quotes that will add value and genuine information and enlightenment to the release. There are several techniques and tactics that can be relied on.

  • No Jargon! – Although a standard industry rule for copywriting, it also applies here. While business execs love to use industry buzzwords and acronyms, not many people outside any specific industry may understand it and the aim of every release writer should be to make their work as clear and readable as possible. It is the job of the writer to translate them into everyday speech.

  • Keep it conversational – When somebody reads a quote, it should read like it came from an actual interview or conversation. Not manufactured, even if it is. Break it down into recognizable speech patterns, it’s a press release not a book so make sure that you edit it accordingly. Cut down the text quotes into smaller chunks so they are easier to digest and be read.

  • Give an opinion – Press Releases are expected to be truthful but quote can be opinionated and opinions. If you have to insert a personal opinion into a product then this is the place to do it.

  • Change reference to the speaker – “She said” becomes repetitive quickly and is the mark of the inexperienced or novice writer. Always make every effort to keep the reference fresh by using alternative identifiers such as “According to” and “she commented” or “she remarked”.

Do something different – Sometimes direct and to the point is not the way to go, especially if your release is set up in this format from the beginning. Change the pace with the quotes and use similes, metaphors or other writing or literary devices – you are a writer after all and this is where your talents and experience should come to the fore. Add some character to the quotes which will bring your release and your quotes to life. If the quote sounds generic and it could be inserted into any release then get to work and make it your own!

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