How To Write A Killer Press Release Quote

media_relations1I know plenty of entrepreneurs (and even PR professionals) that can write great press releases but all of a sudden come up with a serious case of writer’s block when it’s time to write the press release quote. Writing a great press release quote doesn’t have to be painful, though. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important elements of the press release. It’s also a big reason why we spend time going over the important elements of a press release in the all-important PR Toolkit for small business. Why? Because if a reporter or media company is going to run any element of your release – verbatim – most often it’s going to be the quote. Thus, knowing how to make yourself sound intellectual is, shall we say, important.

Before we jump into the details of what makes a great press release quote, let me first give you the bad news. If you are planning on using either of the following phrases in your press release: “We are thrilled,” or “we are excited,” I have three words for you:

Throw it away.

And don’t give me that blank stare because you know who you are.

“We’re excited to have Jack as a new member of our team.”
“We’re thrilled to know we can help our customers save a little money.”
“We’re excited to be a part of such a wonderful project.”
“We’re thrilled to know we are making such a difference in the community.”

Puke.

Let me put it to you this way. We already know you’re excited about some or all of the elements of your announcement? Why do we already know this? Because no company or person ever issued a press release (sans the bad earnings or sex scandal) that wasn’t excited about the announcement.

If you’re opening a new location, I’d like to think you’re excited about it. If you’ve just hired a brilliant executive to help run your company, I’d like to think you’re excited about it. If you’ve just planted 5,000 trees on your quarter-acre business lot to celebrate Earth Day, I’m definitely sure you’re excited about it.

You don’t have to take up precious real estate in the press release quote telling me something I already know. Plus, people are more transparent than ever today. We can see right through the attempt. It’s like “The Biggest Loser” television producers having their trainers pull contestants aside to tell them a particular yogurt tastes great and can easily make a healthy smoothie as a snack. Memo to the producers – we know this is blatant product placement and the yogurt company paid a heck of a lot of money for you to say this. Spare us the “tip.”

So then, what DOES go into a good quote? Here are some useful tips on what goes into a great press release quote:

1) Talk about the impact of your news on the company, location, employees, community or industry.

“Our company is forever linked to sustainability, and we are focused on developing agriculturally intelligent growing practices that are carbon footprint-friendly.”

This company is excited, for sure. But the company looks and sounds smarter by explaining why they’re excited instead of some executive actually telling us he/she’s excited.

2) Call attention to something specific or an action taking place.

“In particular, our efforts to significantly reduce agricultural waste and resources such as phosphorus allow our company to instead focus our priorities on leveraging renewable resources as raw materials.”

3) It’s ok to be self-promotional in the quote because it’s really the only place you should be blatantly self-promotional throughout the press release (since the rest is for a little thing called news).

“With the launch of the SmartWise system, Company XVB has an opportunity to make significant breakthroughs in several critical areas including the environment, profitability and crop quality.”

4) When possible, try to sound like a human. After all, this is a quote coming from a human being.

“The time is right to provide an agricultural solution that makes us more responsible to farmers, environmentally friendly and natural resource-ready. We think this can be a game changer for our industry.”

5) Lastly, offer up some perspective of what the problem is and insight into a solution, or steps toward a solution.

“Today’s business landscape is littered with corporate executives that take advantage of a loose regulatory environment,” said company president XYZ. “The company’s new oversight technology will go a long way towards strengthening the culture of Corporate America, ultimately providing a foundation for a rebuilding economy.”

Use these five strategies when developing your next press release quote as they will help you develop a comment designed to make you look and sound like a genius in the media. What’s more, reporters and editors will appreciate the fact that you’ve helped make them look better in their story and will start coming back to you for more quotes in future stories.

Co-founder of the UnderstandingMarketing.com blog, John Sternal has been writing press releases for nearly 20 years. For additional tips on how to write a great press release quote, and how to write the perfect press release, download your copy of the PR Toolkit for small business. If you’d like help in developing a press release for your company, check out the new press release writing service for small business.

What pet peeves do you have with press release quotes? Tell us about it here by leaving a comment.

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Comments

  1. Goer says:

    Excelent advice! I would add:
    Give Helpful Information. This is a chance to share your knowledge and expertise. Examples: “How To Write A Killer Press Release Quote” “How to Pitch Journalists on Twitter,” or “Save Money by Doing your Own PR Online.”

  2. Press releases are very good for website because people interested to know what you are doing new.

  3. Garth Hoff says:

    Related to point number 3 on your blog list – use the quote to state opinion – a big one – that connects to your core message. The remainder of the press release needs to be fact – you can say just about anything in the quote because it’s a personal perspective. The best case is when your customer or other influencer is lending their voice to validate one of your core messaging points that puts your company in a positive compatitive light. Quotes give you credibility – in most cases lended credibility. Make that count in a big way. These kinds of quotes are golden.

  4. I read several press releases a day, none of which I write but I can tell you about the ones that capture our attention.

    They are:
    *direct
    *have perfect grammar
    *have an outstanding product behind it

    Most of all, the person writing the release must have proven to us that they are a person of quality that is good for their word and is committed to excellence.

  5. Maria Doyle says:

    Good blog post – I especially like Tip #4 – “When possible, try to sound like a human. After all, this is a quote coming from a human being.”

    When I work with a client, I try to get the spokesperson to give me at least an idea for what they would like to say in the quote (we can then work it from there). I feel that this makes it sound much more interesting that what the PR people make up.

    Also, read it out loud. Does it really sound like something a real person would say, or just “corporate messaging”?

  6. Great tips. I hope everyone writing press releases takes your advice and uses it.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] F. Description. This part is the main body of your press release, and should (and I’ll just quote Dave) “explain in concise detail exactly what your app does, what features and benefits it provides, and why people should care”. A great addition to the app explanation is a nice and short quote from you or from a partner. Besides being pretty fun to write, it lets you bring up a different aspect of the app. Here’s a good post on how to write a killer press release quote. [...]

  2. [...] proper attribution. The only place you should be expressing something subjective is within a quote. Quotes can be powerful and persuasive, and give your press release depth and character. To present a quote properly, remember to use the name and title of the person you’re [...]

  3. [...] Talk about the impact of this news on your company, location, employees, community or industry. (taken from this website) [...]

  4. [...] quote for their stories, in case they don’t have time to schedule interviews. But too often, the quotes are just a lot of hot air and puffery and weaken the credibility of the news release because it reminds the reader that the release is [...]

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