I 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.”
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.