There is no shortage of press releases to write in my world, and that often means I do a bit of ghostwriting quotes, too.
It can be challenging to come up with something new and inspiring every time. It’s easy to fall into the same old generic:
“[Company name] is delighted/honored/thrilled to collaborate/announce/launch [insert initiative here].”
I’m certain many of my fellow public relations professionals can relate.
But taking the time to develop a high-quality quote can make all the difference in engaging your audience and adding a little humanity back into the news you’re sharing.
It’s no secret newsrooms run very slim these days with fewer – and busier – journalists. Whatever we can do to save them time and make their jobs easier, the more likely we receive the coverage desired. One of the many ways we can do that is to write better quotes that get to the point and add valuable details to the story. Allow me to share three tips I think can enhance this type of writing:
Forgo the gobbledygook
Avoid overused words like authentic, innovative, unique, leading-edge and synergy, just to name a few. Fight the temptation to intertwine proverbial phrases and unnecessary adverbs into your quotes. Instead, distill what you are trying to get across. Deconstruct those buzz words or phrases and get to the point. Think about how the person you’re attributing the quote to actually talks. There’s likely a more straightforward, human way to express what makes your announcement newsworthy.
Home in on what’s newsworthy
On that note, if you’re able to talk to said spokesperson to get their insight, do it. No matter how well you think you know the client and his or her voice, asking open-ended questions about what he or she believes is the impact of the news can be enlightening. What’s his or her perspective? Why is this news beneficial to share? Why does it matter? Listen to what comes first to his or her mind and hear how he or she speaks. Great quotes can add depth and credibility to the release that the rest of it can’t, so don’t let that opportunity slide.
Go for impact
I’m sure many of us are guilty of allowing quotes that share how delighted, thrilled or honored the client is, but what value does that really add? That kind of sentiment is kind of a given. Furthermore, I’d vouch for concise and impactful over long and fluffy any day. I think it’s safe to assume most of the people who are receiving hundreds of releases a day would feel the same.
In sum, writing great quotes isn’t easy, but it is certainly worth the effort to save journalists precious time and to successfully share your story.
What do you think makes a compelling quote?