Quotes are a common element of a press release, designed to showcase the thought process, or impact, of your big news. But crafting the perfect quote can be daunting. You want your quote to convey so much – the excitement of the news, the emotional impact of your news on your audiences, your strong opinion on a topic. So why do so many PR pros fall back on the old, formulaic approach to the press release quote? Does this formula work? Honestly? No. In fact, most quotes within a press release are blatantly ignored by readers and reporters alike.

To help us understand the power of quotes and how desperately they need to be revised, we turned to the industry’s leading expert, CEO of Wylie Communications, Ann Wylie.

Ann’s recipe for writing scintillating quotes boils down to four easy steps.

Write Shorter, Punchier Quotes

“When it comes to sound bites, one sentence is usually enough, two is okay, and three is too long,” Ann recommends.

Today’s quotes are way too long! Follow Ann’s 1-2-3 Rule and capture the essence of a statement. Ann recommends using curated quotes – short phrases, often featuring powerful words, that state your position in an obvious and stark manner. 

If you're stuck editing a long-winded quote, remember you can shift some of the information within the body of the release itself instead of including it as part of the quote. Put the important details in the quote and rewrite the rest in the following sentences, providing more context. 

Reduce the Number of Quotes

“When we over-quote, we select quotes less carefully,” Ann explains. 

There’s no real need for PR teams to use multiple, similar quotes to support their story. This hurts the press release in a couple of different ways. Too many quotes distract the reader and muddle the points you're trying to make. When you don't limit the number of quotes, they will often be of lower quality compared to one or two strong quotes that communicate your point. Choose – or write – more engaging, quality quotes that, when used sparingly, add context to the announcement.

Humanize Your Quotes

"Boring, wordy quotes often feature corporate speak; impactful quotes embrace emotion and drive reporters to want to know more," says Ann. 

Write quotes that speak the language of your audience, not ones that sound machine-generated. Focus less on yourself and more on who and what you’re impacting. Skip quotes highlighting leadership’s excitement. Instead, opt for quotes detailing the impact on end-users. As with many details in a press release, ask yourself why your reader should care and answer that question using a pointed quote, in relatable language.

Display Creativity in Your Quotes

"Don't be afraid to use wordplay and humor to elevate your news release quotes and catch the reader's attention," Ann encourages.

Stand apart from similar, formulaic claims that people have heard before and will gloss over. While it may be easy to cut and paste quotes about a new CEO or team member announcement, try to write quotes that will grab your reader's attention. Of course a new employee is excited about their new position - but why should your readers care? Metaphors and analogies are a great way to drive deeper connections with your readers. The best PR quotes simplify complex concepts and tag at heartstrings. 

Today, PR pros must take a new approach to their quotes. Quotes are a powerful way to reframe your story. But to create a quote that truly tells your story, you must think about your audience, not yourself. You must re-focus the content of your quotes, and how they’re presented within the press release.

Your news may indeed be just what the industry needs. But if others also say the same thing about their offering, who’s going to believe you? Breaking through today’s click-centric news cycle is extremely hard. But smartly written content can help. It is time to stop thinking of news releases as a checklist item and start viewing them as storytelling opportunities that can encompass a problem, solution, and results in a single narrative arc.

By implementing these tips from Ann Wylie, we know PR teams can benefit from a creative, human approach to quotes that help journalists frame stories in a more exciting way and, ultimately, build stronger connections among all audiences.

Learn more

Download our guide: How to Craft Quotable Quotes in Press Releases.

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