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 upon 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.
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.
Ann’s recipe for writing scintillating quotes boils down to four easy steps.
- Write shorter, punchier quotes: Today’s quotes are way too long! Follow Ann’s 1-2-3 Rule and capture the essence of a statement. “When it comes to sound bites, one sentence is usually enough, two is okay, and three is too long,” she says. Ann recommends using curated quotes – short phrases, often featuring powerful words, that state your position in an obvious and stark manner.
- Reduce your number of quotes: There’s no real need for PR teams to use multiple, similar quotes to support their story. This must stop, says Ann. “When we over-quote, we select quotes less carefully,” she explains. Choose – or write – more engaging, quality quotes that, when used sparingly, add context to the announcement.
- Humanize your quotes: 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. Ann pointed out that boring, wordy quotes often feature corporate speak; impactful quotes embrace emotion and drive reporters to want to know more.
- Display creativity in your quotes: Stand apart from similar, formulaic claims. Metaphors and analogies are a great way to drive deeper connections with your readers. You can use them to simplify complex concepts and tug at heartstrings. In fact, if your news calls for it, Ann strongly recommends using wordplay and humor to elevate your news release quotes and catch the reader’s attention.
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.
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And click here to register’s for Ann Wylie’s upcoming class: Not Your Father’s Press Release, July 12-16.