You Don’t Say: Five Press Release Flaws

Some of the most common words and phrases in press releases are also the most meaningless. Many of these wasted words are holdovers from the early days of PR [when press releases were chiseled onto stone tablets]. Others have migrated into the lexicon from corporate-speak.

Here are five verbal fails to avoid:

For immediate release. Stop the presses! A company just issued a press release! This line too-often tops the page. In most cases, and especially in the digital age, this sense of urgency is a bit overblown. Jettison this outdated formality and get to the point.

We are excited. We’ve all seen the “we are excited” quote so many times that it is easy to fall into the trap of sounding just like all the other excited people quoted in press releases the world over. Whether the speaker is thrilled, delighted, or ecstatic is beside the point. Instead, appeal to the interests of your readers. Why is your news important or beneficial to them?

Innovative solutions. This corporate tagline has done its duty and has earned its retirement. It conjures stock images of smiling office workers pointing at computer screens in a brightly lit office on the homepage of a once stylish website that’s overdue for an update. Think about it: Aren’t all companies are in the business of providing solutions? Tell people what your firm does and why it is good for them.

The self-aggrandizing quote. “We are thrilled about our exciting innovation, which is just the latest example of our company’s preeminent position in the solutions industry. It is no wonder we are the market leader in the thing that we do,” said Brag Toomuch, CEO of Boring & Bland.

Don’t be that guy. Use quotes as an opportunity to explain the big-picture significance of your announcement, rather than an opportunity for preening.

Continued on page three. There. Is. No. Page. Three. The optimal length of a press release is one page. Two pages is a pardonable offense. Press releases are often written by committee, with copy added by different people as the draft circulates up the chain. Aim for one page. Accept the reality of two. Relegate page three for the “urgent, exciting, solutions” that you’ve “proudly” avoided.