Don’t quote me on this: Firefly’s five press release quote faux-pas

Don’t quote me on this: Firefly’s five press release quote faux-pas

Tom Reynolds

Tom Reynolds

Quotes in press releases are an essential ingredient and a prime space that is often under-used by PR practitioners. It’s a bit like forgetting to put baking powder in a cake mix, the cake will still taste ok, but it’s a bit flat.

[caption id="attachment_9390" align="alignright" width="300"]Get your recipe wrong, and your release can feel a bit flat. Get your recipe wrong and your release can feel a bit flat.[/caption]

The great thing about quotes is that it’s the perfect opportunity to give a person’s perspective on the news, adding further credibility and value to what you’re announcing. It’s important to use it strategically to strengthen your announcement as well as raising the profile of the spokesperson saying it.

Press releases are largely based on facts or data, so the quote is a good chance to drive your messaging home with something concise, to the point and meaningful.

Getting a quote wrong, means your spokesperson will get cut from the story. Can’t be that hard, can it? Well, we’ve seen people fall into common traps with quotes…like saying:

  1. “We’re delighted, ecstatic, overjoyed” – the media aren’t particularly interested about your emotional reaction, they want to know your view, the quote should add value
  2. “This is innovative” – if you’re also going to make such a claim, be prepared to substantiated it
  3. “We’re streamlining our processes/product” – what exactly do you mean? Try to avoid jargon or overused phrases as the media don’t really value this
  4. “Our product was blessed by Zeus himself” – yes ok, this is extreme but make sure what you say is actually true. If you’re going to make a statement it needs to be believable and backed up by facts
  5. “This is the icing on the cake” – If you’re happy about an award win or something equally good then describe the impact of the business, instead of using clichés that don’t mean a great deal

So, you know what not to do, but it’s never that simple is it? How can you avoid these in future?

Our best advice when it comes to writing quotes is to imagine someone actually saying your quote out loud to a journalist. If you cringe or think the jargon will go over their head, then it’s clearly something nobody would ever say. Another good tactic is to speak to whoever you’re quoting in your release and ask them to comment as though they were being interviewed by a journalist. Note down their comments verbatim and refine it for the release.

Always remember to have a high resolution picture of the person quoted for media use - it's amazing how many times forget to get these organised.

If you can avoid the pitfalls above and get some time with a spokesperson, you’ll have the perfect quote with which to bake the perfect press release.

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