Press releases are great promotional tools, but they’re only as effective as the words used to create them. Sometimes people can get in the habit of, well, writing things out of habit. But when it comes down to it, what do these words and phrases add to our work? If you can’t come up with a reasonable response, break out the red pen.
In January, I shared five words never to use in a press release. This is a follow-up with suggestions gleaned from the comments to the story as well as observations inspired by the thousands of press releases I’ve read while working at PR.com.
Here are some commonly used phrases to nix:
1. Pleased/proud/thrilled/excited to announce
We already know you’re pleased to make this announcement, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be announcing it. Rather than use this go-to introduction, go straight into the meat of what you have to say. It’s fine to say you’re announcing something, but the overly happy modifiers are unnecessary.
2. When asked for his/her input
There is no need to say anyone asked for this person’s input. It’s implied when we see a quoted statement. Just write out the quote and attribute it with a simple “he said,” or “said John Smith, company founder” type of phrasing.
This kind of language is ad-speak. It tells us nothing about your company or announcement. Not only that, it’s probably not accurate. Who designated your company or offering as the “best?” Unless you have concrete proof to back it up, leave it out.
4. Wealth of experience
This phrase is present in just about every personnel announcement. Does it give us any indication of the person’s actual experience? Listing his/her qualifications is necessary to understanding how it prepared this person for the role at hand. Once you’ve listed those details, “wealth of experience” becomes superfluous.
5. For the first time ever
The main problem with this phrase is that it’s often not true. We’ve come across many products that claim to be the first, only to find that there are others out there already. A quick Google search is all it takes to debunk your claim.
6. This event boasts an impressive lineup
If the lineup is truly impressive, there’s no need to boast. Introduce the speakers and give a brief bio. Your target audience will easily recognize big-name participants.
7. Just in time for
Yes, your press releases should be newsworthy. In theory, having a launch coincide with a major event or holiday doubles the newsworthiness, but this particular phrase sounds eerily like the dreaded ad-speak. Instead, write, “To celebrate,” “In honor of,” or other similar, less pitchy phrases.
8. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
This phrase is overused, especially in the travel sector. Is this really the only chance someone will have to get half-price massages at a 3-star hotel? It’s one thing if the trip involves a one-way ticket to another planet. Yes, that will only happen once in a lifetime. As a rule, everything else could be repeated at some point.
If you want your press release to stand out, avoid clichés and overused phrases. Write clearly and simply. Though old habits are hard to break, with practice you’ll be able to identify the weak points in your writing.
Did we miss any phrases this time around? Let us know in the comments.