News release quotes are often the most underutilized communications tool at a PR pro’s disposal. Wire services are flooded with quotes from executives saying how excited, grateful, honored and thrilled they are about a new partner, employee, award or product release.
Let’s get real: who talks like this? Certainly no executives we have met. It’s time we all took an objective look at the quotes we’ve written before claiming we aren’t guilty of this practice. When you consider the function of the quote in the release, you start to realize its significance–it is the voice of the executive, often the CEO.
Think about that – the voice of the CEO. Yes, the PR team is truly inserting words into the mouth of the most senior person of the organization. This is no small responsibility.
Quotes in releases have determined company policies, influenced political decisions and inspired strategic vision. Oppositely, quotes have cost people jobs, sent stock prices plummeting and driven customers to competitors.
These may be extreme cases, but the point remains: the quote is a far from trivial element and should be treated accordingly. Here are suggestions for crafting powerful quotes that get noticed.
Write the way people speak. Quotes are meant to be the true voice of the person being cited. If you find yourself using a superlative or figure of speech that belongs only on an SAT test, you are most likely are not writing the way your executives speak.
Use your quotes to add information – not reiterate statements already made. Powerful quotes that help further the story are more likely to be used by a reporter. Ensure your quotes add new or deeper information about the subject of the release.
Incorporate your organization’s name into your quotes. When the release involves a customer or partner, it’s also appropriate to include their name in your quote. In this case, turnabout is fair play. Use the opportunity to say something substantial about the other organization – then create a quote from them that says something meaningful about you. This creates a testimonial that, once on record, can be pointed to again in the future.
Avoid clichés like the plague. (See what I did there?) Use anecdotes, facts, figures and real-life experiences as content for your quotes. Think of a quote as a mini-speech set within a very short story.
While this is not an exhaustive list, incorporating these four tips will result in releases with the power to influence, engage and drive interest from both media and customers.
Mike Neumeier, APR is principal at Arketi Group, a public relations and digital marketing firm that helps business-to-business technology organizations accelerate growth through intelligent strategy, public relations, messaging, branding and demand generation. Consistently recognized by BtoB magazine as one of the nation’s “Top BtoB Agencies,” Arketi helps its clients use marketing to generate revenue. To view all company blogs visit here, and for more information call 404-929-0091 ext. 202.