5 Words/Phrases to Avoid in Press Releases

Press Releases are interesting pieces of writing. They're unnaturally dry and are primarily there to allow other writers (journalists) to take the content and jazz it up. 

That said, you want to put your best foot forward in a Press Release and deliver the information in the most professional way possible. Here are 5 Words & Phrases to Avoid in a Press Release:

1) "JUST"

More than any other word, "just" has the ability to weaken your statement and I see it used all the time. 

"We just felt this was the best course of action for our company." -- it's as if you're acknowledging that what you're saying is no big deal.

The best part about "just", is that it's easily corrected. Simply remove it. Every sentence will work just fine and be even stronger if you omit the word "just" and move on. 

2) "ALWAYS"/"NEVER"

You should never (ha... see what I did there) include these words in a press release. They immediately paint you into a corner that you'll won't be able to get out of. Critics will quickly be able to find an instance where you have violated your own rule of "always" or "never". 

For instance, in a release, you might find, "Our company is always looking to partner with the best and brightest". Well, that's not necessarily true. Some days you miss the boat, some days you're preoccupied with other matters, some days -- heck, some days this just isn't all that important to you. A better choice of words might be "Where possible, we seek to partner with the best and brightest." 

3) "REALLY"

"Really" has two uses, and neither of them have a place in a formal document.

The first implies emphasis, as in "We are REALLY excited to kick off the next phase of development". 

The second is simply a filler word that's used to qualify a statement, as in, "REALLY, when you think about it."

In the first context, the reader can assume that you're excited about something. Adding this additional word seems to be a way of trying to convince us of something that's unnecessary. 

In the second, it's simply a fluff word that's not much better than "Uhm" or "Well".

When writing a press release you're looking for the most definitive and powerful words and phrases possible. There's no need to add junk that doesn't need to be there. 

4) BUSINESS CLICHES 

By time everyone in an office is using a given phase, chances are everyone is sick of it. They are typically informal in their use and while they're intended to encapsulate a known meaning into a quick phrase, they reach a point where they just sound silly. These have a habit of sneaking into the quotes contained within a press release.

Some examples:

  1. Drill-down
  2. Synergy
  3. Par for the course
  4. Think outside the box
  5. Hit the ground running

The list goes on and on. Spend a minute and come up with a new and unique way of saying what you're saying.

5) CONTRACTIONS

This can be difficult to do since contractions (can't, won't, shouldn't, etc.) are part of our daily verbal usage, but they really should be avoided in a professional document like a press release. You may be able to get away with them in a direct quote being used in the piece, but even then they can seem "chatty".

That's not to say you should simply replace "can't" with "can not", or "won't" with "will not", but rather try and find a more eloquent way to get around these terms. For instance, if a quote is written "We can't think of a better person than John to head up our new initiative.", you might want to reword the whole sentence to be much more active by saying, "John is a perfect choice to head up our new initiative."

 

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