Press Releases: Keep It Simple!

I just read one of the most entertaining and scathing takes on the stilted language commonly found in traditional corporate communications, as Todd Wasserman of takes on press releases in “Just Hitting the Wire: Your Press Release Sucks.”

You’ve seen the phrases before. “We are so proud to be a part of this exciting new partnership…we are committed to excellence and the satisfaction of our customers, blah blah blah blah.”

Oh really? We had no idea. We thought you wanted your products to fail miserably. Come on, puhleeeze!

Not that there isn’t a need to reiterate your core messages and create these traditional story pitch tools. But in this day of get-to-the-point marketing and do-it-now technology, it’s more important than ever to spell out the relevance of your news – clearly and quickly! Why should the media person feel compelled to share this news? And if your marketplace is the recipient of this announcement, why should they care?

Back in my earlier days of coordinating marketing communications for healthcare IT companies, I had my own arsenal of overused,  techno-jargon infused phrases that I was frequently urged to include throughout materials. (I’ll forego listing them here to protect the culprits.) But one thing that I always noticed even back in the ancient 90’s and early part of the new millenium – people responded to the age-old KISS theory, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Those postcards that said it all with a few words and a powerful visual, those ads with little copy but a straightforward message, and yes, those press releases which were to-the-point and used more everyday language and less jargon, they typically yielded greater feedback. More product inquiries, more web traffic, more media responsiveness.

Look at your own news announcements. Read over the last one developed by you, a staff member or a hired writer or publicist. Is it communicating the real message you want to get across? And are those words, your words? An experienced writer or publicist should be able to guide you regarding acceptable format, general tone, effective wording and branding strategy. But make sure that whomever is building those communications, that the phrasing is natural and words reflect what you really want your business to say in a way that audiences can relate to and understand. It’s your brand on the line.

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