Subtlety in Your Press Releases

Does subtlety have a place in the modern press release?  Most of the talk around press releases is literally the opposite of subtlety as you want to be as clear and concise as possible. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be too much room for “layering” a message.

But not all is lost for fans of the art of subtlety. While the opportunities may be few and far between, they do still arise, and can add some much needed punch to your release.

All in the Language

Being subtle is all about the words you use. Two sentences with the same structure and everything else except for one word or punctuation can change the entire press release. Consider these:

“Bob’s Furniture Outlet has opened their new warehouse on S Parker Street.”

“Bob’s Furniture Outlet has opened their new warehouse on South Parker Street.”

Now, if your biggest competitor was South’s Furniture, which option would you choose? If you go with #2, you may inadvertently cause your readers to remember the other store. You want to keep everyone focused on your store no matter what.

You can also influence the feelings of a reader right off the bat. Grocery stores will often put all their fresh stuff (flowers, vegetables, etc.) up front so they’re the first things you see. As a result, you feel like the rest of the store is nice and fresh.

What mood do you want to set for your company? Inserting adjectives up front in the press release can lure readers into the mindset you want them to dwell in for the rest of the piece.

Well Placed Punctuation

Think exclamation marks have no place in a press release? You may be right!!!!!! Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but a misused exclamation mark can make it seem like you’re either way too excited about your own company or you’re a teenager on Facebook. But a well-placed mark can pump up your readers where a period may leave them flat.


“The festivities take place from 2 until 4 PM in the Avery Building. Come on down and have some fun.”

“The festivities take place from 2 until 4 PM in the Avery Building. Come on down and have some fun!”

If that’s the only exclamation mark in your press release it reads fine. Plus, it has the added benefit of leaving the reader on a high note and adds “oomph” to the call to action at the end. Exclamation marks do have a habit of getting overused, but careful usage can really up your game.

In the age of SEO and “writing for Google,” do you feel subtlety has any use in a press release?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here:

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