The Problem with Press Release Quotes

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Most press releases suck. quotesThey’re boring, self-indulgent, and written according to the same template everyone else uses for their press releases. One of the most annoying things about the press release template is the boring, lifeless executive quotes it demands. Think about it. When is the last time you saw a press release that didn’t contain 2-3 throwaway quotes from some exec talking about how great his company is?

If you ask me, these quotes just might be the main reason most of today’s press releases are so awful. The quotes are just thrown in there out of obligation, not to add to the story. They’re interchangeable, and most of the time, they’re made up, because no person I know really talks like this:

“A critical focus for Albemarle’s FCS team is to support the efficient development of complex multi-step synthesis’ for our customers,” said Steve LeVan, Division Vice President – Fine Chemistry Services.  “Our new lab gives our European customers a convenient way to increase collaboration and consultation with Albemarle scientists, ultimately accelerating the process from idea stage to commercialization.”

Seriously. What the heck does any of that even mean? It’s just a collection of buzzwords and slogans thrown together with a set of quotation marks placed around it. The quote doesn’t add anything to the story, and it just seems to be put in the press release for the sake of being there. In short, it’s a throwaway quote.

So, why do so many press release quotes suck? After thinking about this for a long time, here are some of the reasons I’ve pinpointed.

  • They’re full of hype – Most people realize press releases need to be written in a straightforward, unbiased manner, but they’ve discovered a loophole. The loophole is that by adding quotation marks around a hype-filled, self-promotional statement, you can get away with it. Except that you can’t. Quotes do not give you license to turn your press release into an advertisement. In fact, when you try to do this, you lose credibility with your reader.
  • They’re too long – Do we really need 2 or 3 paragraphs full of executive quotes in each press release? If the quotes are like the one above, count me out. Instead of using full quotes in your press releases, use short snippets that capture the most interesting parts of the quote. Consider the example from this press release: Ellison said that anyone who speculated about massive job cuts at Sun “should be ashamed of themselves,” adding that Sun employees have had “enough angst without reading this garbage.” These are short, powerful quotes that get to the heart of what Ellison was saying.
  • They don’t sound real – I understand the desire to control and fine tune the message, but these pre-written, heavily edited quotes are just ridiculous. They’re fake and everyone knows it. Instead of making up quotes, try actually interviewing the executive so you can get a feel for how he or she really talks. This will help you capture real quotes that are more interesting and less generic.
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Take a look at the quotes you use in your press releases. Could they be better?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here:

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