PR ON THE GO April 17, 2022

Public Relations Hacks: Presenting Quotes in Press Releases

We asked our PR and growth experts to give entrepreneurs advice on how best to present quotes in press releases.

Why are quotes in press releases relevant? Who should be quoted, and in what way /length? How can entrepreneurs improve their quotes in press releases to stand out /catch attention by the journalist? Find out here.

Credibility

Evan Nierman, Crisis PR Manager & CEO at Red Banyan

"Quotes add credibility and authenticity to a press release and should come from someone who is a subject matter expert on the topic, for example, the CEO of a business. A quote that is likely to be picked up by the press should be concise, compelling, fact-based and make a point. Simple commentary on a topic that states the obvious will never be used by journalists."


Make Your News More Exciting

Scott Robertson, APR, RobertsonComm

"Quotes are the part of a press release where you can make a statement of opinion or a claim (which hopefully you can back up). They are relevant because a reporter speak from the same position as a company spokesperson and they can often be more colorful and make a news story more exciting (when done correctly).

I like a quote coming from the very top — CEO or Co-Founder unless the release is about something specific to a dept and then whoever is closest to the story and can speak with the greatest credibility should be quoted.

I like a nice two sentence quote and it’s great when the sentences play on each other — so the first sentence sets up a problem and the second one delivers the resolution. It should never say “We’re so excited…..blah blah”. Everyone has said that. Do better. Use colorful descriptive language when you can.

Improve them by understanding the role they play in making the story come to life and make sure your quote does that. If there’s some controversy, it doesn’t hurt to lean into it a bit with a juicy quote.

Remember, journalists have a job to do and your solid, interesting quote saves them the time of interviewing you to get it. And even though you’re the star, it really isn’t about you. It’s about them (journalists) and their job. Sorry. "

Human Element

Kiara McKinney, Founder & Chief Strategist of Boost Public Relations

"Quotes in press releases are important for several reasons. One key benefit is that it adds a human element to a brand through a spokesperson's voice. It also provides an opportunity for highlighting a brand's impact, mission and vision while the remainder of the release may be more fact-based.
Good contenders for quotes are stakeholders like founders, franchise partners, brand managers, communications specialists, etc. Typically it is someone who is a high-level executive or has an active role in the subject matter of the release. Entrepreneurs can improve their quotes by trying to answer some of these questions:
"Why does this matter?"
"Who will benefit from this?"
"What does this signify for us as a company?"

Inspire Your Audience

Brandon Schroth, Founder at Reporter Outreach

"Quotable statements in press releases must be clear and concise. For the public to quickly understand and appreciate what you're saying, keep things relevant but straightforward, so it's newsworthy. Moreover, a press release helps promote your business but must be informational. Thus, remove all the unnecessary, fluffy marketing copy.

Lastly, good publicity sells and helps you bring in new customers. So if you want your statement to leave an impact on its own, find ways to inspire the audience you want to reach and impart your wisdom without going off the topic."


Serve Journalists

Dick Grove, CEO /Founder at INK Inc. Public Relations

"Quotes from appropriate leaders are fitting and typically necessary. While releases are now often seen as an SEO tool, and frequently read like commercials, their true goal is to serve journalists. Shorter, more concise statements that speak directly to the crux of the release is wiser than over-the-top hyperbole. Thinking like a journalist as well as the potential audience, with not just the quotes but the overall text, will offer the best opportunity for pick-up."


Control Your Message

David Leonhardt, President, THGM Writers

"The most thorough media will contact the organization for an original quote. The least thorough will publish the press release verbatim. Most of the media in between will work with the press release, do some additional research, contact some other sources…and include the quote from the press release. So, the first thing the quote does is give the organization its best shot at controlling its message. The second thing it does is put a human face on the organization. This means that the controlled message should be written in personable, conversational language. If it sounds bureaucratic, it has missed its mark."


Keep It In A Conversational Tone

Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce

"Most people look at press releases as something that is supposed to be informative, therefore, staying away from buzzwords or cliches is a smart move if you want to maintain their interests.. Everyday, people are subjected to a litany of advertising and promotions that leave them numb to their effects.

Buzz words or typical industry jargon, will often be viewed as overly promotional or superficial, thus resulting in your audience glossing over it, rather than diving into its content. By keeping your press release in a conversational tone, and keeping away from unfamiliar phrases or words, you will maintain their attention and drive home your message."


Establish Trust

Matt Miller, Founder & CEO of Embroker

"Part of creating an effective PR release is instilling confidence that you are knowledgeable and experienced in the topic, thus, it is important to speak from authority.. Quoting company executive or industry experts, referencing accessible statistics, and refraining from using “spokespeople” will lend credibility to your press release. By using a voice of authority, you will create weight behind your statement, and establish trust with your audience."

Make your quotations more humane by using the following phrases:

Amar Vig, Managing Director at London-fs

"Write quotes that are in the vernacular of your target audience, not ones that sound like they were manufactured by a machine. Concentrate less on yourself and more on the people and things on which you have an impact. Skip the quotes that highlight the enthusiasm of the leadership. Quotes that detail the impact on end-users should be preferred instead. The difference between boring, wordy statements and striking quotes is that the former embraces emotion, and the latter drives reporters to want to know more."

Be Specific

Amanda Staab, Founder & President at Folkwise PR

"As a former journalist, I can tell you that quotes in press releases are often flat, predictable and meaningless – qualities that make a reporter glaze over them. So what you want to do is go deep and use specific language. For example, instead of saying “We are committed to making the world a better place,” you say “Our plan to improve the city’s sidewalks will not only help everyone get around easier, it will help people with disabilities have access to more public spaces and community resources and get closer to achieving equity.” This tells the story but also shows the purpose, mission and vision of the speaker and the organization the speaker represents. This is a quote that is worthy of coverage."

It's Worth Including Keywords In Your Quotes.

Leszek Dudkiewicz, Head of Marketing at Passport-Photo Online

"It's best if the quote contains keywords relevant to the topic. You can present the same idea in various ways, and the best one for PR is simple, catchy, and based on the words that will drag people's attention (the keywords).
I know it sounds weird to adjust your quotation for SEO purposes, but it's not just about it. It also clearly shows the phrases people are interested in, and if your idea is relevant to those, then why not use them?"

Make The Quote an Indispensable Part of The Story

Patty Pologruto, PR Manager at Grey Matter Marketing

"Want a quote in a press release to be used by a reporter or make a rewrite article from your release? Make the quote relevant by including more than fluff in it. Forget the "please to announce" and "happy to support" statement. Use the quote to present details or information that are news-worthy and insightful about the industry or situation. Make the quote an indispensable part of the story you are telling. The CEO or key company/organization leader should be quoted, and the quote should be three sentences at most. The quote should ideally be the third or fourth paragraph in a release, not the second paragraph."

State The Why

Rebecca Binny, Director of PR & Marketing at RayCo Media

"Quotes are used in press releases to add a human element to the announcement, an expert’s or insider’s take on the information, or to highlight important details that influence the angle of the story. They signal to potential journalists who the spokesperson on the topic is and who they should interview for a story, and what the thoughts of the spokesperson are that concern the topic. For those reasons, the quote should come from the person of subject-matter expertise, who wants to answer follow-up questions, and who can speak from firsthand experience. Quotes should come after the first paragraph, which summarizes the whole article in brief. They should usually be about 2-5 sentences long, unless the announcement is predominantly opinion-focused, but most press releases aren’t. Here’s an example of a first paragraph and quote we used successfully in a recent press release:


LOS ANGELES (FEBRUARY 15, 2022) – Unsilenced Voices (UV) announced that it has chosen RayCo Media (RayCo) to launch its advocacy against domestic violence across the United States in 2022. UV is one of the few nonprofits in existence to directly benefit abuse survivors, and RayCo is a new kind of communications agency incorporating PR, NFTs, and metaverse capability into its marketing plans.

“This collaboration is a natural fit for us”, says UV founder Michelle Jewsbury.. “RayCo clearly shares our values of empowering those impacted by violence and are seeking empathy and compassion from our society, and their expertise and industry knowledge will greatly benefit the organization and those we serve.”


Notice how the first paragraph states the news, and the quote states how the people involved feel about it. The quote expands upon the information by adding an emotional element and the potential implications the event may have in the future - in other words, the why. The why is so important when writing press releases because journalists are always looking for stories their audience will care about. A journalist wants to know, Will my readers care about this? Will it benefit them in some way? In order to grab a journalist’s attention, a press release has to clearly answer those questions upfront."

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