Media training: Polish your press release quotes

Press release quotes matter. That’s something that’s changed during my time as a journalist and media trainer. In a way I regret it, but press released quotes are now very important. I’d like to explain why.

When I started as a media trainer over a decade ago, the Internet was around but social media wasn’t, or not in its current form. Google was certainly in place but although we felt flooded by information we were nowhere near the glut we’ve reached now.

The result was that a lot of journalists operated as I prefer to. They’d receive a press release where appropriate but use it as a starting point rather than an end point. The quotes in it might serve as a guide as to the view of the person we’d like to interview but we’d want to speak to them ourselves rather than regurgitate the same words everyone else would have received.

Flash forward to 2015 and it’s a bit different.

Rolling news

The fact is, the Internet has grown. You’ll have realised that. There are hundreds of news outlets out there, and they’re consuming news announcements like anything. Many simply cut and paste press releases – so suddenly, those words nobody was actually going to see are right in front of the reader.

The cannier companies will also add their press releases to their blog. So the target reader might well see them; they’ll certainly read them if the blog has enough SEO on it so Google finds it. Never mind journalist intermediaries, people can come straight to your website and see what you have to say.

So, those words have to be polished and usable – and nothing you’ll regret saying later, as a story I told last week illustrates.

It’s a shame in a way. I miss the notion that journalists would always call a press release’s originator to check facts and get their own quotes. We live in the current world, though, not a more leisurely past, and journalists will cut and paste those quotes with abandon even as your target clients read them on your site.

Make them stand out!

Do you need coaching on your quotes and media technique in general? I can help – have a look at my media training page.

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