Dry Quotes

Generating quotes in a media release is often a stumbling block for younger PR practitioners. Quotes should add additional insight to a news release and give a human voice to the release.

Unfortunately, practitioners sometimes generate quotes that are both generic and unauthentic. Here are two things to look out for when creating quotes:

  1. “We at (client X) are excited about (event Y).” Seriously, any time a practitioner uses a variant of “I am excited for (insert here),” they risk sounding like Donald Trump trying to pitch a new product. Even if you are trying to pitch a promote a new product or an event, you do not want to sound too much like you’re trying to promote a new product or event. Besides, excitement is not newsworthy. Kathy from Master Your Message elaborates further in her post “Bad Press Releases Feature Boring, Ridiculous Quotes.”
  2. “(Product) uses innovative, cutting edge technology to create business solutions that will increase productivity by 100%.” Using language that is ambiguous and cliche is a good way to make sure the quote in your press release is not used by the media.

Practitioners make mistakes like these so often that it sometimes stirs debate as to whether or not PR practitioners should even include quotes in their press releases.

Most practitioners agree that actually interviewing a spokesperson will help practitioners avoid the two problem areas above. In addition, interviewing a spokesperson will allow you to incorporate their speaking style into your release, which will help distinguish a quote from the rest of the release.

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3 Responses to “Dry Quotes”


  1. 1 ambivalentmonk April 20, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    I have definitely made up quotes when writing press releases.
    Unfortunately, a lot of reporters also tend to use the most bland sentences for quotes.

  2. 2 tiffanyderville April 21, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Excellent post, Bryan! Including essential information in a quote or using language devices (alliteration, metaphor, analogy, simile) are also good tips for success. Keep up the outstanding work!

  3. 3 bry0000000 April 21, 2008 at 11:13 am

    ambivalentmonk,

    Are you still in the press release writing business? If you are, I’m sure you’ll find yourself generating plenty more quotes.

    Tiffany,

    Thanks for the additional insight! I would say that those language devices are absolutely essential in writing a good quote.


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About Bryan Saxton:

I am a Journalism Student at the University of Oregon and the Public Relation's Officer for the International Student Association.
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