Words journalists hate in a press release

Journalists are taught to be allergic to certain words. They downright abhor longevity. Their love of brevity harkens back to the time when the number of allowable words were dictated by the number of column inches designated by the editor.

Today, the Internet has put no end to what a journalist can write. Instead of opening their worlds to words, however, they’ve instead held tight to the notion that less is best. Why? Because reader’s attention spans are still the size of a goldfish’s memory.

You have exactly two sentences to capture a journalist’s attention with your press release. As you can imagine, it takes less time than that to turn them off. Here’s a list of the most common, annoying, frivolous, and downright ridiculous words to never use on a press release:

1. Adjectives

This event/book/promotion is the most “amazing, first time ever, premiere, best” thing that’s ever happened to your company, right? That doesn’t mean the journalist — or the reader they’re writing for — thinks so. Avoid adjectives at all costs. Instead, paint a picture of why you or your company is the best. Don’t tell them.

2. Jargon

You’re a thought leader in the healthcare, information technology space. You’ve secured two million end-users for your product. The company’s new EMR system has already proven to increase efficiency and cut costs. Did you know journalists are trained to write for people who read at an eighth grade level? If, at 13 years-old, you knew that end-users who implemented EMR systems became thought leaders in their space … I pity you.

3. No acronyms

FBI. CIA. NAACP. These are three of maybe 10 accepted acronyms within the AP Stylebook. Don’t assume that the acronyms of your everyday lexicon are understood outside your industry. Please comb through your press release twice before sending it to delete acronyms.

…. to be continued

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