Executives are delirious over their announcements
Have you noticed how excited corporate spokespeople are these days? And if not excited, how pleased, proud and delighted they are? Some are even thrilled.
Or at least that’s what they say in their executive quotes.
In one 30-day period this spring, BusinessWire was thrilled to post press releases with:
1,284 pleases, including:
“Discovery Education is pleased to partner with the Adobe Foundation to share this unique and innovative program with our network of educators nationwide,” said Mary Rollins, vice president, Discovery Education.
1,007 exciteds, including:
“We’re excited to officially welcome Wyse to Dell and help extend its industry-leading efforts to a broader range of customers and partners,” said Jeff Clarke, Dell vice chairman and president, Global Operations and End User Computing Solutions.
782 prouds, including:
“CFS Clinical is proud to offer breakthrough solutions featuring technology specifically designed by industry experts for our space,” states Greg Seminack, President and Managing Partner of CFS Clinical.
401 thrilleds, including:
“We are thrilled to welcome Det Norske Teatret as our first partner in Norway,” said Jeff Koets, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AudienceView.
378 delighteds, including:
“We are delighted that Grand Hyatt will be part of Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo, which will be one of Bogota’s premier commercial projects,” said Pat McCudden, senior vice president, real estate and development for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Latin America and the Caribbean.
So what’s wrong with expressing your executive’s enthusiasm about your corporate partnerships, small business solutions or exclusive hotels?
- These quotes are clichés. Fill-in-the-blanks PR quotes make your readers’ eyes glaze over.
- They say nothing. These quotes just repeat the announcement. They don’t move your argument forward or cover new ground.
- Nobody cares how you feel about your organization and its stuff.
So instead of telling me how excited you are, why don’t you tell me something that makes me excited?
Overcome the emotion.
To repair these quotes, take these two steps:
- Try a different word. When you find yourself writing “I’m delighted that …,” substitute titillated, intoxicated, overly emotional, worked up, delirious, verklempt, aflutter or agog. OK, that’s not really a tip. But I want you to do it anyway.
- Rewrite the quote to excite the reader. Focus on how your whozit or whatzit is going to change the reader’s life.
Here’s how it works … In this original version, the focus is on the executives and how thrilled they are:
“My partner Rick Sullivan and I are thrilled to announce the addition of MSDP to our portfolio,” said Tom Callahan, Managing Director at Lincolnshire. “Under the leadership of a talented management team, MSDP has developed into a world-class performance automotive business managing great brands and boasting key strengths in both ignition and electronic tuning technologies. MSDP provides the ideal partner for Holley, a Lincolnshire portfolio company that is the leading manufacturer and marketer of performance fuel and exhaust systems. Together, these two iconic franchises, Holley and MSDP, will serve future generations of brand conscious street performance enthusiasts, hot rodders and racers with innovative new products and category-leading lines of refreshed, rejuvenated and improved versions of existing products.”
This revision is all about how the readers will benefit:
“Hot rodders, racers and other street performance enthusiasts will now be able to do X, Y and Z better, thanks to our merger,” Callahan says.
Hmmmm … Writing quotes to excite the reader, not the VP? That’s something to get worked up about.
More tips for fixing LAQs
“LAQs: A publicist’s worst nightmare: Lame-ass quotes. In a sound bite world, the last thing you want are LAQs.”
Before you press Send to everyone on your media lists, why not make these other improvements to your executive quotes? When writing quotes for press releases, make them:
- Short. Keep quotes to two sentences. Even better: “Peel back the quote to one great sentence,” suggests Jacqui Banaszynski, associate managing editor at The Seattle Times.
- Rare. “Too many good ideas are buried in Dilbert-esque releases because … every corporate executive gets quoted,” observes Alison Harris, publisher, Call Center News.
- Personable. One frustrated PR pro writes: “Most quotes in press releases sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons: ‘Wah wah wah wah.’” Don’t let that happen to your executive quotes.
- Creative. Craft sound bites that are “a minimum of sound to a maximum of bite” with humor, storytelling, metaphor and more.