News releases are a good way to get across basic information—the what, when, where and who. But to make it engaging, add the why. Why is this information important? Why should the reader care?
A good way to communicate the why is to quote a spokesperson. It can add life and humanity to an otherwise straightforward information exchange.
The “PR News Writers Guidebook” provides the following tips for writing and editing quotes:
- Be conversational. The quote should sound as if it were spoken, not written.
- Be memorable. Create a picture in the reader’s mind.
- Offer insights and perspectives but avoid hype.
- Use everyday words. Avoid jargon or technical terms that have to be defined.
- Find the “just right” length. Don’t say too much but make sure to say enough to offer a complete thought.
- Add detail. The news releases themself will communicate basic information. A quote should go beyond that information.
- Keep attribution simple. A “said” or “says” will do nicely. There’s no need to use words like “stated” or “commented.”
- Watch your tenses. For events that already have happened, use past tense. Use present tense when expressing more timeless ideas.