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Friday, 18 April 2008

Words that should be banned from press releases!

Essential reading for new PR recruits, this buzzboard has been compiled by a bunch of New York journalists and cites examples of fatuous words and phrases they receive in abundance from people like us trying to pitch headlines, and to which they immediately respond with a click of the ‘delete’ button.

I notice that 'end users' is on there. There's probably not an STM publisher out there that has managed to eradicate its use of the term in brochures and other communication. In a world of personalization, it’s scary how it never occurs to publishers to replace 'end users' with 'researchers' or 'medical students'. Or even, 'people'!

Of course, the other problem with press releases is that they are often not written for journalists at all. Many communications managers issue a news release instead for:

  1. informing customers (because the company doesn't have an effective, widely-read, or well-publicized newsletter);
  2. positioning (because your competitor had a great idea and you have to respond saying how much better your product is); or
  3. the boss (because internally you need to be seen to be very busy developing new features and functionality, and you might get more budget if the CEO likes the sound of it. Besides, you were told to write a press release about it so you'd better just get on with it).

And that is why most of the press releases in this industry contain jargony nonsense and robotic quotes, and rarely make it into publication.

Okay, rant over. For now!

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