10 Words and Phrases that Compel Reporters

Last week PR News published a list of words used in press releases that repel reporters. Words like “high-performance,” “engagement," “solutions” and others were cited as turn-offs to media reps, and we advised that these words be avoided at all costs.

Now for the flip side, here are words (and phrases) that resonate best with reporters. In the spirit of the holidays, PR News offers up a few pearls that will make a reporter take note and maybe give you a follow-up call.

Just be sure that you can deliver on these words and phrases. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Here are 10 words and phrases that will grab journalists’ attention:

  1. Exclusive

  2. B-roll available

  3. CEO is available for comments

  4. Controversial

  5. Divestiture (sale of assets)

  6. Detailed financials include…

  7. Entering a new marketplace

  8. New industry trend

  9. Photos/video available

  10. Regarding your tweet about…

Do you have other words and phrases that compel reporters? We’d like to hear from you.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01



About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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  • Dawn

    As a reporter, I agree with all of these except “new industry trend.” These words raise my “BS radar,” making me wonder, “Is it *really* a trend or just more self-promotion?” Instead, show me it’s a trend by citing examples of whatever it is in use. “Photos/video available” is always a favorite of mine! And “regarding your tweet about…” should be used cautiously, but can be effective if it doesn’t sound stalkerish or false. (And if, in fact, I DID send out a tweet on that topic.) You’d be surprised how many claim to have read this or that when it wasn’t something I ever wrote.

  • Eva C. Schweitzer

    If it a press release, it cannot be exclusive.

  • Ernie Galito

    Reporters are consumers too. Consumers are attracted to the words, “Win, Free, Sex”.

  • Savina

    Thanks for the list, Scott. Curious – how did you identify these words?

  • Elizabeth Hansen

    My favorite: “photos attached.” “Photos available” means waiting for an unknown amount of time.

  • Jim

    Refreshments will be served?

  • Erik Deutsch

    It can also be useful to appeal to their competitive spirit with something like “we’ll drive traffic to your story” or “it has built in pageviews”

  • Davina K. Brewer

    Like Dawn, some of these are too corporate speak.. everyone has sales, going to new markets, etc. News is news that hits them, their readers, their community. FWIW.

  • Mark

    Thank-ee for the definition of Divestiture. We is no good with them big words

  • John Williamson

    “Photo attached” is best but I believe many folks will not open an attachment fearing a virus. Any thoughts on this?

  • Judith

    A curious list indeed and not clear if it’s supposed to refer to a news release or some other kind of media message? Points 2, 3 and 9 surely belong in Notes to Editor rather than in main body of news release? I’m with Savina… how did you come up with this list? Divestiture… I don’t think so!

  • Nemi Tamuno

    Diversionary, Deceptions