50 Words Your Press Release Can Do Without

SHARPEN YOUR DELIVERY: The folks at pr.co recently compiled 50,000 press releases to get a more quantitative understanding of how releases work. Contrary to conventional wisdom, nearly 20 percent of releases are published on Monday. The weekend also may be a good time to get out the word.

The press release can be one of the most powerful tools in a communicator’s kit. A well-written release informs the media about your products or services and can lead to greater exposure for your brand.

Too often, however, press releases get bogged down by insider jargon, techno-babble and overused corporate lingo that turns off readers. It’s hard enough to get an overworked reporter’s attention with a release in the first place. There’s no need to make it worse with bad writing.

SHIFT Communications cleverly illustrates the problem with its game Bad Press Release Bingo (#PRBingo). This game, which uses SHIFT’s 50 Most Used Words in Press Releases (see graphic below), can be played either solo or with colleagues. All you need is a timer and some of your most recent press releases. If your release contains enough overused words, then you win the game. Of course, winning means that you might have a clunky press release, so temper your celebration. And start putting more effort into better writing.

50 Most Used Words in Press Releases. Courtesy SHIFT Communications.
50 Most Used Words in Press Releases. Courtesy SHIFT Communications.

Christopher Penn, vice president of marketing technologies at SHIFT Communications and one of the developers of the Most Used Words list, is a featured speaker at PR News’ Google Conference, which took place on Feb. 11 in San Francisco. You can learn more about press releases at the PR News Press Release Writing Boot Camp on April 21 in D.C. 

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell

  • http://www.writingRX.tumblr.com Don Bates

    Not true! What about “the,” “a,” “an,” “in,” “that,” “which,” “at,” “of,” “to”? :)

  • Charles

    I stopped using “press” releases a long time ago in favor of “news” releases. Probably should start using “media” release instead.

  • Prickly_Pear

    I’m surprised “excited” isn’t included since most executives excitedly make announcements.