Beyond PR

Jun 02, 2015

How to Harness the Power of Quotes in Your Press Release

Tips for Using Quotes in Press Releases

Quotations can be a powerful tool for press release writers.

Quoting your brand’s thought leaders in a press release can give the media and your customers a glimpse into your organization’s personality, evoke strong imagery and emotions, and inspire action.

However, it’s easy to misuse quotations.

“Never start a press release with a quote unless it’s the Queen of England rapping 50 Cent,” said Lorie Briggs, Communications and Marketing Officer at the University of South Florida, during a recent webinar for The Poynter Institute.

With apologies to the Queen, even the most memorable quote is unable to get to the heart of a story in the same way a well-crafted lead can.

Quotes are better served in the later paragraphs of a press release. According to Briggs, they shouldn’t even be seen until after the second paragraph.

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Instead of acting as a supplemental lead or space filler, the quotes you use in press releases should be thoughtful, drawing readers further into the story. They need to reflect your organization’s expertise and spark a conversation.

The following five tips from Briggs will help you write more effective quotations.

1. Use quotes with purpose. Quotes should be useful to the media by providing an anecdote or unique perspective. Although the quotes you use should be aligned with your company’s objectives, they first and foremost need to say something that will interest readers.

2. Sound natural. Quotes shouldn’t sound forced, insincere or unintelligible. Just as with your content as a whole, be conversational and avoid jargon that can be lost in translation. Quotes should be clear and easy to read in order to entice and inform a broad range of readers.

3. Use strong language to evoke a response. The quotes used in a press release should act as a sound bite – a one-liner that is punchy and memorable. For instance, “John Doe is going to lead revolutionary change in our organization.” is more effective than “We are delighted to have John Doe join our organization.”  Your quotes should make the reader sit up and take notice as they read through your content.

4. Attribute appropriately. Proper attribution is essential with quotes. Every quote should be attributed to a person, not your organization. Also, avoid getting creative with speech tags. A simple “said” or “says” is preferred.

5. Always get permission. In PR, there is some freedom to help your quoted executive or thought leader craft a more powerful statement. Whether you’re adding a bit of style to their message or simply using their quote as-is, it’s imperative to get approval before publishing the press release.

In deciding on which quotes to use, press release writers should aim for statements that capture the essence of the greater message, just as journalists extract the most important statements from an interview for their stories.

Strong adjective use, helpful context and a bit of personality can have a huge impact. They can mean the difference between a press release that underperforms and one that provides meaningful information to your readers, resulting in more engagement and media pickup.

Download our white paper Redefining Newsworthiness: New Opportunities to Earn Media for more tips on connecting your brand’s story and quotable experts with journalists, bloggers and other influencers.

Author Anna Jasinski is an audience relations manager at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter at @annamjasinski for more on PR, content best practices & social media.

9 Comments on Blog Post Title


­ Christine 11:28 EDT on Jun 3, 2015

Great tips. Thanks!


­ Navid Tayebi 15:42 EDT on Jun 3, 2015

Thanks Anna for sharing article to us. I agree with you by using quotes we can strong our pitch and prominent our message. But I confused on your last point to get permission. Can you explain it more how we can permission before using anyone quote?


­ Michael Iwasaki 11:23 EDT on Jun 5, 2015

With changes in the press release and press distribution industry, you need every possible edge for your story to be picked up and actually read by journalists. Including quotes and attributing properly can go a long way when done correctly. Thank you for a most wonderful article Anna, your point number 2 and 4 (sounding natural and attribute properly), really hit home as a reseller.Michael24-7 Press Release


­ Anna Jasinski 10:08 EDT on Jun 10, 2015

Hi Navid, thanks for your question! Regarding permission, you want to make sure that any quote you use is approved by the person you are attributing the quote to. So, whether you adjust the quote or not, you want to make sure it’s okay for you to use their words (or adjust their words) for public dissemination. You never want to assume. This can be done through simple outreach. Just send them the quote you want to use and the related topic of the press release, or send them the press release in-full to see what they think. Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.


­ Hasib 01:56 EDT on Aug 16, 2015

Great idea, this is very helpful for us.


­ Jade Brunet 17:03 EDT on Jul 6, 2016

I have always loved learning new quotes and have found that they have inspired me in life. Now, I am looking for ways to better apply them in my work environment with pitches and things. I like your advice about using quotes with purpose. I will try to provide new perspective when sharing my findings with others.


­ Andrew Giddings 17:31 EDT on Aug 31, 2016

Thanks for the pointers!


­ Jason Hartman 02:23 EDT on Oct 5, 2016

Awesome post thanks for sharing.


­ Emily 04:28 EST on Nov 7, 2016

Hi Anna – in your opinion, is it OK to quote other press releases in your own press release?


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