Avoid creative incest

Don’t model executive quotes on executive quotes

One problem with executive quotes is that we model them after other executive quotes. That’s how we wind up putting together ridiculous lines like these, from the UK Press quote generator:

Avoid creative incest

Not another boring talking head Don’t write executive quotes. Instead, write killer sound bites. Image by Daniel Lobo

“A market first, our cutting-edge software product is a major move towards WAP-enablement.”
“Representing a radical step-change, our new product set tests the performance of enhanced customer care.”
“Out-of-the-box, our end-to-end solution recognises the importance of mission critical operations.”

Marketing guru Dan Kennedy calls the practice of turning to ourselves for inspiration “creative incest.” As with regular incest, he says, the product of creative incest just keeps getting dumber and dumber and dumber with each generation.

So what’s the solution? …

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“LAQs: A publicist’s worst nightmare: Lame-ass quotes. In a sound bite world, the last thing you want are LAQs.”

Turn lame-ass quotes into killer bites

Get the ‘wah wah’ out

Half of reporters complain that quotes in releases don’t sound natural, according to a 2014 Greentarget survey. Maybe that’s why 78% of them don’t regularly use quotes from releases.

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Blah blah blah Learn to make your soundbites sound better at our 2016 PR writing Master Class. Image by Flood G.

No wonder! As one of my clients says, “Quotes in news releases sound like the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon: ‘Wah wah wah wah.’”

So how can you get the wah-wah out to write quotes that reporters will actually use?

At Not Your Father’s News Release — a two-day PR-writing Master Class on July 27-28 in Portland, Oregon — you’ll learn how to transform lame-ass quotes into killer sound bites. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write tight bites. Even a lame quote will sound better when you use our quote length targets.
  • Put a quota on quotes. Steal a trick from The New York Times to avoid overquoting.
  • Write quotes that sound human — not like a computer spit them out
  • Avoid the worst PR clichés. PR Newswire sees 1,284 of these in a single month.
  • Steal techniques from Silver Anvil winners. Make your sound bites sound better.

This is the only PR-writing Master Class we’ve scheduled for this year. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn to write PR pieces that reach readers in 2016.

“It was great. I enjoyed sharing our writing and getting feedback from our peers.”
— Elisa Lagos, communication associate, World Education Services

Polish your skills at our upcoming Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for PR writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28
Register for Online writing workshop in New York on Sept. 28-29

Register for communication measurement workshop in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 12-13
Register for writing workshop in Houston on Nov. 2-3

Register for Creative writing workshop in Los Angeles on Feb. 23-24, 2017
Register for Tight writing workshop in Washington, D.C. on April 6-7, 2017
Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Geneva: Sept. 13 & Nov. 29
  • Helsinki: Sept. 2
  • Houston: Nov. 2-3
  • Indianapolis: Oct. 24
  • Los Angeles: Aug. 9-10 & Feb. 23-24, 2017
  • New York: Sept. 28-29
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • San Diego: June 28-29
  • San Francisco: Oct. 16
  • Washington, D.C.: Aug. 2-3, Oct. 12-13 & April 6-7, 2017

Keep up with my calendar.