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Worst No-No’s in Press Releases?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Rebecca Benison, who is a media relations professional at PR.com, a press release distribution platform, recently blogged a very interesting short article on the five worst words you “never” want to use in any press release. It’s very understandable that organizations about to unveil a new product or service are really excited and keyed up about the launch after so much effort and planning.

We all know how hype, if overdone, can turn people off and cause the dreaded eye-roll. Personally, I think weather prognosticators are among the worst offenders; pitchmen are next (for the most part).

In any event, here are the five words she thought were the all-time worst words to use; I am sure you have your own favorites as well:

1. “Best”
If the new product has clearly won an industry or professional award, using this term is either fluff or grossly misleading.

2. “Revolutionary”
How often do products or services come along that totally change the landscape, or become so indispensable that business can not be conducted without it? Shortly after being unveiled, Microsoft’s PowerPoint was (for the time) seen as revolutionary. In fact, the word itself has become an iconic one to mean any sort of presentation. If the new product or service cannot be clearly and logically demonstrated as something organizations or people cannot do without, it is not revolutionary.

3. “Dearth”
According to Ms. Benison, this is a very common word in press releases from other counties but not common here. Unless your release is geared to foreign audiences, leave it out. Better yet, don’t use it at all.

4. "Amazing”
To me, this word would be the top No-No for press releases but Ms. Benison put it as number four on her list. This word really causes eye-roll syndrome; leave it out.

5. “Great”
Another grossly overused word. If your new product or service is what you claim it to be, explain its benefits, ease of use, etc. Convince your audiences without actually using this word how your new offering will make their lives better.

Remember the old acrostic: K I S S. Keep It Simple Stupid! Less is “always” More! As Ms Benison said in her blog, “Press release writing is a skill learned over time, but it needn’t be difficult. Use natural language, and get to the point as quickly as possible. Don’t drown your message with superfluous words. When in doubt, leave it out.”

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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