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PUFFERY PREJUDICES YOUR PRESS RELEASE – 10 COMPLIMENTARY ADJECTIVES TO AVOID

The objective of a press release is to promote the company or brand you represent to a wider audience, either through having it published or by generating interest in the recipient to discover more. When sending out a press release to the media, the first person you have to impress is the editor. If it can pique their interest, you stand a chance of obtaining that all-important coverage for your client. The problem is that in this age of puff pieces and consumer boosterism, editors are cynical about press releases, viewing them as a form of free advertising, which – let’s face it – they are. The more promotional a piece, the more their defences go up and the less likely it is that your hard work will see the light of day.

So how can you increase your chances of getting that all important print space? You can start by pulling out complimentary adjectives that only serve to make your press release look like an advertorial. To that end, here are 10 works and phrases you should consider avoiding when drafting an article for the media:

  1. Innovative: Unless your company has invented a new product that does something no other product does, or supplies a service that cannot be found elsewhere, it is not innovative.
  2. Leading: Generally found in the first paragraph, this is one of the most common adjectives arbitrarily slung into a press release. If the company you are representing truly is a leading one, then say why. If it has the most number of customers or the highest share price, state this information, otherwise avoid using this word randomly.
  3. Cutting-edge: Is it really? Is the product or service genuinely at the vanguard of new technology? If not, don’t say it is.
  4. State-of-the-art: According to that great on–line source Wikipedia, this phrase is “often used to convey that a product is made with the best possible technology, but… requires little proof on the part of advertisers, as it is considered mere puffery.” Very concisely put.
  5. Revolutionary: Unless your company’s initiative heralds a new dawn for the industry it operates in, leave this word in the complimentary adjective drawer.
  6. World-class: By what measurable standard is what you are talking about world-class? Unless you can provide a meaningful comparative international example, this compound adjective is mere hyperbole.
  7. Inspirational: Who or what exactly has been inspired by the brand or service you are writing about? If it has honestly influenced other developments, by all means use it with justification. If not, don’t.
  8. Groundbreaking: In much the same manner as ‘revolutionary,’ this word is employed far too readily and in most cases, won’t relate to an actual industry breakthrough.
  9. Renowned: Is the company you represent truly famous and well-regarded by the public? Your ball-bearing manufacturer client may well have a degree of standing among peers in its niche industry, but that’s somewhat different to it being recognised on the world stage.
  10. Prestigious: Another subjective adjective that is used to inflate status within a press release.       More often than not, it is used spuriously.

Losing the above words will help your press release appear more balanced and less like an advertorial specifically drafted to sell something. An unbiased article with fewer complimentary adjectives is more likely to capture the attention of editors, who appreciate interesting news items over blatant puff pieces. Obviously, you may encounter resistance when it comes to getting your marketing manager’s approval for something that is not overtly pitching their brand, but that’s another battle!