University writing emphasized fancy words and flowery sentences and rewarded us for length. Press releases today must be concise and direct. What’s more: Some press release distribution services charge by the word—all the more reason to keep copy brief.
Here are three tips for crafting tighter releases, courtesy of Michael Smart, founder of MichaelSMARTPR:
1. Cut meaningless modifiers. Some words don’t mean much. “We use them often in spoken English when we don’t have time to think of a better, more specific word,” Smart says, “but in written English, they slow our readers down. You’ll notice that when you start deleting them, your sentences will still mean the same thing.”
Example: “The contract was
essentially doomed when it was signed, as the parties actually disagreed on certain points; various problems ensued, with each individual challenge bringing strife.”
Of course, there are exceptions: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” likely wouldn’t have enjoyed its $86 million haul had its title been cut to “Alexander and the Bad Day.”