1. Omit needless words.Vigorous writing is precise. A press release should contain no unnecessary words, for the same reason a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
2. Avoid the use of qualifiers.“Rather,” “very,” “little,” “pretty”—these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of press releases.
3. Place yourself in the background.Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the substance of the press release, rather than to the mood and temper of management.
4. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.
5. Do not overwrite.Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating. It is always a good idea to reread your writing later and ruthlessly delete the excess.
6. Do not overstate.When you overstate, the press will constantly be on guard, and everything that preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in their minds.
7. Revise and rewrite.Revising is part of writing. Remember, it is no sign of weakness or defeat that your press release ends up in need of major surgery. This is a common occurrence in all writing, and among the best writers.
8. Avoid fancy words.Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able. Anglo-Saxon is a livelier tongue than Latin, so use Anglo-Saxon words. In this, as in so many matters pertaining to style, one’s ear must be one’s guide.
9. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity.Do not use initials for the names of organizations or movements unless you are certain the initials will be readily understood.
10. Do not affect a breezy manner.The volume of press statements is enormous these days, and much of it has a sort of windiness about it. The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric person who imagines that everything that comes to mind creates high spirits and carries the day.