Why typographic emphasis doesn’t belong in press releases

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If you bold, italicize or underline text in your press releases, stop. Doing so is like asking a reporter to delete your pitch.

By Mickie Kennedy | Posted: April 19, 2014

Doesn’t this sentence look important? What about this one? This one might be the most important of all!

That paragraph looks ridiculous, but believe it or not, I’ve seen press releases that look similar.

Typographic emphasis can certainly be a powerful tool in certain situations. When you use it sparingly in blog posts, landing pages or emails, emphasis can help you draw attention to important parts of your message. It can also make your text easier to scan, which is especially important online, as people tend to scan text rather than read it word for word.

However, typographic emphasis doesn’t have a place in press releases.

Here’s why:

It looks spammy. A press release isn’t a sales message, so when you emphasize certain portions of text, it makes your press release look like an advertisement or spam.

A good story stands on its own. A well-written press release is tight and to the point. Every word matters and contributes to the story. You shouldn’t need to highlight key portions of text; it all should be important.

[RELATED: Get advanced writing and editing tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela.]

You discredit your message’s importance. One of the biggest problems with typographic emphasis is that people tend to go overboard. You end up with something that looks like the first paragraph of this article. And when you try to make too many things stand out, nothing stands out.

Do you agree that typographic emphasis has no place in press releases? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases. He blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared. 

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