How to Write Fresh, Crispy PR Titles, fresh, crispy language for your marketing campaigns instead of stale marketing jargon and buzzwords (Made with Bing Images, oui oui)
Mmmm…hot, fresh, crispy language for your marketing campaigns instead of stale marketing jargon and buzzwords (Made with Bing Images, oui oui)

Lord of the Rings is an epic story that arguably involves way too much walking. Which part of the series you remember depends on what attracted your attention more. Non-fictional suit-and-tie press releases don’t have to feel like a four-hour walk, despite what you might think. 

Unlucky for us, PRs tend to lead you the long way around instead of an excursion through a proverbial long-lost dwarven cave of secrets.

PR’s reputed dryness is ironic since release should whet journalists’ appetites. I like to blame their staleness on the marketing team’s exhaustion. They’ve got to juggle every re-dotted I and re-crossed T from nearly every CXO and VP who wants to have their say. When it’s over, the PR’s sharper tones are blunted and the words feel numb.

So numb it doesn’t even matter

The text probably defaults to overused vocab, making the release even duller. Quotes fall on deaf ears as generic, and statements are stale. I have to give you all some examples of what I mean, so I went searching near and far for such a press release, whose generality and tone-deafness were so acute that I had to question if I even understood English after reading it. 

Where would I find such a rare specimen, though? How long would I have to scour the 1,000-acre wood and Misty Mountains to encounter it?

At long last, I succeeded in uncovering this polar opposite of a treasure!

It took me, like, a SOLID five minutes.


I’m going to preface this with a full admission that I have definitely written these sorts of texts before. That said, I did not have the seniority to overrule any of the probably six or seven higher-ups on certain edits. 

The (likely) junior marketer that drafted this is not at fault for the version that was published – that fault relies on everyone senior to him or her and the likely groupthink and contradictory inputs from multiple reviewers (across two companies!) that went into it.

I had to edit and grade this to really show you where it fails. For the companies showcased here, congrats on the extra exposure!

Security this, security that, it feels like getting hit across the face with a bat

Okay, the title is usually too short to convey all the context and nuance you would want, but this headline makes an egregious error. With 13 words, two of them are “security.” 

You get ad nauseum right out the gate, which is already dulling some readers’ attention. 

The 11-word subtitle repeats the redundancy error – twice – with the words “data” and with the same word as the title, “security.”

Out of 24 words, four of them are “security.” In fact, you can see a hint of keyword stuffing here: both “cloud security” and “data security” have two mentions each. Altogether, a third of the first two lines here are dedicated to explicitly mentioning those two key phrases. 

Ironically, the context of the entire press statement is ambiguous. Whose platform are we talking about here? It takes a few readings to understand which partner here is providing the “platform” and which is providing the “integration.”

How I would rewrite the title and subtitle

On a stylistic note, Cision/PR Newswire needs to let companies have freedom in how they capitalize titles. Here’s how I would approach it:

This title version takes liberties by deliberately ‘decapitalizing’ the word partner to subtly highlight the two company names. This will improve clarity. 

NOTE: By the way, technical documentation also takes a freer approach like this, since the writing is often so dense that you need to differentiate terms in more ways than just bold and italic. If you’re new to technical docs, feel free to wield capital letters, highlighted text, commas, colons, dashes, and color in creative ways. We’ll discuss that more in the future.

Just as important is the central theme here: Data Security Posture Management (DSPM). I would avoid putting quotes around that term in the title itself, because it would erroneously imply the two companies came up with the idea. DSPM is an emerging and trendy niche in the cyber security market (it will probably grace a few more PRs in 2023).

I also cut out the more generic “strengthen cloud security,” getting straight to the point. 

The subtitle consolidates the earlier version and appropriately clarifies the context of what the two companies’ partnership actually constitutes. You see which software is the plugin and which is the platform, plus the ultimate result the combo creates. I also deliberately wrote the last few words to combine “cloud security,” one of the two seemingly obvious keywords the original press release suggested.

Concluding this

Your title has to be on point. It’s a tough proposition with PRs, but follow the basics and you’ll be able to perfect it. You’ll know how to add more detail and differentiation for your exact product better than anyone. 

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