In search of press release magic words

Are there magic words that, when embedded in press releases, guarantee media coverage? No, according to Joanne Kaufman’s report in the June 30...

Are there magic words that, when embedded in press releases, guarantee media coverage? No, according to Joanne Kaufman’s report in the June 30 New York Times, but some terms are considerably more attractive to reporters’ eyes than others.




  • PR consultant Kate Robins recommends “money,” “fat,” “cancer,” and “sex” for the general interest media.

  • David Seaman, described as a “PR stunt planner,” urges the use of “safe,” “easy,” “secret,” “trick,” and “breaking” to create buzz.

  • PR Newswire president David Armon says “green,” “environment,” and “foreclosure,” are hot terms this year.

  • Brenda Baumgartner, news director and anchor at Pocatello, ID, NBC affiliate KPVI, says she looks for “fishing,” “hunting,” “Mormon,” and “polygamy.”

  • For entertainment reporters and editors, “baby,” “breakup,” “marriage,” “divorce,” and the name of a well known celebrity usually does the trick, says Cindi Berger, co-CEO of PMK/HBH.

  • Referring to press releases emphasizing the words “solutions,” “leading edge,” “cutting edge,” “state of the art,” “mission critical,” and “turnkey,” PR executive Tom Gable, former business editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune, says, “They were empty, unsubstantiated, and had no news value.”

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