PR Note on Calling Your Company a “Leader” : Publications Do It, Too

August 2, 2012

By Olivia Shannon, @Olivia_at_O

It’s a delightful story of spin and double standards in the media world…

Journalists often say it annoys them when press releases refer to a company as “leading” or “the leader”—unless, of course, the company actually is the market leader in its industry. You can’t blame them. I imagine it gets tiresome wading through hundreds of press releases from hundreds of companies all boasting they are the “leaders” of their industries, even if that is just plain not true.

Yet, in spite of journalists’ professed distaste for this practice, I have noticed that many IT industry publications refer to themselves as “the leading” or “number-one” publications in their spaces—but how can all of them be the leader? Surely their editorial staff members are not aware their publications are being advertised in such a questionable way?

Our team enjoyed a giggle about this recently when we were doing some background research on trade magazines. If you start looking for references to being a “leading publication,” you’ll start seeing them everywhere.

Personally, I don’t find it annoying. Many of these publications truly are leaders—even if they are not necessarily “the” leader or the “number-one” publication.

Besides, I read qualifiers like “leading” and “number-one” with skepticism, like most readers probably do, and I won’t begrudge my favorite tech magazines for trying to sell themselves.

For further reading, check out this handy list of words and phrases not to use in press releases, courtesy of Storage Newsletter.


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