How to Tell Your Story in PR “Sound Bites”

If you want coverage in the electronic media you will need to create a sound bite. A “sound bite” is the term television and radio reporters use to describe the amount of time they allot for quoting a person in their stories. Ten-second sound bites have become the medium of exchange on television news stories.

Use the information you created in your Product Positioning and Press Release Worksheets and whittle it down to a ten second sound bite. Your sound bite will be the foundation for your phone pitch, and in-person demo, yet it will occupy only the space on the back of a business card.

To generate a sound bite, think like a reporter who wants to grab the reader’s attention. What is new, interesting or important to the reader? Take the most important point – as it relates to the reader – and answer the basic journalistic questions (who, what, when, where, why, how). As always, avoid using “hype” as you develop your sound bite.


A few sound bite examples:

Citrus Products today introduced its first organically grown juice products, pineapple, strawberry and cranberry. (14 words)

Persons who want to get the most vitamins and least chemicals from their foods can now drink Citrus Product’s organic juices, pineapple, strawberry and cranberry. (25 words)

Sound bites can also be used to respond to news, for example:
That decision will have a chilling effect on research in this area.

While employment rates are down nationally, we have been able to hold the line on layoffs.

Submit your sound bite samples to the “read aloud” and “peer listening” tests (as described in the positioning worksheets). After you’ve gotten feedback, refine your statements accordingly and test them again to achieve a concise, descriptive sound bite to supply to television and radio reporters.