I often get annoyed when I read articles in trade mags such as PR Week telling me how much those of us who work in the public sector can learn from our private sector colleagues. Oh really?
I recently picked up a regional business magazine and read with horror an article by the MD of a PR Agency. It included gems such as “Day one of our PR services seen them hitting the Industry Headline news” and “The past couple of months have seen us take the reins on an array of businesses’s and all with fabulous winning results”. One sentence was an impressive 110 words long. My old primary school teachers would have been appalled to see such basic errors in spelling and grammar.
One journalist I spoke to recently said that the majority of the press releases which he receives from PR agencies and from in house communications teams are so poorly written that he deletes them straight away. However, he said that press releases from local authorities often go straight into the publication with only a minimum of editing.
There are three simple steps which I would recommend that you follow in order to prevent avoidable errors in your press releases.
- Ask a colleague to read your final draft. We don’t always see out own mistakes, so it makes sense to get someone else to check your press release before publication.
- Do NOT rely on spell check.
- Have a style guide. It makes sense to have a consistent approach to things like the use of acronyms, abbreviations, etc.
When it comes to grammar, punctuation and spelling, there really is no excuse for not getting it write!