Press Release Tip 85
Proofread your press release
Before you hit the “send” button, make sure your press release is 100 percent accurate. That means you must proofread it carefully, not rely only on the spell-check function. Nothing erodes your credibility more than having to issue an embarrassing correction to a press release.
Here are some tips for proofreading:
- If your press release includes a phone number, call that number to make sure it’s correct. This seems silly, but that’s what many newspaper copy editors do when editing stories.
- If your press release includes a website address, click on it to make sure it leads to the correct page. There’s nothing worse than a wrong link, particularly a link that should lead readers back to your own website but doesn’t.
- Double-check the spelling of all names and titles.
- Use the Associated Press Stylebook [affiliate link], the spiral-bound style manual that’s an essential handbook for all writers, editors, PR students and PR specialists. It establishes rules such as the correct names of government agencies, whether certain words should always be capitalized, and when to use initials or spell out names of groups like AARP. Making your press release conform to AP style means the media will have to spend less time editing it.
- Ask an associate who is familiar with the content of your release to “check the facts.” Do not ask them for “approval” or you may end up in a tug-of-war, arguing over how certain sentences should be phrased.
- Yes, use the spell-check function in your word processing program, but ask someone else to proofread the release as well. Someone who is reading the release for the first time will catch errors a spell-check won’t catch, such as use of the word “their” when you should have used “there.”
- If you learn that a press release you’ve posted online or sent to the media includes one or more inaccuracies, immediately issue a correction. So many people are reluctant to do this because they don’t want to call more attention to the error. If you don’t issue a correction, journalists, bloggers or others who pick up your release might repeat the error over and over again. To issue a correction online, simply follow the same procedure you used to post the press release. Start the release with:
Correction: (Headline goes here)
Then in the sub-head:
This is a correction of a release dated (the date of the press release goes here):
Then state the accurate information. Don’t repeat the incorrect information. Here’s an example:
Contact: Amy Smith at 414-284-7451
Deadline is Nov. 30 for Anytown U.S.A.’s
Chamber of Commerce Banquet Tickets
This is a correction of a press release dated Oct. 28, 2019
The press release included an incorrect telephone number that people should call to buy tickets. The correct number is 414-284-7451.
***Note: If you emailed the press release to specific media outlets, don’t just email the correction. Call the person you emailed it to and tell them there’s a correction. That way, you might be able to prevent the inaccuracy from being reported.
Opportunity #85 to write a press release: A website or new service
If you’ve just launched a website, or a new service online, don’t just say “we have a new website” and expect people to flock to it. Instead, give them a reason. Mention in the release things such as free articles, an interactive quiz, an archive of your articles or ezines, solutions to common problems your audience faces, or other features that will make them want to visit. Now that you have a website, start promoting it. I have dozens of ideas you can use in my “Special Report #17: Powerful Ways to Promote Your Web Site to Draw Traffic and Boost Sales.
Next: How to follow up with journalists.