One of the most important things to do when writing press releases, emails, pitches, etc. is to proofread. Error-free writing is a must when trying to get your writing picked up by journalists. In order to help you steer clear of errors, here are some things to keep in mind when sending information to the media:
Do not use internet language, slang, or little-known acronyms
As you will see below, it is incredibly unprofessional, and often confusing, to understand important information when it is not written in plain English. Avoid at all costs using abbreviated statements like TTYL and LOL. A blast email sent from a PR agency to PRNewser in 2010 shows why internet language should not be used when writing for public relations:
The subject line for the pitch email read:
Pls send this firm wide and to my whole rolodex asap—also to PR trade list on Y drive in media lists—pls do so asap—also pr newswire, etc.
If the person who sent this email had paid closer attention to what they were sending, the issue could have been avoided. Showing directions for pitch distribution reflects poorly on the agency’s credibility.
Always check for typos and missing words
Even if you think something is perfect, look over it for typos. Better yet, have a coworker look over it. A simple email with an overlooked typo could mean the difference between the word “as” and a more explicit word. Typos can be detrimental to the purpose of your writing, like the following skincare company’s marketing copy:
“Pulse is a state-of-the-art spa, catering to people who have skin.”
Always make sure you send your email to the right person
Nothing is more offensive to the person receiving your message than addressing them incorrectly. Sending an email greeting Diane instead of Dan is an automatic way to get your email put into an editor’s trash bin.
Do not use emoticons when sending a professional email
This may seem like common sense, but I have seen emails to executives filled with smiley faces. Use of emoticons is one of the most unprofessional ways to communicate via email. So please, do not send a message with one of these guys in it: .
Subject lines should always be error-free
The subject line is the first thing that a person sees when they look through their email inbox. Subject line errors are both embarrassing and a way to land your email in the trash bin. For instance, if you are announcing someone as the Vice President of Finance and they really are the CFO, you have given out incorrect information that, unfortunately, may get used by the media as it is assumed that the information you sent out is correct.
Have you ever seen any of these common “snafus”? Do you have any other tips on avoiding such mistakes? Let us know!
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.