It’s the little things…like the dateline
It’s rarely a good thing when a member of the media, after reading your press release, asks you if leaving out a dateline is “a sound business strategy or a mistake?” A friend of mine in the local press sent me a release she had just received, and was wondering if the company intentionally omitted the dateline as a way to simply let people know they were forming a new side business but weren’t ready to announce full details yet, or if was done in error.
I told her there’s no mistaking this one – it’s a mistake every time.
This is a case where someone either didn’t know how to write a press release, or was just being sloppy and didn’t properly edit their copy. Either way, it reflects poorly on the company, and that’s the last thing you want to happen.
Here are a few steps to follow to ensure your copy is clean:
Reread your copy – when you’re finished with the initial draft, go back and slowly read it once or twice. Sometimes it helps to read the release out loud to catch any problems with verbiage and grammar.
Pass it off – definitely have someone else read the release as a separate set of eyes looking at your copy is a good thing.
AP Style – having command of AP Style gives you and your copy credibility. Keep your AP Style book close by and use it.
Final review – double check the things that could be easily missed – like spelling of names and companies; conformity of style, e.g. bullet points lining up correctly; typos in headlines…and make sure the dateline is there.