It may look easy, but it’s not. Crafting that perfect press release can take hours.
Now imagine this: You spend hours and finally have it worded exactly the way you want it. You send it off and cross your fingers hoping for good coverage.
Then you reread it, and guess what. You notice that you made a number of language mistakes. Your shoulders slump, and you slap your palm against your forehead, realizing you just wasted time and money.
Save yourself all the heartache by avoiding these common press release proofreading mistakes:
1. Misspelling names.
Why is this such a common mistake? Simply put, spell check won’t pick up mistakes with names. So you could spell someone’s name three different ways in your press release, hit the spell check button, and be none the wiser.
2. Mixing up homophones.
Homophones (or homonyms) are words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. For example: to, too, and two. Again, the spell check will not pick up an error in homophones every time because they are all real words.
3. Using an apostrophe with “its.”
When should you use an apostrophe in reference to the word “its”? Usually, an apostrophe is used to show possession or to denote the omission of letters in a contraction. But it’s different in this case. Use the apostrophe to say, “it is” and leave out the apostrophe for the possessive form.
4. Inserting broken URLs.
If your press release contains links, confirm that the URLs are spelled correctly and that they go to the right destination when you click through.
5. Failing to check facts.
Remember, a press release is supposed to deliver news founded in fact. But what happens if you send a release filled with mistruths? Or how about one small error that skews important data? You can count on having your release end up in the trashcan—along with your credibility.
6. Misplacing keywords.
To meet search engine optimization goals, you might work keywords into your press release—as well you should. However, when you’re proofreading, make sure the text sounds natural. The keywords will do you little good if your press release sounds terrible because of them.
7. Failing to ask someone to look over it.
We don’t catch all of our mistakes. Get a fresh set of eyes to take a look.
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article first appeared.
This story first appeared on PR Daily in February 2012.