Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
ProofreadingThe human brain is a curious thing. Reviewing the media release you’ve just written for mistakes, only by yourself, is a mistake in itself. Your eyes will skip across misspelling, missing words, words that shouldn’t be there, and sentences that sound extremely clever to you but make no sense to anyone else.
It is also easy to overlook flaws and blind spots in your written presentation, especially if you are tired, so let someone else run the rule over your work. Rather than just skimming across the release on your screen, print it out and read a hard copy too – at least twice.
Sloppy prose and assorted errors can leap out at you. Read, re-read, and then get your release proofed by someone else. You’ll be amazed and embarrassed by what gets through if you don’t. Better to suffer the indignity of having mistakes pointed out early by someone you know than being binned or ridiculed by a media person you would have liked to know. Think you’re above such scrutiny?
Consider the case of the US presidential candidate who was harpooned for a headline horror on an Apple app for his election campaign. It turned “America” into the new country of “Amercia. Imagine how many of his red-faced staffers failed to spot that blunder before it went online?
But it sure got their attention when it instantly went viral, making a laughing stock of the aspiring Commander-in-Chief. So proof-read releases with great care, on screen and on paper, and have someone else check your work.
And if you use an automatic spellchecker make sure it’s relevant to where you live (eg. English English versus American English). This advice is drawn from The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom by Brian Johnson, an award-winning journalist and leading PR practitioner. To develop your own online newsroom, with all the features you need to communicate directly with journalists and bloggers, visit NewsMaker.