PR Peeps Poll: Knowing Who Made a Press Release Mistake Matters

Mistakes happen–sometimes in press releases.  When they do, does it matter who’s at fault?

At Business Wire we think so…and apparently, so do most of you.  

According to our most recent PR Peeps Poll 61% of you said that when a press release crosses the wire and a correction is then issued, you prefer to know if the error was the fault of the company issuing the press release or the wire service that distributed it.  Only 39% said “it doesn’t matter who made the mistake.”

In our rather small sample of 92 polled this month, 56 said “Yes” they DO prefer to know who made the goof in a press release.  Only 36 said they didn’t care.

Press release mistakes can be a sticky subject.   More than once has a PR firm or corporate communications professional suggested that we take responsibility for an error that found its way into a press release, when in fact THEY were the ones who goofed.    If the numeral “1” gets changed to a “7” in an earnings table, such a mistake can have real, money losing/gaining consequences.  We’ve witnessed the Securities and Exchange Commission getting involved.  So from our perch it DOES matter who made the mistake.

Another scenario is when a press release is prematurely issued.  Let’s say a  company wants a release out after the market close to allow time for investors to digest information before trading on it.  Yet when the communciations manager requested a specific time, an earlier time zone was chosen, releasing the news during trading hours–resulting in a flurry of trades.  Such a mistake can have serious financial consequences and raise suspicions about the motives of timing–especially from financial journalists who cover public companies as a beat.

In the interest of transparency, all corrections of Business Wire press releases note the error itself  as well as WHO was responsible.  

Here’s the details on our PR Peeps August poll:

BWPoll-Aug09

To those who participated, thanks for taking the poll.   And, how about helping with the September Business Wire PR Peeps Poll?  Do you Twitter, blog, both or neither? Please let us know.

92 respondents via Twitter.  Poll conducted  August 1 – 31, 2009.

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