When you send out a press release, you are not just launching another piece of copy. You are distributing a content piece that reflects your entire publicity program. Accuracy matters when you’re speaking to the world.
Mistakes happen; Business Wire is here to help.
We offer a fresh set of eyes on your copy. We know, in many cases, multiple folks on your team have looked over your latest press release. It may have gone through five or 15 people, but sometimes our editors will find an inconsistency that slipped past your team. With thousands of releases crossing the wire every day, we’ve learned to look for certain potential errors because we’ve seen them often before!
We’ve compiled a list of the most common inconsistencies our editorial team watches for when preparing a press release for distribution.
The day and the date don’t match.
An important meeting or event is scheduled for Monday, November 2, 2021. But wait… November 2nd is a Tuesday. When we notice this, we’ll check with you to confirm the correct day and date.
Are we in Daylight Saving Time or not?
Editors fix daylight vs. standard time mistakes seasonally. Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday in March and returns to standard time on the first Sunday in November. Using ET, instead, helps avoid the issue altogether.
Reusing an old template.
Quarterly earnings differ each month, but the template might be re-used. Sometimes “First Quarter” slips through on a Second Quarter release, or last year’s date appears on the Q1 earnings report of the new year. We try to keep our eye out for these and confirm your release is up to date.
Wrong ticker or ticker exchange.
Did your company recently list on a stock exchange? Having the correct ticker and exchange are paramount, especially when some are similar in name, e.g. NYSE or NYSEAM, so your release will post to Yahoo Finance and your investor relations website.
Missing a name or number.
When multiple partners or people are included in an announcement, sometimes a name mistakenly gets left out. We’ve also seen sums of money not adding up, for example, when a donation is received, or funds allotted. Review the body of the release, social media section, and even your multimedia assets to make sure they contain all relevant information. When lists of information or larger numerical totals are shared, be sure you’ve included everyone you meant to and that your numbers add up appropriately.
When included in press releases, hyperlinks drive highly interested readers back to your website. For that reason, we encourage you to include hyperlinks, but sometimes a placeholder link makes it through as either unlinked, underlined text, or linking to an old page. Click your links before finalizing your release to ensure they connect to the intended page.
Check your notes. How is it spelled? How is it capitalized?
No matter how many times releases are reviewed before we receive them, inconsistencies in spelling and capitalization seem to consistently catch our editors’ eyes. Typically, these occur in people’s names and product names, so editors will likely raise a red flag at “Danny McCOY,” “Dani McCoy,” and “the real mccoy” all appearing in the same release. Adding key personnel, brand, and product names to your Spell Check makes it easier for technology to identify these small mistakes.
Punctuation around quotation marks can get a little tricky.
In the United States and Canada, punctuation almost always goes inside end quotation marks. Colons and semicolons are the only two exceptions. If a quote ends a sentence, include a period before the end quotation mark. If there’s an attribution after the quote, include a comma before the end quotation mark. For quotes spanning multiple paragraphs, include an open quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph of quoted text, with one final end quotation mark.
Possessive errors – where does the apostrophe go?
Editors commonly find mistakes around possessives – words that indicate ownership. And for good reason – even the AP Stylebook includes a long list of rules. The most common misuses are plural nouns that end in an “s” (girls’ toys, states’ rights), singular common nouns that end in an “s” (virus’s spread, witness’s story), and singular proper names ending in “s” (Hercules’ labors, Kansas’ schools).
Footnotes, references, and Roman numerals: are all your ducks in a row?
Make sure any superscripted numbers or asterisks after details in your release are accounted for and include the corresponding footnote. Also, make sure your citations (especially when using Roman numerals) are in order and that you didn’t skip a number.
Bonus Tips: More Ways to Shine
Pull back on the self-congratulatory quotes.
While these are common ways for press releases to begin, “We are pleased…” and “We are excited…” used early in quotes draws focus away from the announcement. Writing Coach Ann Wylie recommends creating an action-oriented headline, focusing on the end-user rather than yourself, and to provide a short, punchy, and relatable soundbite. Check out our white paper, “How to craft quotable quotes in press releases” for more advice from Ann Wylie.
The wrong file type: Please, no PDFs. When it comes to sending a press release to Business Wire, Word documents and Excel files allow us to seamlessly prepare your press release for wire distribution. Press releases in PDF format can become garbled upon copying and pasting, and we do not accept them. We can, however, include a PDF document as an attachment to your release, either in the multimedia carousel or to distribute to your email list.
Include the required elements. As a newswire, part of our job is connecting interested parties with your communications team. Here is a list of elements we recommend (or require) in every release to support this goal:
- A headline.
- A dateline (usually the company headquarters or where an event is held).
- Contact information (name, phone number, and/or email address).
- Your logo to build brand mindshare.
- Your company name in the headline to be transparent.
- Formatting matters: use italics, bullets, and bolded text to keep reader interest in your news.
- Multimedia captions to provide context.
- Social links to support social traffic and engagement.
- And more! Use our sample press release as a checklist to ensure you’re maximizing your opportunities.
We hope our experience with common mistakes offers you peace of mind as you develop your next release. These catches have our clients raving about our editors’ patience, attention to detail, and quick turnaround times. Our newsroom is here 24/7 to give your copy the care it deserves. Your news is in good hands with Business Wire’s newsroom.
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