May 28 2019

It's so easy to make mistakes on press releases and read on for an absolute cracker

You ideally need a second pair of eyes to proof-read your press release

You ideally need a second pair of eyes to proof-read your press release

It’s so easy to make mistakes on press releases … and then the eye not see them even though you read it again and again.

The eye often reads what it expects to read so it can fail to see obvious mistakes – and in the fast-paced world of journalism or PR this is often when it’s on the page.

I’ve left an obvious error in this advice. See if you can spot it by the end.

When I was Head of Content at a daily newspaper we received lots of press releases with glaring errors – but we know it’s easily done.

Bizarrely, the mistakes immediately stand out the moment they’re published but fortunately can quickly be rectified online. Not so in printed publications so always spell-check your press release as well as proof-reading it.

Here’s a cracker from a West Yorkshire restaurant inviting journalists to try out their Christmas lunch. On the press release they wrote: “Just a reminder that you are invited to die with us next Tuesday at 1pm.”

Mmm, certainly hope not. They’ll miss out on a review if the reviewer gives up on life mid meal.

I emailed the restaurant’s PR agency saying: “I think you meant dine with you rather than shuffle off our mortal coil at the restaurant.”

They replied: “You are spot on, sincere apologise and please don’t shuffle off your mortal coil!”

Oops, there goes another one. Should have said apologies rather than apologise.

So the advice is this when writing a press release. Write it, read it then leave it … ideally for a day. Go back to it completely refreshed and the chances are you’ll spot errors and parts of it you know you can improve.

Like an artist continually returning to a painting, you’ll always keep tweaking as long as you keep reading your press release but, above all else, it it must be right.

In an ideal world always get someone else to read it before you submit it. Their eyes may well spot something that yours either fail or don’t want to see until it’s too late.

Hopefully you spotted the mistake – the word ‘it’ repeated twice the paragraph before last. That’s another reason why you always need to spell-check your press release too as it will show up repetition.

If you have any examples of press releases gone wrong please email them to me at andy@ah-pr.com