I overheard a conversation the other day while working out at the gym. A woman I had seen there before- let’s call her Cindy- was telling someone about how she works in PR. Cindy was annoyed that her client called her, upset, because her name was misspelled in an article in the local business journal. “I have to tell people all the time that this is PR, not ER.” Cindy mused. “It’s not my emergency! A typo is not that big of a deal.” Oh, but it is Cindy.
Accuracy is extremely important in our field. Not only do we have to manage our clients’ reputations in the media, we also have to make sure the facts are correct and that we’re telling their story in a meaningful and impactful way. A single error could mean a devastating blow to a corporate reputation, and gives fodder to the rumor mill. And yes, typos matter. Especially when it’s your client’s name! Typos in your media releases indicate sloppy work. You always need to proofread your work before you submit it. Yes, an occasional error can happen – we are only human after all. But I’m talking about the errors that occur from just not caring very much about the ramifications of these seemingly small mistakes. You have to care. Our clients depend on us to care. And they deserve to have the highest quality work at all times.
How can you avoid these kinds of errors? Here are a few simple tips:
- Have a team of people who proofread documents before they go out the door. The more sets of eyes you have on that important release for a client, the better.
- Always use the spellcheck and grammar tools in your word processing program as another layer of protection.
- Sometimes it helps to print your document and read it on paper to catch errors. Computer screens make our eyes tired and less able to find simple errors.
- Try reading your document out loud. This can help you find errors in verb tense, especially, and it will help you decide if you are conveying the message you mean to convey.
Accuracy matters. Our clients depend on us to get it right. And when they look good, we know we’ve done the best job we can possibly do for them. It’s kind of a big deal!