7 writing mistakes that make PR look bad

  • January 22, 2015
WritingMistakesPR

Most PR pros have experienced that sinking feeling: You’ve just hit send on an important press release or program document, only to realize it has a glaring and completely avoidable error in it.

Honest mistakes are bound to happen from time to time, but some writing slip-ups are too common, and they simply create bad PR for PR people.

We’ve flagged a few here, in the hopes that avoiding them could save you an embarrassing mistake.

1. Misused apostrophes. Using “it’s” (the contraction for “it is”) instead of  “its” (the possessive) is basic, yet it somehow happens all the time. Keep an eye on apostrophes to avoid an inexcusable grammar mistake, as in: they’re and their (or there), who’s and whose or you’re and your.

2. To “Comprise.” Since “comprise” means “to consist of,” it’s never OK to say “comprised of.” The word is so commonly misusedand by prominent people in communications who should know betterthat I fear the incorrect usage will slowly make its way into the lexicon.

3. Overused keywords. In the digital age, keyword stuffing can be a fatal flaw for PR writing that lives on the Web. Since most original content, such as blog posts, product descriptions and narratives, tweets, and captions, is published online, this is a mistake to be avoided, lest search engines ignore your content completely.

4. Empty, complicated-sounding words. In grade school, one could be pardoned for using big words in an effort to sound smart, but not so in the grown-up world of communications. Words such as “utilize,” “subsequently” and “implement” (instead of “use,” “later” or “put into place,” respectively) border on jargon and only cloud the conversation. Choosing words that are clear and concise will make you sound smarter every time, because people will actually understand what you’re saying.

5. The run-on sentence. Ever start writing a sentence so full of parenthetical phrases it’s hard to tell which verb relates to which noun? That’s a good sign the sentence is too long. Resist the urge to try sounding smart with complicated sentence structures and opt for conveying your message clearly.

6. Over-punctuating. We are not referring to the serial comma here (for the grammar nerds out there), but rather dropping commas and other punctuation into writing when it’s not necessary. Here, the old grammar school rule usually does apply: When in doubt, leave it out.

7. Overhyping anything. PR people are notorious for excessive use of exclamation points, screaming headlines, and words/phrases like “fastest-growing,” industry-leading,” “dynamic,” and “cutting-edge.” Sometimes it helps to take a page from the fiction writing mantra, “show, don’t tell.”

This site is sponsored by CNetMarketing.com.
Author: Michelle Han is a senior account supervisor at Crenshaw Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on Crenshaw’s PR Fish Bowl blog.

These Blended Frozen Banana Recipes Are Better Than Ice Cream

It’s time to rethink the banana. All you need is a freezer and a blender to transform the potassium-, serotonin- and fiber rich fruit into the creamiest, most healthy treat…
Continue reading

The Recipe That Pissed Off The Pharmaceutical Industry

The recipe we are about to present is consisted of two very powerful ingredients – cinnamon and honey. It can make wonders for your health even though it is not…
Continue reading

10 Ways to Boost Results Using Google AdWords

Google AdWords can drive large volumes of high-quality traffic. Small changes in a campaign often have a significant impact on its profitability. Here is a checklist of AdWords optimization techniques…
Continue reading

You Will Never Get Old Thanks To This Natural Elixir

Ingredients needed: – 10 cloves of garlic – Juice of 10 lemons – 1 kg of organic honey Method of preparation: Chop the cloves of garlic into small pieces and…
Continue reading

28 Apologies You Should Make To Your Personal Trainer Right Now

Personal trainers are amazing motivators who can help us reach our fitness goals, transform our bodies for the better, and even serve as the inspiration for us to jump-start a…
Continue reading

3 Ways To Sabotage Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has rules. As hidden or as obscure as they may be, they’re absolutely essential. SEO is how you format all of your digital assets so…
Continue reading

Millions at risk from ‘Freak’ encryption bug

Microsoft said it was working on a secure update to close the Freak loophole Microsoft has issued a security warning about a bug that could let attackers spy on supposedly…
Continue reading

Daily Intake of Sugar – How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It provides calories with no added nutrients and can damage your metabolism in the long run. Eating too much…
Continue reading

CEO & founder of CNet Marketing, and is also the founder of a very successful international web hosting company "www.BabilooHost.com" has 14 years of experience in web services industry, a Leading Fully Managed Email Maketing Solutions "www.inteliMails.com" and Online Marketing Agency "www.CNetMarketing.com".

About us

We are dedicated people aiming to deliver important and valuable information and posts gathered from many sources around the web.