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.

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Google AdWords

While there are hundreds of Google how-to guides online, written both by savvy bloggers and Google itself, the advertising giant has a few skeletons in its closet that are rarely…
Continue reading

SEO checklist – 10 things to check right now

SEO checklist - 10 things to check right now with easy to understand explanations for each step. If you’re new to search engine optimization, or SEO, and frankly, even if…
Continue reading

Uses And Health Benefits Of Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It has a pleasant taste and is a popular flavoring for food and drink. It is also used as…
Continue reading

The Best Herbs to Improve Memory and Brain Function, Including Brain Enhancer Tonic Recipe

The Best Herbs to Improve Memory and Brain Function: Ginkgo Leaf The ginkgo leaf well known as a remedy to several ailments. It is a versatile herb that strengthen memory and…
Continue reading

Does an Apple a Day Really Keep The Doctor Away?

Apple's Detailed Health and Nutrition Information This is a detailed article about apples. What they are, what they look like, along with in-depth information on nutrition and health benefits. Apples are…
Continue reading

How To Make Homemade Fresh Mozzarella

Knowing how to make your own mozzarella is a dangerous thing. A fun, easy, and above all, tasty dangerous thing. Knowing how to make your own mozzarella is a dangerous…
Continue reading

10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work

So, you’re seeing too many of those “how to” and list headlines, and want to try a few different angles? Let’s move beyond those common headline formulas you see over…
Continue reading

15 Simple Yet Effective Email Marketing Tips

Before you get engaged in Marketing your business, products or services through email read these Email Marketing Tips. You should also know that some email service providers - ESP - allow…
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.