Category Archives: Press Releases

Eight AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press Releases

Eight AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press Releases.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of PR tips tied  the AP style guidelines. To read “PR Pros, Journalists Tackle Latest AP Stylebook,” click here.

Image of Eight AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press ReleasesBy Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire

Associated Press style has been in the news recently, at least for journalists and public relations professionals, after announcing a rash of controversial changes. As you know, it is important for PR, IR, marketing and communication professionals stay abreast of AP style, and its iterations, so you can relate to the media on their level, write cleaner press releases, increase message adoption, and simply sound cool.

Of course, you must consider the style preferences of your company or clients, but you also have an obligation to the media – the end user – to craft a well-written story. With that said, we at Business Wire see our share of AP style blunders in press releases. Here are eight of the most common style bloopers to avoid:

  1. Image of Eight AP Style Mistakes Frequently Found in Today’s Press ReleasesCapitalizing job titles after a person’s name – a no-no… AP recommends that you onlycapitalize a title used before a person’s name, not after. The AP’s titles entry is long but worth a look since this is such a common element found in press releases.
  2. Dates and times – eliminate redundancies. Too often, we see dates written as “Wednesday, June 4, 2014” when writing simply “June 4” would suffice. Also, write dates as “June 4” and not “June 4th “ and times as “9:30 a.m.” and not AM. Always be careful with EDT vs. EST; simply using ET is a nice failsafe.
  3. Trademark symbols – avoid them. Trademarks and other symbols are not, and actually never have been, meant for use in PR and news copy. Remove these symbols to make it easier for reporters to utilize your releases.
  4. Percent vs. % – in most cases, spell it out. Standard AP style suggests you write out “percent” in news releases, while utilizing the % symbol in tabular information such as financial tables.
  5. Entitled vs. Titled – Can you spot the difference here?  The survey was titled “Top 100 AP Style Gaffes.” Let’s just say you’re entitled to make a few mistakes, just not AP style mistakes. In short, do not use “entitled” to refer to the title of something.
  6. Acronyms come later – when referring to organizations: Do not put an acronym in parentheses after the first reference to the organization. Easily recognizable acronyms, by themselves, can be used on second reference without spelling out the organization’s name a second time.
  7. The dreaded –ly – avoid hyphenating these words: Do not hyphenate a compound modifier when using adverbs that end in-ly, such as commercially-available products. The correct style is commercially available products, no hyphen.
  8. Write it out – don’t use shortcuts when referring to numbers: As the AP points out, spell out numerals one through nine and use figures for 10 or above.

Looking to create a stronger relationship with today’s journalists?  Correcting these small mistakes in your press releases will help reporters and other key constituents read, adapt and share your news.

About the Author:  Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is an editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism. 

7 Reasons Not to Pitch Your Story This Week

7 Reasons Not to Pitch Your Story This Week.

7 Reasons Not to Pitch Your Story This Week

Image of 7 Reasons Not to Pitch Your Story This WeekBy Susan Young, CEO,  Get in Front Communications, Inc.

The July 4th holiday typically throws newsrooms and reporters into a ‘scramble for something other than pools, camping, and gas price stories…PUH-LEEZE!’

Monday’s are typically slow news days. But as the hours passed, it became glaringly obvious that the upcoming holiday would be far from the norm.

Online news sites, bloggers, and reporters entrenched in digital had plenty of content and breaking news to last through Labor Day.

Unless PR and marketing pros can newsjack a story from the sorted headlines and tweets below, don’t even think about pitching your story or press release. It will likely appear mediocre at best. At worst, you’ll ruin your credibility.

Newsjacking has been around for decades, but with social media it’s now been given a spiffy new name.

When I was working as a broadcast news director and reporter, we called it ‘piggybacking on a story’, meaning we could find the local connection to a bigger story that was making news at the moment.

The goal was to beat the competing media outlets to the punch with a fresh angle and fabulous quote or sound bite. Get creative. And hurry.

Pitch your story only if you have a new and relevant angle that clearly connects to the big news:

  • Contraception and Hobby Lobby
  • Immigration reform
  • BNP Paribas $8.8 billion fine
  • New GM recalls
  • Israeli teens found dead
  • World Cup
  • Facebook study

Oh, and there’s apparently a storm heading for the East Coast, just in time for the holiday weekend.

Maybe there’s a silver lining in this news cloud. Was this busy and frightening day the only way to bump the baby bumps and Kardashian escapades that masquerade as interesting or newsworthy from the headlines?

Once again, this former reporter is left scratching her head and going for the news from Nutella.

Image of 7 Reasons Not to Pitch Your Story This Week

 About the Author: Susan Young is an award-winning news, social media, PR, and communications professional with 26 years of experience.  Her new book, “The Badass Book of Social Media and Business Communication” [Kindle Edition] was recently released.  She works with organizations that want to use digital platforms to increase their visibility, credibility, and revenues. Susan’s company, Get in Front Communications, provides consulting and coaching on all things communication. Her latest accomplishment: Being named one of the ’75 Badass Women on Twitter.’(@sueyoungmedia)

Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases

Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases.

Good Thursday morning!  A great article written by Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire VP of Web Communications Services.  The latest results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey indicates that nearly 90 percent of journalists referenced a press releases in the past week – and over 60 percent use one in the past 24 hours.  Have a great day!  — Pete E Cento


Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases

2014 Business Wire Survey Provides Journalist Feedback on Today’s Press Release

Image of Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases By Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire VP Web Communications Services

Nearly 90 percent of journalists referenced a press release in the past week – and over 60 percent used one in the past 24 hours, according to results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey. And since more than half of the media surveyed are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, it is important to provide the right content with the appropriate assets when distributing company information.

The asset most desired by almost three quarters (73 percent) of media participants were photographs, followed by graphics (43 percent), infographics (32 percent), and video (27 percent). The news, however, must be relevant whether it contains multimedia or not, based on several comments submitted during the March to May 2014 survey. Several journalists did refer to the need for executive headshots when it came to multimedia content, as well as the ability to be able to download images from the corporate online newsroom.

For press release content, breaking news (77 percent) led the way as the top choice, along with supporting facts (70 percent), story angles (66 percent), quotable sources (52 percent), company background (50 percent) and trending industry topics (49 percent). Responses that were submitted  included requests for geographic relevance, key hire information, pending job additions and layoffs, new business and product launches, and even exclusivity. Not surprisingly, the need for a direct media contact was mentioned.

The survey drew participation from more than 300 members of the North American media, many of whom have been in the industry for more than 25 years. To learn more about press release and online newsroom insights, download the complete results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey.

Image of Media Favor Photographs with Press Releases

About the Author: As VP Web Communications Services, Ibrey Woodall is responsible for Business Wire’s NewsHQ Online Newsroom and InvestorHQ Investor Center products. Ibrey holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and a Webmaster certification. She has been involved in launching online newsrooms and investor centers for Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at, or via Twitter @IbreyWoodall.