Spelling. Does it matter? It's a question that provokes very different opinions and can cause serious arguments. Believe me, I know!
Personally, I believe that spelling and grammar do matter and I'm particularly worried about the proliferation of text talk and bad grammar in the modern world.
PR is all about communication, but I am always surprised by the amount of job applications we receive with spelling and grammatical mistakes. Even personal profiles on networking sites such as LinkedIn are filled with errors and yet these are intended to show you at your best.
At Cerub PR, we know that spelling mistakes in press releases mean that we're headed straight for the journalist's “no” pile.
Well, you could argue, “That's PR, it doesn't matter in other jobs, does it?” I would argue that it does matter and here's why.
For one thing, it shows a lack of care and attention: if you can't be bothered to spend the time checking your writing, there's a very good chance you won't be bothered about attention to detail in other areas either. This means that as a potential employee I'm not inclined to hire you and as a potential supplier, I'm not convinced of your ability to do a good job for my company.
Bad grammar and bad spelling make you look unprofessional and, if I'm being honest, childish. The people who can't spell properly tend to be children and if by the age of 20 you still haven't mastered spelling or sentence structure, then maybe it's time to go back to school!
Check, check and check again. Don't rely only on spell check. It won't pick up on mistakes like “I went to they're party”, or “I bought some flours”. Once you've checked it, give it to someone else and ask them to check it too. Then leave it overnight and check it again. Then send it off.
Write concisely. Go through your text and take out any extraneous words. Anything that doesn't add to your message can be taken out. Clear, concise and easy to read is what you're aiming for.
Don't repeat yourself — make sure that each paragraph says something new. No-one wants to read the same thing over and over again and you'll lose your audience.
There are some links to useful guides below. And if you find any mistakes in this piece...well done! (Just testing!)
Ceri-Jane Hackling is the managing director of Cerub PR.
Read more on writing press releases: