Put yourself in these shoes: You have some terrific news to share about your company. Maybe you are expanding, have made some key new hires, or perhaps you have a merger/partnership to announce.
So, you have your PR person, either an in-house employee or one from an outside agency, prepare and send out a press release to tell the world about your news.
You are excited about this because you’re looking to generate some buzz, and hopefully financial benefits for your company.
But hold on. Houston, we have a problem. The news release your company issued has a mistake in it and you have to send out a corrected release. What a buzz kill that can be.
As someone who receives a bushel full of news releases, I see this scenario happen from time to time.
We get a press release and start acting on it, only to see a new, corrected release arrive in our in-box.
Hey, we all make mistakes.
However, news releases are used by many news organizations, making it possible for the error to mushroom into many mistakes spread by news websites, radio and TV stations, and social-media newsfeeds.
Having to issue a second press release with the dreaded word “Correction” on it may lead to time-starved editors and reporters completely disregarding your
release and moving on to others. So, take the necessary time to get it right the first time.
But, if you do happen to issue a news release with an error that calls for a correction, please have the corrected version include a notation telling the recipients what you’re correcting.
For example, you might write, “Date Correction” in the subject line of the email. Alternatively, in the attached release itself, you may say, “Note: Correcting name and title in third paragraph.” Or, “Note: Correcting company information in last paragraph.”
The notes allow the receiving media organization to quickly figure out if it needs to fix any part of the story it has prepared, or if everything is okay.
The corrected press releases I often receive provide no clue about what was wrong in the first place. That leaves us to guess.
In this era of instant news published online and disseminated rapidly through social media, a story may have already been published and spread based on the first, uncorrected release. It’s bad enough that you have already issued a news release that could have led to the media making mistakes, but now you’re making it more difficult to fix the errors.
Maybe your mistake wasn’t a big deal, and a note indicating what the error was could quickly ease the minds of the media people who have used it and restore confidence in your information.
While I’m on the subject of press releases, let me offer another recommendation. And that is: do NOT send out a news release in the first place. Instead, let’s talk.
Get the word to us before the event happens or before you tell the whole world.
The Central New York Business Journal’s mission is to provide readers breaking business stories and news that they have not read elsewhere first. We have been doing so for nearly 30 years. So, a tip on a new expansion project you’re planning is more likely to receive extensive coverage from us than a widely distributed
press release announcing the grand-opening ceremony.
If your company has some big, breaking news coming (expansion, acquisition, opening a new branch, increased hiring, a move, etc.) please email me a quick note about it to my email address below. Or, give me a call at (315) 579-3902.
Adam Rombel is editor-in-chief of The Central New York Business Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org