Mar 18, 2011

Press Release Pitfalls: Don’t Let a Typo Ruin Your Social Media Campaign

Some Editors in the Cleveland office take time out to smile at the camera

Welcome to our latest edition of Catching Up With Editorial – a new series on Beyond PR where PR Newswire’s Editorial team shares client catches that were made during the month and how you can avoid similar mistakes on your own press releases.

In our last entry, we discussed how to avoid math mix-ups in your press release.  This month’s topic focuses on how a minor typo can have significant impacts on your social media campaign.

 

If you follow Beyond PR, you’ll often read excellent insight into how you can utilize social media in your PR and Marketing campaigns. From increasing visibility with consumers and journalists to brand engagement and previously-untapped customer service opportunities, there are plenty of ways an organization can benefit from a well-planned social media strategy.

However, sometimes a typo in a news release can weaken these social media efforts.

Editors in our Cleveland office hard at work.

In February, one of our senior editors was checking the websites in a client’s press release and noticed the client had also included unlinked Twitter handles.  When the editor searched for those handles on Twitter, she discovered the client had included an extra underscore at the end of the Twitter handle which directed readers to someone else’s Twitter feed.

So, for instance, my Twitter handle is @ADHicken. However, if I accidentally include an underscore at the end, I’ll unintentionally direct readers to @AdHicken_ which goes somewhere else.

In our client’s example, the editor contacted the client, updated the release with the correct Twitter handle and later received excellent feedback from the customer when they emailed us to say: “We really appreciate the editor’s diligence in figuring this out. Please express our ‘thanks’ on our behalf.”

While it’s a good idea to double-check that all Twitter handles are typed out correctly in the text of your release, I would also recommend hyperlinking the text to the actual Twitter pages.  Hyperlinking @PRNewswire, for instance, will remove an extra step for readers who may be interested in following this Twitter feed.  It’s always best to create a direct link to the social media asset you want potential consumers or media heading to.

Twitter links aren’t the only social media where mistakes can happen.  If you are including links to your brand’s Facebook page, YouTube or other social media sites, double-check that the links go to the correct pages.

Something we see often in Editorial is a company linking just to Facebook.com instead of their organization’s specific Facebook page.  It’s better to give readers direct access to your page, because the assumption that they are willing to go to Facebook and search for your company is not always the reality.

Additionally, if you are going to embed your social media links within phrases in the text, follow anchor text best practices and link to phrases that are relevant. For instance, you can embed a link in a more descriptive phrase, such as “Follow PR Newswire on Facebook”  instead of words like “click here” or just “Facebook” and “YouTube.”

Anytime you include a hyperlink in your news release, PR Newswire’s Editorial department will double-check that it works properly.  Including the catches mentioned above, we caught over 10,875 client errors in February alone.

However, with these tips, you can prevent typos from occurring in your news releases before you submit them to PR Newswire’s Editorial department – typos that could hurt the social media campaign you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Author Amanda Hicken is a senior editor in PR Newswire’s Cleveland office.

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