If you’re writing your own press releases then chances are you’re also going to take it upon yourself to edit them too. This is fine as long as you have a very good attention to detail. Editing is different than proofreading. It’s also different than the spell check that your computer has. Editing means cleaning up your sentences, and the clarity of your press release as well.
The First Step
When you’re editing your own press release, the first thing to do once you’ve finished writing it is to set it down and walk away. Go do something else for a few minutes and clear your thoughts of the press release. This is important because you’ve been working on your press release for some time. When you come back to it, you’ll be able to look at it more objectively.
When you come back to your press release the first thing to do is to go ahead and run that spell check and grammar check. Let the computer attempt to fix what it recognizes as an error, but go through them one at a time. Don’t just accept everything. Sometimes these tools flag things that are not errors.
Once you’ve run through your software’s version of spell check go ahead and read through it once on your own. Look for spelling and grammar errors that the computer may not have picked up. If you have the ability to “track changes” take notes on any changes you may want to make as you edit. Look for sentences or paragraphs that need clarity or cleaning up.
The Second Step
Reread your release and review each sentence independently. Ask yourself, “Does this sentence make sense?” Are you phrasing it as simply and clearly as possible? Are you using active or passive language? Is your language clear to your reader? Read through it again, this time paragraph by paragraph and make sure that your paragraphs are complete and achieve your desired goal. At this point you can also start cleaning up any of the notes that you took during your spelling and grammar check.
It’s Almost Ready to Publish and Distribute
By now you should be feeling like you have a pretty good press release and you’re almost ready to distribute it. Before you do that, there’s one last step. Read your release aloud. This forces your brain to process the information differently, and you’ll catch errors you didn’t catch when you were reading it to yourself. Check for factual errors and make sure that every person quoted, every date, and every statistic is 100 percent accurate. Make sure your links are accurate and take your visitors to the correct page.