The Associated Press Stylebook is every journalist’s bible when it comes to writing their articles. As an entrepreneur there’s no need to be intimidated by this, but you’ll get better results by following the AP style in your news and media releases.
Nobody expects you to be a master of the AP style, but below are some quick tips for your press releases. Run over this list before you send off your next release:
One of the most common mistakes I see is with numbers. Always spell out numbers from one to nine. Use numerals for numbers 10 and above.
Always use figures to indicate time, such as 6:00 pm. You can use words for “midnight” or “noon.”
When citing a specific date, abbreviate months that are longer than 5 letters: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out March, April, May, June and July.
Ground Hog Day is on Feb. 2.
The celebration is in February.
Abbreviate street, avenue and boulevard when giving a numbered address. However, don’t abbreviate court, drive, lane, way, etc.
The office is at 2288 Walker Ave.
This can get confusing as you capitalize titles if they are followed by the person’s name. If not, you need to use lower case.
Mayor John Sawyer delivered the keynote address.
John Sawyer, mayor of Silver City, addressed the protesters.
The AP Style is different from what Strunk & White teach: In a simple series, do NOT use a comma before the conjunction.
The company provides web hosting, development and marketing.
Punctuations in Quotes
Place punctuation marks inside quotation marks.
Smith said, “This is a revolutionary invention.”
E for Electronic
When prefixing words with “e” as an abbreviation for “electronic,” use a hyphen.
e-mail, e-book, e-commerce
These rules might seem confusing and unimportant. However, by following them, you make the reporters’ job much easier and reduce the possibility of annoying them by having to correct your press releases.
If you want to learn more about the AP Style, visit their website. AP even has an add-on software that works with Microsoft Word, and automatically proofreads and corrects your writing to conform with the AP style. You can learn more about AP StyleGuard here.
How do you feel about having to follow the AP Style when writing your press releases?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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