Sweat the Small Stuff

We all know the old adage, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and in a day and age where the news feels like it’s moving a mile a minute, it may seem like that saying rings truer than ever. I’d argue, however, that today’s climate makes the small, seemingly-minute details more important than ever before.

Think about it – how many times do you read through a news story only to find it littered with typos and grammatical errors? How does that affect your opinion on the story’s validity or even the author themselves?

With the widespread shrinking of editorial staffs at newsrooms around the country, a well-written, thoroughly-edited story stands above the rest more than it ever has. Speaking as a former reporter myself, this sentiment also rings true for PR professionals.

With the number of pitches and press releases reporters receive each and every day, it’s absolutely vital that the content you send is well-written and captivating. Often, what you write in your news release is going to be published word-for-word by editors – especially at smaller outlets – so providing a story devoid of typos and other silly mistakes is vital.

The same can be said for email pitches. When reaching out to reporters, double and sometimes even triple-check what you’ve written. Make sure you spell the reporter’s name correctly. Watch your punctuation. Ensure that hyperlinks and attachments are working. In short, sweat the small stuff.

I know that when you’re working on half-a-dozen projects at once, it can feel as though you’re being pulled in several different directions, but taking the time to pay attention to details can be the difference between landing that coveted hit and not reeling in a single piece of coverage.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of tools out there to help save you time and energy when it comes to editing content. The team here at Commonwealth PR loves programs like Grammarlyand Hemmingway, and there are countless other writing tools out there to help PR pros watch their P’s and Q’s.

Whether you get a little help from technology or edit your stories yourself, make sure you start sweating the small stuff. It may seem tedious, but crafting well-written, thoroughly-edited press releases and pitches can help separate you from the rest of the pack and make you an editor’s best friend.

John Wooden – one of the most successful coaches in history and the architect behind seven consecutive NCAA National Championships – said it best.

“It’s the little details that are vital,” he said. “Little things make the big things happen.”

Go out there and do big things; but first, start sweating the small stuff.


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