“Old grumpy guy having a rant as yet another poorly constructed press release arrives ...”

(May 23, 2011)

An increasing number of artists employ public or press relations agents (PRs) to take care of their public image and promote their music. No problem. It’s often a good idea. But take note. Choose your PR carefully. The art of public or press relations is to tell the world (through the media) all about a client and their latest product (album, EP, gig). That demands interesting, clear, unambiguous press material. Not rocket science. However, some PRs do not understand or possibly choose to ignore the principles of effective communication.

The release should be in English – that means English that uses the right words and the correct punctuation, spelling and grammar. I’m sure that in 100 years from now ‘Text Speak’ will replace many of today’s standards of spelling, punctuation and grammar. I know English spelling, punctuation and grammar has changed over the years but I wasn’t around when Middle English was prevalent and there’s no way I’ll be around when the argot derived from the mobile text becomes Standard English.

'English as she is spoke...'

It is pointless to qualify absolutes like unique and perfect. You cannot have degrees of uniqueness or perfection: they are absolute terms. They do not require very, comparatively, almost or totally before them. The same point applies to words such as sole, spontaneous, unanimous and vital. And while we're on the subject of words, eliminate tautology, or saying the same thing twice – such as early beginnings, mixed together, revert back and unite together.

Another point: please use the possessive pronoun correctly. Understand the difference between, ‘the music stays true to its roots’ and ‘it’s a link to their roots’ and remember that CD’s is not the plural of CD. This is a small point but use exclamation marks for exclamations not emphasis. The last word here is feedback. It is the nasty noise generated when microphones are too close to amplifiers and speakers howl – you want response or reaction.

So if you expect people to read about you – ensure that your PR writes a form of English we all recognise, using words in their correct context, with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Do this and most published and online media will read and frequently use your release. Do it not and your release will find its way to the small, open-topped, green filing cabinet that lives below the coffee machine, either that or the recipient will simply hit DELETE.

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