Why PRs should mind their Ps and Qs

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This week, alarmed bosses at the Leeds Building Society drafted in the services of a former English teacher to give their staff grammar lessons. Senior staff at the building society were so appalled at their employees’ low standard of written English that they decided to take staff back to school.

An admirable move and – coincidentally – one that mirrors a recent appointment at Peppermint. Our team now includes David Williams, former English teacher and language expert extraordinaire, who’s been elucidating (yes, elucidating) the finer points of grammar in a series of workshops at the office. David has also taken up the mantle of quality control manager to ensure that every piece of copy leaving the office is perfect. I don’t believe that our clients – or the journalists we work with – deserve anything less.

We’ve even introduced a marking system – the top grade’s an A* and all of our team members are eager to be the star pupil.

Why all this fuss? Words are the currency of PR consultants and our clients trust us to handle their communications with skill, accuracy and attention to detail. A sloppily written piece of copy tarnishes their reputation along with our own.

Many journalists will agree that a depressingly large number of press releases sent to them are littered with basic grammatical and punctuation errors. This does our industry no justice at all. If we can’t get the little things right, how can we be trusted with the big things?

It’s time for the PR industry to insist on exacting standards of grammar and punctuation. We are, after all, the experts in communications. There are no excuses for not doing that job correctly.