Let’s face it, AP style can be confusing; but, as public relations professionals it’s important we know how to write. Whether it’s a news release, blog post or social media post, writing is everything—and so is a professional, well-educated image. Here are five useful AP style tips for PR:
1. Drop the comma. AP style tells us to avoid using a comma before the conjunctions in a simple series (example: short, sweet and to the point. Not: short, sweet, and to the point). Try to communicate as concisely as possible.
2. There’s no room for trademarks. Clients may win out on this because some legal departments prefer including trademark (™) or registered mark (®) after every mention of a brand. AP style says drop these symbols—if the company insists, drop it after the first reference.
3. Capitalization is vital. It will appear quite unprofessional if you don’t know what to capitalize. Check for individual’s names, company names, an individual’s position in a company and of course, states and cities.
4. Datelines. City names should be in capital letters—and in most cases followed by the appropriate AP style abbreviation for the state. Some popular U.S. cities can stand alone (example: Miami).
5. Know the rules for numbers. In general, spell out whole numbers below 10 and at the beginning of a sentence, and use figures for 10 and above.
If you find yourself confused, make sure you always look to the AP Stylebook.