But there is another consideration: style. Style includes language, diction and vocabulary. Although this may not seem crucial (and, in truth, it is less important than the actual facts being presented), it can lessen an article's chance of making it to publication.
Here are a few basic language/vocabulary/style rules to follow when writing an article or press release.
1. Try to avoid humour
Please, do yourself and your company a favour: avoid jokes. When people write an article for submission, they are tempted to try and inject 'colour' into it. But jokes, humourous asides and amusing anecdotes fail 90 per cent of the time. Because here's the sad truth: you're probably not funny. Even if you are the sharpest wit in the office, you're probably not a funny writer. In fairness, very few people are (and that includes mainstream journalists and columnists who imagine that they have the amusing touch). Not only is the 'colour' cut out, it creates resentment for having created work for the editor. Especially when that editor is living off coffee, 20 minutes past his deadline.
2. Don't use capitals
Since When Did Every Single Bloody Word Become Eligible For Caps? Try to avoid the following: "the Managing Director of X Company is responsible for Customer Service and the Implementation of a Customer Charter for all of X's Valued Clients". Sorry, but capitals are reserved for proper names, place names and acronyms. That means that everything else, including job titles or technical processes, do not take capitals.
3. Don't use exclamation marks
Such as: "Murphy said that the only thing missing from his clients' customer experience was a candelabra!" Is that funny? No. Did that exclamation mark add any positive effect to the point? No. Please don't use them.
4. Don't use assuming terms
Don't start sentences with 'Interestingly' or 'Tellingly' or 'Significantly'. The reader will decide whether it's significant or interesting or telling, thank you very much. And they'll do it based on the evidence of your point, not your guide.
5. Try not to use 'UK'
Yes, the UK is a political and geographical fact. But it is almost never advisable for use in an Irish newspaper. And it does not make you sound more professional. Once you mention the UK, you get yourself into a bind; if your service is also available in Dublin and Cork, what territory do you refer to them as? Eire? (Big no-no.) The South? (Also a no-no.) The Republic? (Still a no-no.) And then how do you define the territory that comprises Derry? The UK again? Avoid this conundrum: just use 'Ireland and Britain'. Like it or not, the UK puts you into a political sphere that can only detract from your appeal.
6. Don't write long sentences
Are any of your sentences over 20 words long? Then they're too long. Sorry, but unless you're a masterful wordsmith, your epic sentences are likely to be far too meandering to be easily followed. And that means your point gets lost. If in doubt, simply break the sentence up into two (or three) smaller sentences. And don't be worried if this makes them sound 'simple'. We like simple. We love simple. Please: give us more simple.
7. Don't give us American spellings
It's realise, not realize. And it's organisation, not organization. If (and it's a lot less likely if there's a lot of work to do on it) your article is considered for publication, all of those mistakes have to be corrected first. Yes, we know that Microsoft's spellchecker changes them automatically. But that's your problem. Send us correct spellings please.
8. Don't litter your copy with dashes and semi-colons
A couple of dashes and semi-colons is fine. More than a couple of them is not fine at all. It makes the sentences look sloppy. Just cut out the dashes. Shorten the sentences or re-arrange them.
9. Don't use word processing effects
Articles written in fancy fonts or spaced way apart do not impress editors. At all. Most would choose a simple black-on-white e-mail using courier or Times font, rather than the papyrus effects that some firms think looks impressive. Don't 'centre' your copy or keep bolding and italicising it. Just give us ordinary, normally spaced paragraphs in a simple font.
10. Don't include ©, ™ or ®
Have you ever seen a newspaper or magazine article include one of these symbols? No. So don't include them, regardless of what 'legal' says.
11. Don't expect your brand's 'clever' lettering to be represented
Because we will ignore it. When Telecom Eireann became Eircom, the company used the lower case 'e' (as in eircom). And they would send out releases staring sentences with a lower-case eircom. As in: "eircom today announces a fantastic new broadband package." And every paper changed it to 'Eircom'. And, initially, Eircom's PR department were irked. Ebay (or eBay, as they call it) is another case in point. Well, tough luck guys. The laws of English don't change because of your branding preferences. That especially goes for Yahoo (or Yahoo! as they would have me write it). Sorry, I'm not putting an exclamation mark in the middle of a sentence. Ever.
12. Don't expect your long-winded corporate title to be quoted
I have often changed a title such as 'commercial manager with responsibility for corporate accountsin Ireland' to 'sales manager'. Don't like the sound of that? Sorry. We have space constraints. And your title is too long.