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March 18, 2010
Gaining on PR Gobbledygook

Many PR people are doubtless aiming to write clear, crisp, and compelling news releases, but too many such missives are dense, carelessly written, and unclear. We're happy to pass along word of a service offered by David Meerman Scott, author of "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" and a truly helpful counsellor on marketing communication. 

Scott's Web site has a link to the Gobbledygook Grader he created with Hubspot. You simply cut and paste content from a draft press release into the grader's "Enter Content" window, add your e-mail address and you'll get an emailed link to a report on your prose. Without an e-mail address, you get simply a numerical grade. 

The site also includes links to "Gobbledygook Phrases Used in 2008," and a report from Dow Jones on "the most overused Gobbledygook in all 711,123 press releases sent in North America in 2008."

These are well-intended tools, and we trust helpful ones. We haven't used them ourselves because we're not writing press releases these days, just reading them.

If the Grader doesn't live up to its billing -- or if it does -- send a comment here.

The important thing, as they say in other circles, is that help is available, for you and your clients don't have to suffer from clumsily written press releases. We don't mean to be insulting, but there are simply too many of them out there not to cheer our discovery of a tool like the Gobbledygook Grader. 

Sure, it's only a Web tool, not a remorseless copy editor at your side, but pretend it's wearing a green eyeshade anyway.  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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