Congratulations! Your company got some media coverage. Maybe you’re featured on a popular industry blog, or maybe you even got your story in print in your local newspaper or in a magazine. But wait a second. What’s that? Did they spell your name wrong? Or wait … did they really get the name of your product wrong? Surely that’s not a typo in your website address!
Reporters are humans. And mistakes happen. It sucks, but it’s true. Sometimes, the mistakes are minor; other times, they’re quite serious. Heck, when author Gore Vidal passed earlier this year, the New York Times got many details about Vidal’s life wrong in its obituary, and they had to run some serious corrections. Mistakes happen.
But what should you do when a reporter makes an error when writing about your company? Should you ignore it? Does the size of the mistake determine whether or not you should ask for them to run a correction? Should you be afraid of calling attention to the error?
Personally, I believe you should always ask for a correction. I know there are some who will disagree and say that you should only ask for corrections to be run if the mistake is truly significant, but I’m of a different opinion.
When something is published about your company, that article becomes a source that future reporters will use as a reference when putting together their own coverage of your company. If it contains any mistakes, you can expect that those mistakes will be repeated again in future stories about your company.
Also, reporters want to be accurate. That’s what their job is all about — getting the facts right. If they get something wrong, they want to know about it.
And don’t forget about your target audience. If they have incorrect information about your company, they might have a more difficult time tracking you down, or they might have a misinformed opinion about your business.
So, now that you understand why it’s important to ask for corrections, let’s cover a few quick tips for how to go about doing so in a professional manner.
- Make sure you are justified in asking for a correction — You should only ask the media to make a correction when they’ve gotten something factually wrong (e.g. a name, a title, a misquote, a description of your company or product, etc.). You should not ask them to run a correction just because you don’t like the tone of the story or because they didn’t use everything that you gave them.
- Be polite — When you call the reporter to ask for a correction, don’t be a jerk about it. Mistakes happen, and ripping into the reporter won’t earn you any goodwill or favors. Politely point out the inaccuracy, give the reporter the right information, and ask them to run a correction. While you’re at it, confirm that they have the new information correct.
- If they refuse to run a correction, ask to speak to a supervisor — In the event that reporter is difficult and doesn’t want to run a correction, you should ask to speak to their supervisor. Don’t give up. You deserve the correction to be run, so climb the chain of command and try to get what’s owed to you.
Have you ever had to ask a reporter to run a correction? How did it go for you?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/bigbook.html