Any good carpenter will tell you to measure twice and cut once. The same goes for publicity.

A little homework goes a long way. Here’s a short checklist before you start pitching the press:

Are You Hitting Up the Right Reporter?

With Google, there’s no excuse anymore for approaching the wrong journalist with your story. In about a minute on Google, you can locate the right reporter. Then spend another minute searching their name on the Internet to make sure that they still cover your kind of story and haven’t been shifted to another beat.

Use a Spell Checker

When a reporter or editor sees a series of typos and misspellings in your press release, it’s usually instantly deleted. It may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many horrible error-filled emails are sent to newsrooms.

Fact Check

Just because you read it on the Internet doesn’t make it true. When you’re pitching a member of the media or even a blogger, your credibility is on the line. If you send something filled with factual errors, it’s “game over.” Journalists will remember you and automatically dismiss you if have bad information.

In short, if you hope to become a trusted source of the journalist, prep work is critical. Reporters get way too many emails to waste time with someone who can’t spell or doesn’t know what kind of news they cover.