Acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations save space and time,
but not if readers don’t know what they mean before you start using them.
Some organisations, products or processes have very long names that become tedious to repeat. Acronyms (which make a new word out of initials, eg LASER), initialisms (eg BBC) and abbreviations, eg ref) can make long names or terms easier to read and write.
However, the reader does need to know what they mean. Do we know what LASER stands for or what the BBC is?
Spell them out before using
Spell out acronyms and initialisms in full the first time you write them and follow them with the shortened form in brackets, eg British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). From then on you can just write BBC and readers will know what you mean.
But surely everyone knows what the BBC is? Which BBC? There are many organisations with these initials so it’s dangerous to assume, especially if our target audience is a very broad one.
What is more, if you include obscure initials without identifying what they mean, a journalist will have to look them up. It won’t take them much time, but if they have to look up simple things for every press release they receive, it slows down their work considerably.
If you make life easier for journalists by providing information in full, it is a great help and establishes you as a good, reliable source for the future. And building good relationships with journalists is important for the success of your PR campaigns.