I worked as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years, so I usually worked with The AP Stylebook
handcuffed to my wrist. Back in the newspaper days of yore, if you didn't know AP style, your editors would suggest a career in hotel-motel management.
But even after all those years pounding out deadline stories, I am still hazy about the rules for using numbers in stories, press releases, and marketing.
This morning I stumbled across this great cheat-sheet
Print it out, and tack it up in your cubicle. It's a useful and easy tool to use when pumping out those press releases and financial results.
And here's a bonus tip from me that is not included in the above link:
When using numbers, always try to set them in context. Here are a couple of great examples:
When using the number $15 billion, you might write, “$15 billion amounts to just $1 a week for every person in the U.S. for one year.”
There are other great examples of putting numbers in context in this entertaining interview from NPR
And remember the great quote attributed to former Illinois Sen. Everett Dirksen: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."
Readers: Do you have a favorite example of when you set numbers in context?
We'd like to hear it.