Browsing online with a variety of social media channels, you will find cringe worthy posts. Everything from the NSFW posts/images to the least offensive grammar and spelling errors.
As a marketing professional who has proofed hundreds of documents that reach a wide external audience along with internal stakeholders, it is still mind boggling the errors that pop up on a regular basis. My experience in marketing had me working with a warehouse team and within the warehouse field, you will have multiple schedules posted to ensure the warehouse’s hours run smoothly despite the inevitable vacations and illnesses that pop up. On the schedule board, there was a memo to staff to alert them of staffing changes. The title should have read: “Attention: Shift Leaders.” What was posted you ask? Minus the f in shift. Was it funny? Absolutely but it comes with a cost, the sign was also perceived as unprofessional.
What message are you telling those who are reading your message with a spelling or grammar error? Simply that you just don’t care? Or if you read BBC News, they’d indicate otherwise, their report essentially says that customers who read spelling and grammar errors stop, drop and roll and get out of dodge.
To limit errors that the customer may read, here are some tips and tricks to avoid spelling and grammar errors:
- Proofread, proofread and more proofreading. Read it over silently in your head followed by reading it out loud (quietly if needed).
- Focus on one thing at a time. If you are proofing marketing collateral, focus on the spelling first, followed by grammar, consistency (messaging, appearance, etc.) and the fact, i.e. the message you are conveying to the stakeholders.
- After it passes your first round of proofing, send to a colleague to do a read through.
- Take frequent breaks. We all have off days – be kind to yourself and your eyes by taking breaks as needed.
- And be conscientious of writing programs. The program I have used in the past uses American English and not Canadian English. So when I type: colour – I always receive an error message. Be aware.
These tips and tricks are not the answer to ensuring that spelling mistakes won’t happen but they will certainly aid you in becoming a better editor/writer in delivering clean copy.
Do you have any bad spelling/grammar stories to share? Or any tips to add? I’d love to hear back from you!