Today we welcome Guest Blogger, Dave Grimm from Wordfix:
You don’t need an editor, right? You’re keeping costs down, and a few typos aren’t a big deal.
NASA would probably disagree, though, after a little issue they had. In 1962, the coding used to set trajectory and speed for one of their rockets was missing a single hyphen, causing the aircraft to explode shortly after takeoff.
But it’s not usually that bad. Sometimes a typo just slightly misrepresents your product.
Lack of editing can also ding your bottom line.
Alitalia Airlines provided a great example in 2006, accidentally listing a ticket from Toronto to Cyprus at $39 instead of $3,900. A few thousand travelers pounced on that one, then got pretty irate when the airline tried to cancel the tickets. So Alitalia ended up eating the loss. I don’t even want to consider the math on that one.
Your company probably won’t make a mistake as costly or embarrassing as the ones above. But even if you’re offering e-blasts, web pages or blog posts with fewer than the national average of 15 typos per sentence (alternative fact alert), you may be embarrassing yourself and your business more than you realize. And, as Molly points out, the fear of making such a mistake can keep you from building your business:
“Laney and I love to write (lol) but if it were up to us to proofread everything prior to hitting publish, we would still be sitting on our content, because editing is not our strong suit,” Molly said. “And when we thought it was, and we just looked for the ‘obvious’ typos, etc., we would never get hired. Trust us; we learned this the hard way. When we launched our first blog in 2008, we were on fire with writing, pumping out blog after blog. We couldn’t wait to share our voice with the world and hit ‘send.’ After two weeks of blogging, we had a really strong prospective client give us the greatest gift, one that transformed our business. She sent us an email with the subject line, ‘Why I won’t hire you.’ She was honest, while respectful. She said she couldn’t take seeing one more thing from us riddled with typos. It broke her confidence in our attention to detail. That’s when we found Dave Grimm and Wordfix. It was the best investment we ever made in our business, and we never send anything out without going through the Wordfix process first.”
The frank email Molly got is rare only because it spelled out what others might keep to themselves. “For any true stickler, you see, the sight of the plural word “Book’s” with an apostrophe in it will trigger a ghastly private emotional process similar to the stages of bereavement, though greatly accelerated,” wrote Lynne Truss in her book “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.” “First there is shock. Within seconds, shock gives way to disbelief, disbelief to pain, and pain to anger. Finally (and this is where the analogy breaks down), anger gives way to a righteous urge to perpetrate an act of criminal damage with the aid of a permanent marker.” Seriously, more people qualify as sticklers than you might imagine, and you don’t want us taking a Sharpie to your business correspondence – or worse, just dismissing it.
For those still thinking it’s no big deal, Truss added the following: “The reason it’s worth standing up for punctuation is not that it’s an arbitrary system of notation known only to an over-sensitive elite who have attacks of the vapours when they see it misapplied. The reason to stand up for punctuation is that without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning.”
If you need a little help in communicating your meaning, contact me at Wordfix to discuss. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Grimm, Wordfix