Just one wrong letter is all it takes.

The job ad for a “pubic relations officer”. The provocative new fragrance ad for men’s “colon”. The networking event serving “drinks and nipples”. The sign claiming, “illegally parked cars will be fine”.

Hey, mistakes happen — we’re all human.

You’ll be forgiven for a rogue apostrophe, stray comma or a questionable typo when texting your friends or messaging colleagues internally. In fact, depending on the typo, it’ll probably give you all something to giggle about.

Not the case when you’ve just picked up 500 copies of your beautifully designed brochure, only to notice a glaring typo on the cover.

Bad for business

Unfortunately, your clients and customers won’t be as sympathetic to careless writing as your mates.

No one likes to be wrong. And in the business world, typos and punctuation mistakes just look sloppy. Plus, they’re costly too. You don’t want to have to reprint thousands of posters, flyers or whatever else it may be, just because of poor proofreading.

As with any other mistakes, typos don’t instil a great deal of confidence in your customers or clients either. After all, if you can’t get basic spelling and punctuation correct, then what else might you be getting wrong?

And if you think dodgy proofreading only affects the large global companies — think again! Thanks to the rise of social media, no business is immune. Your mistake could quickly end up on the internet for all to see, and you could find yourself the butt of a fair few jokes (or “memes”).

Of course, there’s always room for a little creative licence. Some of the most famous straplines technically aren’t grammatically correct — but ‘Do You Have Any Milk?’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as ‘Got Milk?’. Rules are made to be broken, right?

But before you start playing around with copy rules, it’s essential to have a good grasp of them first — that way you’ll know how far you can bend them. And if you’re deliberately changing stuff around, at least make sure it’s consistent across all your materials and in line with your business’ tone of voice!

What are the best days to send out emails?

Call in backup

If you want to avoid mistakes and be taken seriously as a business, don’t let anything leave the building without a thorough copy check. This means checking everything two, three or even five times if needed.

But even then, it’s sometimes not enough. By nature, we all read our own text too quickly, which means our eyes see what we think they should see rather than what it actually says on the page. This is why it’s so difficult to pick up our own errors.

This is when you need to call in some backup. Proofreading is an acquired skill, and there’s a big difference between a thoroughly proofread or edited piece of copy and one that’s only had a quick ‘skim’.

You need to know exactly what you’re looking for to find the errors in the text. This is where a good copywriter comes in handy. It’s not just about spelling, grammar or punctuation either; copywriters will also check facts are correct and look for consistency, tone of voice and messaging.

By not getting your copy professionally proofread, you run a high risk of publishing something that is, at best, inconsistent and difficult to comprehend – and which, at worst, damages your company’s reputation.

And a final word of advice? Don’t think you can just rely on Word’s spell checker or the Grammarly app. They’re good, but they’re not that good…

At Hyped Marketing, we’re meticulous about good copy — whether we’re creating it from scratch or checking through existing text. Get in contact today to find out how we can help your business avoid any costly (and embarrassing!) mistakes.