Have you ever gone to a website to purchase an item or research a subject, but once there you realized the content was full of typos and grammatical errors?
Did your trust in the company immediately change?
Did it make you think twice before entering your credit card number?
Did you *eye roll emoji* at the liberal use of LOL speak?
It’s easy to take small details like punctuation and word usage for granted, but these small details can add up to a lot of trust and can mean the difference between someone choosing your services or going to your competitor.
In fact, Adweek reported in 2014 that a study by U.K. firm Global Lingo found that 59 percent of respondents said they would avoid doing business with a company that had obvious errors on their website.
So what’s a business to do?
The most obvious answer is to hire someone whose job it is to prevent such mistakes. But does such a position exist? It does, and those who do it are called copy editors.
Copy editors work to ensure products are accurate and free of errors before they go out to the public. But copy editing goes beyond making sure you have the correct they’re or their. It includes rewriting copy to make it clearer and ensuring that the tone and phrases are appropriate for the audience. Different audiences require different content – the general public doesn’t necessarily want to read a website full of scientific jargon. And while there’s a time and place for LOLs and emojis, there are also plenty of instances such casual conversation is inappropriate.
Editors will often be tasked with fact checking and ensuring a business’s brand is being used consistently across different platforms (print, online, and social are just a few examples). And a good editor will catch copy that might be embarrassing for the company.
Imagine leaving the “g” out of that delicious angus burger. And, of course, there’s the infamous public vs. … well you know.
There also are plenty of social media pitfalls copy editors can keep your business from falling in. Taking advantage of trending hashtags can be a clever way to get your message out, but it can also backfire if a company doesn’t do its research. In 2014, DiGiorno jumped on a trending hashtag to sell pizza. Except the hashtag, WhyIStayed, was intended to draw attention to domestic violence. The pizza company later apologized, saying it did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.
A copy editor can help spot these errors before they go out to thousands of customers or become billboard-size typos.
So the next time your company is ready to unveil its latest campaign, make sure you have a copy editor take a look at what you’re presenting. Taking that extra step now can save you from embarrassment in the future.