With the advent of the spell check tool in Microsoft Word and now in most blog applications online, it seems that more typos are turning up than when copywriters had to edit the old-fashioned way. Today, we see writers relying too much on spell-checking tools and completely skipping good ole’ manual editing, resulting in many typographical errors both in online and print advertisements.
The problem with too many typos and consistent grammatical errors is that people won’t see you as the professional brand of excellence you claim to be. How many people do you think believed the Stratford Hall Catalog when it mispelled a word right on the front cover of their printed catalog, “Reliability…always upholding the highest standards for every detal.” It’s downright embarrassing.
Sometimes you may use the wrong word completely, but the wrong word spelled correctly. This happened to the student newspaper from Brigham Young University when a front-page caption referred to leaders in the Mormon Church as “apostates” rather than “apostles.” The newspapers were pulled from the stands as quickly as possible, as you can imagine. Blog and Twitter updates, brochure and catalog printing – any marketing piece that holds too many grammatical or spelling errors can give your brand a bad reputation.
The “Typo” in Spellcheck
Because the spell checking tool is only programmed to alert you to words it doesn’t contain in its “memory,” it won’t let you know when you’ve used the wrong spelling of the word, such as “it” and “it’s.” Nor will it let you know when you’ve missed a letter and typed a completely different word altogether, such as leaving out the “o” in the word “hello.” And as with the catalog printing mistake mentioned above, spell check does not catch when you unknowingly use the wrong word. Even worse, it doesn’t let you know when your message implies the wrong meaning. Without thorough editing, it can be easy to let such errors slip through, only to show up blatantly after you’ve already printed a thousand posters.
Tips for Better Editing
Here are some methods you can use for a more thorough editing of your writing. Combine the use of at least three of these methods for the best results.
- Continue to use spell check, as this tool will quickly eliminate the most basic spell errors in your document.
- Use the grammar check tool in your word program to help you catch basic grammar issues.
- Wait to edit your article after putting it aside for awhile.
- Read the article out loud while editing.
- Have someone else proofread your copy.
- Print the article to edit it one last time before sending to your printer or posting it.
Bottom line: don’t rely solely on the spell check tool in your word software. Take the time to edit everything you write for your brand, so that you don’t end up with a newspaper caption or tagline for your catalog printing that gives readers the wrong impression.