A wise man once said:
“The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning-bug & the lightning.”
If you’re one of those people who, unlike Mark Twain, the wise man we just quoted, think that proofreading and editing your content is not that important or crucial, we invite you to revisit your position, and we’ll explain why. Apart from the obvious, which is leaving room for others to not deem you to be as professional and thorough, there are actually much bigger perils that lay within writing mistakes.
We tend to see what we meant to write, and that may be far from, sometimes even the opposite of what we actually wrote. Twain understood that being creative rarely means also paying attention to details. So, when it comes to writing – details within grammar, spelling, continuity and clarity may not be mere details, after all.
Even when the importance of proofreading is honored, mistakes do happen and they can lead to some very humorous situations. Other times, no-proofreading-necessary cases or error that slipped through can cause some far from humorous situations.
Have you read about a mistake that was found in the Penguin’s popular publication The Pasta Bible in Australia? It cost the publishing company over $20,000, which proved to be a minor inconvenience compared to the PR nightmare of epic proportions that they had to endure. And what caused this catastrophe? Just a single misspelled word.
The mistake was within a recipe for tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto. It would sound delicious if the aspiring pasta chefs were not instructed to season their pasta with “salt and freshly ground black people.” Yes, “ground black people”! The result – instead of raving reviews and comments of hundreds of households who enjoyed making and savoring the recipe – an urgent recall of all published books and thousands of dollars spent on PR attempts to appease and reassure the public that it was an unintentional proofreading mistake.
You may have heard of a writing error in 2006 that may have cost Italian airline Alitalia 7.72 million US dollars. The airline mistakenly advertised a flight from Toronto to Cyprus for the cut-price fee of $39 – instead of $3,900, according to reports. 2,000 tickets had been sold before the error was discovered, and the airline was forced to honor the price.
Every single business, transaction and venture at some point depends upon the written word, to attract and keep customers and seal the deals.
However, a shockingly high number of business owners and entrepreneurs have little writing experience. What’s even more shocking is the fact that those same business owners still write their own content and communications, without even having them proofread and edited. Not only is there a question of whether or not their writing actually makes sense and is powerful enough to deliver the message they are trying to convey, but also, as we have seen in those examples above, the mistakes can make you look stupid, or worse, and cost you vast amounts of money.
If you care about your product and services, how you offer and describe them to potential customers is something you should absolutely care about, too. You want to present and express yourself and your business in the utmost professional way, so let every word be an example of that excellence. How do you do that?
Have a professional writer compose your content whenever possible, and always hire a professional proofreader and editor to check your important documents and any written piece that will be seen by your clients.