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"Yes, I used a spellcheker. Why?"

Contributing Solution Provider

"Yes, I used a spellcheker. Why?"

In reality, mistakes do happen. Recently the Chicago Cubs published a full page ad in the local newspaper on how to buy single game tickets. The 800# in the ad was not for the Chicago Cubs, but instead, an adult entertainment hotline.

You intend to write, print, and publish absolutely perfect copy. You have read it through four, six, or seven times.  Everyone in the office has read it, so you’re sure it is right. Right?

Trained eyes see frequent mistakes in print and electronic publications. Usually it’s typos, such as misspellings or missed words. Sometimes it’s a poor choice of words to say or, worse yet, a word that is opposite of what you wanted to use!

Quick tip - Read paragraphs backwards. It slows down your eyes, especially to correct a wrong word.

It’s not easy to proof copy. In fact, it is extremely difficult to train your eyes to find errors. Yes, you can pick out many errors, but we all miss a few, and we make them as well. But please don’t use the excuse, “to err is human.”

In a recent edition of a national newspaper, the word “this” was spelled tiis not just once, but three times in an article. Most, if not all, spellcheckers would notify the writer, so what was the problem?

Some errors appear to be just plain sloppiness or laziness, but other causes are possible. For example, as companies downsize, the remaining employees are required to take on additional responsibilities, so there is less time to get everything done.

Here are four tips that can help you create flawless copy when you communicate with customers and prospects.

  1. Review everything. Plan ahead and allow adequate time to get others involved. If you are the writer, be willing to admit there may be blunders in your draft. Take criticism with grace; even if you disagree with suggested changes, they may contain valuable feedback on how to improve the quality of your work.
  2. Put forth your best professional image to instill confidence in your readers. First impressions and image are everything, so appeal to your audience and reap the rewards of success.
  3. Have someone who does not work with you proofread your work. A fresh, objective eye can produce amazing results. Sometimes, one more time is the charm.
  4. If you are proofreading, communicate your feedback clearly to ensure that it is easily seen and understood. If you are reading a paper copy, use a sharp-pointed red pencil or pen. In a digital document, highlight your recommendations.

As you start to do more proofing, you’ll develop habits in your proofing process. Take headlines for example. Most people pass them up because there is never a mistake in a headline. They occur more often than you think.

Quick tip - Phone numbers? My habit is to dial any phone number in copy that I am asked to proof. In fact, it may even save your job.

For additional articles on small business marketing please visit my MarketingDoc blog or web site.

Next blog - The Dangers of “Funny” Advertising.

Do you have a specific question? Use my correct 800-251-3608 number. I hope.



Constant Contact Solution Provider
Marketing Communications Specialist
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Re: "Yes, I used a spellcheker. Why?"

I very seldom use a spellchecker, but it is something I should do more often.

I sometimes look over my old blog posts and I am ashamed.

I have tried writing articles in the past and quite a few have been rejected.

Your approach is thorough and methodical.

I suppose your advice is that when you have written something, it is not finished - there is still work to do.

Contributing Solution Provider

Re: "Yes, I used a spellcheker. Why?"

I love your last sentence. My writing is never done. I can always add more, but as I learned, use the additional ideas and copy to make something new. Thanks for the feedback.


Constant Contact Solution Provider
Marketing Communications Specialist
Need your marketing performance evaluated?