I read an article on CNN recently that made me laugh – and shake my head in wonder. A Hong Kong-based airline misspelled their brand name on a massive Boeing plane. That is what you call a BIG mistake. How could this have happened? Since English isn’t their native language, perhaps the mistake wasn’t as obvious to them.
For a marketer, it drives home how crucial the role of proofreading is in our business – and in yours. It’s an important step that many people skip, especially if it’s a small project. But as you’ll see in some of the examples in the link shared below, big mistakes can happen even in one- or two-word messages. And they commonly occcur in headlines.
There are steps you can take to prevent them, however. Here are just a few that might make a difference on your next project:
- Use your tools. It surprises me how often people neglect to use the resources right at their fingertips. It takes two seconds to click on the “Review Spelling and Grammar” button and have technology do the work for you. It’s a great tool, but be forewarned it won’t catch everything.
- Be on the alert for common mistakes. One of the most common mistakes is using the wrong form of the word “(they’re” in place of “their,” or “too” instead of “to.” for example). Double check your homonyms. And your apostrophes.
- Share it with a co-worker. At trio, we look to our co-workers to review our work with a critical eye. It always helps to have someone who isn’t familiar with the project read through it to ensure accuracy and clarity.
- Try different methods. One old school but tried-and-true method is to read your copy backwards. While your brain is trained to read what it’s supposed to read in sentence form, you can break that pattern by reading in reverse. Other people find reading out loud or proofing from a printed sheet rather than online is helpful.
- Walk away. You’ve done all the above and it looks PERFECT! If you have the time, let it rest for a few hours or overnight. Giving yourself a break and looking at it later gives your brain a rest and allows you to look at it with a fresh perspective.
- Use a professional. At d.trio, our last step before going to print is to have a professional proofreader give it a thorough review. If you have someone on staff, be sure to run your work past them. There’s no one better to check the fine details like punctuation and website links, and to make sure your numbers are accurate.
To feel better about any slip-ups your company may have made, check out this list. It will not only make you laugh out loud, but will reinforce how important it is to make proofing a priority.