Friday, October 17, 2008

You are only as good as your message...

I’m sure that sounds harsh, but in reality, if a prospective customer will make a decision about you within seconds of seeing your logo, ad or marketing message, it must be compelling. On top of that, it must also be error-free. Imagine, for example, that you see an ad with a typo or misspelling on the first line. Do you keep reading, or do you dismiss it as not being worth your time? Hopefully, most people aren’t as picky as I am about such things, but I will immediately dismiss an ad with mistakes in it. My feeling is that if people can’t time to spell or punctuate correctly, they probably don't pay enough attention to detail to warrant my business. To ensure that your marketing copy is clear and error-free, follow these tips:

1) Copywriters, whether in-house or independent, are notoriously bad at proofing their own work, myself included. Have someone else proofread the copy at each stage to ensure that you catch every mistake.

2) In line with the first tip, make sure that you proofread and approve the final copy before it goes to press. Once you’ve misspelled your company name on 1000 business cards, it is costly to have them redone.

3) Use spell-check. I know it isn’t perfect (it will think her is spelled correctly, even if you meant here) but it will notice if you’ve left the R out of Christmas.

4) Invest in a good dictionary, thesaurus, grammar guide and a style guide suitable to your industry. For newspapers, for example, the Associated Press Stylebook reigns supreme. Other folks use the Chicago Manual of Style, APA or an in-house guide. These resources will provide you with answers on everything from capitalization and abbreviation to serial commas and the use of foreign words.

5) Not sure where to turn? Consult a local writer’s or editor’s group to have a proofreader or copyeditor on call for large projects. It might cost you a little cash up front, but it will save you time and money in the long run!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

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