Don’t Make This Amateur Mistake

By | November 9, 2009

As printers increasingly see themselves as marketing services providers, they are proactively developing marketing and business development expertise that is a benefit to their customers. Unfortunately, there is one aspect of good marketing that is too often overlooked — copy editing.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve winced when looking at sample marketing campaigns or — equally distressing — these printers’ websites. There are spelling errors, grammar mistakes, obvious typos, and gross errors in capitalization and style. Perhaps to the printer, the copy looks fine. But to anyone who knows basic editorial rules, it looks like the company has no idea what it’s doing.

Copy editing oversights may perhaps be excused if you are doing nothing but printing. Nobody expects you to know the rules of punctuation, usage, grammar, and style (although it’s a sign of professionalism if you have your materials professionally written or edited). If, on the other hand, you’re marketing yourself as a marketing services provider, you are expected to meet a basic editorial standard. It’s part of copywriting.

Just for fun, check out what happened when a newspaper attempted to get rid of its internal copy editing department. One of its editors got ahold of the memo . . .  I think it illustrates the point quite nicely.

Disgruntled Star Editor Takes Constructive Revenge

If you are going to be producing editorial for your clients, make sure you have the right people on staff or contracted as third party editors to be checking your work.

Someone who “knows grammar” or did well in English class isn’t going to be enough. There are professional rules that go beyond these skills and distinguish a professionally written (or edited) document from one that is not.

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One thought on “Don’t Make This Amateur Mistake

  1. Larry Bauer

    I would agree with what you are saying. As a strategist and writer who works extensively with printing companies, I try to stress the need for professionalism. You have to be the example if you want to advise others about marketing strategies and convey credibility. I would also add that even if you are using professionals as writers, you should still use an objective, independent professional proofer. Even writers don’t always know every rule and style change, and even more importantly, no one is effective at proofing their own copy after a certain point in the creative process. You begin to see what’s in your head rather than what may actually be on the page.

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