Read Before You Send

small-business-marketing-denver-GoEdison

 

I know, the title sounds like common sense, and it really is. However, it’s the common sense things – especially – that result in mistakes. We assume we’re correct because we “don’t” mess up common sense things! Consider text messages as an example. Have you received a text message, then thought, “What did they just ask me?” Shortly after thinking this, we then receive the inevitable, “Oops! Sorry…my phone autocorrected.” These autocorrect mistakes are funny most of the time, and they’re usually occurring with our friends, family, and/or with people on social media for everyone to see. These kinds of mistakes aren’t the focus (but they, too, should be avoided). What if the text was to your boss or a client?

The majority of people are always in a hurry, and they don’t take the time to read before they send. It’s easier said than done, and I’m not perfect by any means. I, too, have sent many things without checking them first. As a marketer, you’re not just sending things on your behalf. Most of the time, you are sending out information on behalf of your clients – including composing a company newsletter, email, Google chat messages, social media ads, blog content, or anything that has text in it. In this blog, we’ll talk about some of the mistakes we’ve made at GoEdison, and what we have learned to ensure the content we send out meets the standards our clients expect and deserve.

Emails and Newsletters

One thing that scares me the most in marketing – still to this day – is the newsletter email. You’re probably saying to yourself, “What? A newsletter isn’t so bad.” When you’re doing a newsletter for email purposes – either for your own company, or for a client – it can be an intense endeavor when considering the large audience that’ll receive it. I’ve heard so many stories where the email was sent out with wrong information to hundreds of clients; in some cases, everything worked-out, but others…not so much. Some newsletters and/or emails are designed to promote an event – only to send everyone to the wrong address, and others botch an important person’s name. The commercial where the guy refers to Mr. Dumass (pronounced Doo-Moss) as Mr. “Dumbass” comes to mind.

Hey, I‘ve done it, and so have my business partners – alluding to sending out faulty content. Lucky for us, one particular newsletter inadvertently resulted in a cute way to reach the subscribers on the list via a positive response to a mistake we made. Another mistake we made was a small mistake on employee birthdays in addition to a missing link to a page the newsletter was referring to. If you make a mistake, own it. Don’t make excuses, and never pass the blame onto anyone. Someone close to me will sometimes half-jokingly say this: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”

We all make mistakes, and if we learn from them instead of hiding from them, it makes us better people, better business owners, better marketers, and it actually builds relationships. We’ve been talking about newsletters, but we need to be careful with all client communication. An email that’s reporting or requesting information for an upcoming event should never contain mistakes.

We talked about the autocorrect phenomenon. With one of our clients, we frequently use Google chat. Even though we only use it with a couple of employees with whom we have a great relationship, it’s important to make sure those communications are error-free as well. Take it easy and slow down when you’re writing. Read what you wrote after writing it, then read it again, or possibly send it to someone on your team to look over and test it out. Very rarely, if ever, has anything we’ve drafted been ready to send the first time. To emphasize, we’ve always been relieved when we read our content again before sending, posting, or publishing; we always find something.

Blog Content and Website Content

Content can be a lot of different things, but we’re going to be talking about blogs and website content. When composing content for your website – whether it’s talking about your business or a blog – you’ll want to make sure everything is spelled correctly and written well. When people are willing to visit your website, they are evaluating your integrity and determining if they want to work with you.

Think of it as an interview. If you have misspellings, or simply have nothing coherent to say, this can drive potential clients away. At GoEdison, we always have our copy editor review everything we write – like this blog, for example (if there’s anything wrong, it’s his fault) – not to mention anything we write for our clients. As much as our copy editor is awesome, we should still read before we send; it’s not because I don’t have confidence in our content, but everyone will make a mistake every once in a while.

Social Media Posts and Ads

In the digital marketing world, social media and ads are one thing you spend a lot of time on. It’s important you’re reading what you’re posting before you send it out to the critics; they’re tough enough! The main purpose of an ad or a social media post is to engage people and earn interest in what you’re offering. How are they going to trust you when the content you’re putting out is no good?

It’s easy to rush through an ad to get it done without checking to make sure the message makes sense and is put together well. With respect to social media posts, you are either posting blogs from other sources or your own. I’ve read an article I thought was interesting and wanted to repost it, but a few times I’ve found misspellings in the article and the meta description. You can’t always trust everything that’s on the Internet; in fact, you should question most of it. Whether it’s external content or your own content, always “question” before you send.

Read Before You Send

The idea of making sure your content doesn’t have mistakes seems overly obvious – especially when it comes to business-related situations when you’re speaking to or on the behalf of clients. However, double-checking our own content – whether it’s formal or informal – should be automatic (not to be confused with autocorrect). When I was writing this blog, I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues, and I was noticing misspellings and bad phrasing. Yes…I was doing some multitasking, and I should’ve just focused on one thing at a time. Like you, I’m a busy person and “need” to multitask, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

What I should do is slow down and write what I want to say once, then I’d be finished with it and get back to what I was trying to do at the same time. Multitasking could probably be referred to as doing several things poorly rather than a single thing well. Some may say I was chatting with a co-worker, “Who cares if I had a few misspelled words, or had to rewrite what I really wanted to say after the fact?” If I would’ve just slowed down and took my time to write it correctly the first time, I would’ve saved time and not looked careless to our editor – not to mention saved him time.

It’s incredibly embarrassing to be entrusted to take on a task for a client or an internal content piece only to hear later there were several errors. We work too hard to be judged by the little things we did incorrectly than the vast majority of the work we did well. So, always read before you send!

Last, if anything was incorrect with this blog, blame our copy editor; he should’ve read before he sent!

If you’d like help with your content – whether it be through social media advertising, your inbound strategy through website content and email marketing, or a broader content marketing strategy – have coffee with our GoEdison team. It’ll be on us!