There’s almost certainly been at least one occasion when you’ve re-read an email or a report you’ve written and just sent only to notice, right at that moment, a typo that you missed. And then held your head in despair because it was too late to repair.
Everyone’s been there. Spelling and grammar mistakes are easy to make and difficult to spot. This is especially true if you’ve written the document yourself. Yet a single mistake could cost your company thousands of dollars and seriously damage its reputation. A UK Royal Mail survey found that 75% of customers don’t trust organisations that have errors in their written communications.
Why we can’t see our own typos
It’s extremely difficult to spot mistakes in a document you’ve personally written or been involved in producing. After spending hard hours drafting a complex annual or business report, tender, white paper or stakeholder communications, you simply cannot focus on proofreading, even though your company’s reputation could depend upon it!
This is because when you read something you’ve read before, your brain knows what’s coming next, so it jumps ahead, missing typos and other mistakes.
It’s not just typos, though
In fact, typos are minimal. Even missing words don’t occur too often. The biggest problem is inconsistencies.
When anyone writes a document, or when a team of contributors have had input, programs, job titles and other terms are often presented differently in different parts of the document. For example, in the list below the same title is presented in six different ways:
- Non-executive director
- Non-Executive Director
- Non executive director
- Non Executive Director
- Non-executive Director
- Non executive Director
That’s what professional proofreaders look for: as well as typos and grammatical errors, we’re on the hunt for inconsistencies that make our clients look sloppy.
Extra insurance for your brand
Of course, the only way to fix typos and grammatical mistakes is by using expert proofreaders. But too often proofreading is overlooked or left to the last minute.
Rather than looking at proofreading as a last-minute commodity or ignoring it completely, look on it as extra insurance for your brand. It’s an opportunity to maintain your brand’s positive reputation. Releasing business documents that are free of typographical or grammatical errors will not win you any awards, but documents with errors will quickly be noticed.
Gotcha! Here are some examples of corporate typos that almost got away
It’s so easy to miss a mistake. Fortunately for our clients we catch typos before they escape.
Here are some real life examples of errors we’ve spotted:
- How will your shareholders feel if your document tells them they will be receiving ‘divideds’ instead of ‘dividends’? This is one typo we picked up while proofreading an annual report for a major bank – the day before the 150-page document was due to go to print.
- How will shareholders feel when they read that your ‘Austrailan’ business is flying high? We spotted this mistake when proofreading an iconic Australian business’ annual report.
- Don’t forget the ‘New Humain Remains Found by Dog’ reported by the SMH online a few years ago.
- How will the recipient feel if your online gift message reads ‘with out love’ instead of ‘with our love’.
- What will customers think of your company if you reveal your new ‘causal wear’ line instead of your ‘casual wear’?
- What will happen to your reputation if you discuss ‘out houses’ instead of ‘our houses’?
- Would you prefer an ‘unclear proposition’ or a ‘nuclear proposition’?
Proofreading is risk management for your business
If you have documents that can’t risk any errors, it’s worth investing in professional proofreaders. When you use Proof Communications, you receive:
- The services of independent proofreading experts who carefully comb through every word and punctuation mark in your documents to produce a flawless end product.
- The experience of 17 years’ proofreading for global and local corporates including Qantas, Westpac, Zurich Insurance, Allianz, Ernst & Young, Hitachi, ABC Shops.
- Expertise in proofreading often complex documents ranging from 10–150 pages.
- A second set of independent eyes that quickly and efficiently spots and repairs mistakes that could otherwise reduce your company’s credibility.
But if you’d prefer to do it yourself, here are our proofreading tips.
What do they say?
“Wow. You’ve done a great job proofreading the report. Thank you.” Qantas
“Thanks so much Rosemary. You’ve made a real difference to the quality of our final report.” Allianz
“We really appreciate your fast turnaround and reliability and, of course, your proofreading skills.” The Core Agency, Sydney
“I thought I had an eye for detail, but it’s amazing just how many mistakes you’ve picked up on behalf of our client.” Designworks
If you are interested in protecting and enhancing your brand’s reputation, contact us today to discuss your project and request a quote.