A video game label misspelling the country of Australia served as the cherry atop a sundae of blunders in the game’s launch. A typo in a Canadian government hotline redirected callers to a phone sex call center. A U.S. political figure tweeted out the wrong URL, opening the door for a cybersecurity risk.
Such flubs damage brands — and, thanks to social media, they do so quickly and widely. That’s why the best content marketers recognize the importance of copy editors as a necessity, not a luxury.
Beyond just preventing laughable errors in grammar, punctuation, capitalization and word choice, an experienced copy editor will make your content — whether it’s a blog post, magazine, website, ad, social media post or an annual report — professional and polished in terms of.
Good copy editors are familiar with libel laws and will flag text that might get you into trouble. They’ll read with an understanding of an organization’s tone and voice, knowing that what’s on-brand for an energy drink company’s tweet is embarrassing in a financial institution’s white paper.
Save the embarrassment
Copy editors have learned — often from painful, public experience — how language can go horribly awry in the wrong context. Publishing inadvertently insensitive content will distract from your organization’s message. For instance, some commonly used terms actually commonly offend: It’s “Ukraine,” not “the Ukraine,” and never use “wheelchair-bound.”
And so-called bad breaks in lines of copy could disgust your target readers rather than attract them. Imagine a billboard that blares:
*Eat your baby ...
... carrots today*
If you don’t have a professional copy editor, a co-worker should thoroughly review your content. Bring this person in early enough in the editing process to allow for a big change, and remember the golden rule of writing: It must be clear. Copy editors don’t just protect you from mistakes; they protect you from miscommunication.