Pay Attention to the Details – FOW #25

I received an email from a software company recently that was going through a pivot with their services. They sent this update to all subscribers about the changes and how it would better serve everyone.

It was a heartfelt letter and while I appreciated their authenticity, I was horribly distracted by numerous spelling and grammatical errors. I can’t remember what the update was about, I mostly remember surprise that no one had proofread it.  Simple misspellings, using the wrong word, all of the common errors were there.

This was an opportunity to re-engage people on their email list with the company. In a sales email no less, one of the worst possible place to have someone distracted from your messaging.


Details matter

Misspellings & grammatical errors can feel trivial, but these mistakes undermine your message. If you have noticed errors in an email before, you likely were left wondering “don’t they realize that Outlook has spellcheck?”

Worse still is blasting out glaring errors to hundreds or thousands of people on a mailing list. As Seth Godin wrote recently, “there is no recall button”.

On your website are there errors lurking that prospects might notice and be turned off by, or common misspellings in your own in-house emails?

Generalization- why your brain is blind to our own typos

It’s hard to catch your own errors. This can be something as trivial as transposing the letters in “the” to “hte,” or something as significant as omitting the core explanation of your article.

 Our brain generalizes words & letters as we re-read our work in favor of creating sentences and meaning, and this is where a partner is crucial to double check your work.

This generalization is why it is so easy for your readers to catch mistakes you struggle to see.

Enlist Help

We have a writer we use, and the reason for this is very fundamental.

She has our back, edits for clarity to ensure we say what we intend to say, and sweeps up the details when it comes to content & our website.  She works with our Web Developer too, ensuring the copy is clear (and properly spelled).

A fresh set of eyes exposes blind spots you may miss.

When writing for impact, don’t hesitate to enlist someone to copyedit, or revamp, your work.  It could be the difference between engaging someone and losing them completely.

You’re probably wondering, what about daily emails?

We won’t be outsourcing our day to day emailing to Alexa (our writer, not the robot) anytime soon. The daily ones are important too, and there are ways to check yourself to make it easier to catch errors.

For daily writing try Grammarly to catch typos or weird grammar snafus (its free for the web and Outlook), and The Hemingway Editor for readability.

In this tech-enabled world, there’s no excuse anymore for typos with these tools! While they can’t catch you from saying one thing when you mean something else, or from leaving out the core explanation of your article, they can wrap up the small stuff in seconds.