Lately, it seems that every day I find a marketer who has great information but didn’t bother to take the time to make sure it was error free before publishing. Whether it is a broken link on a website, free content that doesn’t download, or a spelling/grammar error. Yet such mistakes undermine credibility.

The frustrating thing is that editing is not a new concept for any of us. We were taught from an early age to always edit our work. Errors on homework were not acceptable and would result in a lower grade, so we learned to check our work for accuracy before handing it in. What many marketers don’t see is that customers grade us more harshly than our teachers ever did. Errors in your content destroys your professional image, erodes confidence in your company’s products and services, and eventually hurts sales. A study by the BBC has shown that the accuracy of your editing makes a difference in how your company is perceived.

No doubt the ease of publishing content is undermining the quality of work being produced. In addition, it’s increasingly difficult to hire good writers. Today’s content is rushed to publication, too often without a second set of eyes to review it for accuracy. In the rush to move on to the next important thing, mistakes are made – sometimes mistakes that will destroy a company’s reputation. The author’s of Mitt Romney’s app probably hit their deadline when they released the app with “Amercia” emblazoned across the screen, but they also did enormous damage to Mitt’s credibility in the process.

I am not saying that mistakes don’t occur. After all, we are human. But consistent errors reflect a lack of attention to detail that will definitely be noticed by readers.

Establishing a process to follow before you publish anything, from email newsletters to blog posts, will resolve many of the editing errors that exist. Follow these four steps to edit your content successfully:

1. Don’t rush it. When you think your piece is ready to publish, put it aside for an hour, or if you have time until the next day. Re-reading it after a break gives you a fresh perspective on the content and helps you spot any errors.

2. Speak it. Read it aloud in a clear voice. When we read it silently in our head, our brain substitutes errors we might have made with the word we intended to type, causing us to miss them. But when we read the content out loud, we are forcing our brain to read what is on the page/screen and not what we think should be on the page.

3. Hand it off. The more we review copy, the harder it is for us to see any mistakes we may have made. And the more we edit copy, the more likely it is that we’ll introduce mistakes. When you think you have a finished piece that is ready to publish, give it to at least one other person to read. In addition to performing another spelling and grammar check, they can give you a different perspective on the content since they probably don’t know as much about it as you.

4. Test it. After it has been published, review it online as soon as possible. Verify all of the information is correct, including telephone numbers and addresses. Recheck numbers for accuracy. It is easy to change one hundred to one thousand simply by typing an extra zero. Be sure that the published result matches your edited version, and click on any links to verify they are working as intended and connecting to the right destination.

Be sure to allow yourself enough time to work through each phase of your editing process to avoid the simple errors that damage credibility. I cannot stress enough the importance of slowing down long enough to make sure that the content being produced meets your customer’s standards.

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