You really need an editor (humorous typos that professionals missed)

Everyone makes mistakes. Some slip-ups are just a little more public (and potentially career-ending) than others.

My colleagues and I in content marketing – who frequently write about writing – often note that if you write a piece about the importance of proofreading your work, you’re almost guaranteed to leave a typo in it. The universe likes to laugh at our professional hubris.

My first professional writing gig was as a copy writer at a travel marketing firm in Quebec. My predecessor had been let go after she had approved a massive print run of guidebooks to the Caribbean… Only on the cover, it was spelled Carribean. It happens.

At that same company, the owner had insisted on the tag line “Journey into a Magic Land” for the Mayan Riviera. I didn’t like the writing, but hey, he was the owner. Only, after I had left the final proofs before printing, his wife, who wasn’t a native English speaker, decided to get funky with it. In honour of the new website we were launching, in order to be hip and technical, she changed the back-cover tag line to “Journey into @ Magic Land.”

Of, course that reads, “Journey into at Magic Land.” We printed 10,000 of them. Always let your editor have the last look over your stuff before it goes out. It’s your best shot at avoiding disaster. They still sometimes happen, of course.

Take this unfortunate copy editor for the ad firm that handled Mc Donald’s transit advertising in New York. I’m almost certain they were fired.

One can understand the nostalgic sentiment they were going for, but I’m not sure if this is the way a professional marketer would choose to describe the flavour of this jam.

There are a wide variety of fantastic destinations to visit in the United States. Kansas may actually be quite popular – according to a recent ad campaign – but I don’t think it is for everyone.

Always step back and take a second look at your work after you’ve done writing it. Sometimes you didn’t write what you thought you wrote. (I think I’ll stick with the pop corn, thank you very much.)

Other times, awkward choice of language can lead to mixed messages. Is it fine to park here, really? Or will I, y’know, be toad.

Also. Fact check. Editors do more than just correct typos and spelling mistakes. They can also ensure factual accuracy (and general plausibility.) Really, what’s in the meat?

For more examples of times taking a close second look could have avoided disaster, please see: When ads go wrong… Classic advertising fails

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