Now that the holiday season has arrived, many of us will find ourselves reading roadside billboards and other signage to stave off the boredom of the road. We will view countless holiday ads online and in print, and if we own a business we may even create some ourselves. If we’re in a hurry to beat a deadline, we may rush the copy to the printer after a quick pass through a spell checker. Bad idea.
Proofreading matters, if only because the errors you pump out will live forever on the Internet. Even if you’re producing a sign or advertisement in a language most of your viewing public doesn’t understand, somebody out there has devoted a humorous website to you.
Yes, your spell checker catches lots of errors, but what about that misused word it doesn’t recognize or that proper name it doesn’t have in its database? That’s why you must always give your marketing content a once-over with your own eyeballs. If your eyeballs are tired, put the content away and proofread it later. But proofread it.
Of course, you can dot every I and cross every T and still end up with a ludicrous misstatement. Somewhere along U.S. Highway 83 (I forget where) stands a roadside sign for a combination gas station and restaurant. The sign proclaims proudly — and quite seriously — “EAT HERE! GET GAS!”
You may encounter entire concepts that needed one more pass through the marketing department. How about that billboard that always seems to pop up near small towns — the one for the BBQ place that depicts a cute cartoon pig squealing in terror as he runs from a guy with a butcher knife? Sure, it’s amusing if you’re into that sort of thing, but does it really pull people off the highway with their stomachs growling? “Hey, you know that funny pig you were slashing to death? I’d like me some of that with a side of slaw.”
So consider this post a public service announcement. Don’t just run your marketing content through a spell checker and call it done. Use human eyes. And don’t just check it yourself — have someone else look at it for that extra opinion. If you really want quality assurance, you can even have a professional writer proofread and edit it. But I digress. Happy Thanksgiving!
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