Getting the right message across - Proofreading etc

posted 17 Nov 2014, 08:00 by Gwen Montgomery

Every business needs to promote itself whether online or in print.   This is the first impression that most of your potential clients will have of your services or product, so it is vital to get it right.   Great images, eye-catching design and legible fonts or graphics are important, but PLEASE – get it proof read! 

It’s about attention to detail, and more.  If you get this part right, with no glaring typos, or awkward prose, then you have avoided putting up barriers to purchasers.   Even if you are not a five star hotel, where attention to detail is essential, every customer wants to know that utmost care is taken in how a product is made or how work will be done on their house, their hair or their horsebox!

Printing is expensive and many new businesses need fliers, business cards and perhaps other advertising.  My advice would be to get an average print run the first time.  It’s not until you’ve a few months behind you in a new venture that you realise your main selling point, or the smartest way to cast the net to your potential clients.   So don’t get dozens of boxes of your fliers, you will want to make changes.  Most importantly, don’t go to print without getting your documents proofed.   Although I know I have a sharp eye and am offended by the overuse of the apostrophe, there are a few others out there, with money to spend, who will also notice if details are incorrect.

What about online presence?  Websites are much more affordable these days and many people choose to design their own and put the content up themselves.   Others get designers to do the job, but not everyone gets it checked out by a copywriter or proofreader.  If your business is not writing – and it’s few writers that make a living out of writing – then you should get some help.  You might be brilliant at what you are at, be it training, plumbing or running a B&B, but then you are likely not a practiced writer or grammarian!   It is true that many people are dyslexic, and many more who run great businesses are ESL and their written English may be far from comprehensible.  There are many websites that I gave up trying to read because the content was badly written – poor structure, long sentences – just not getting the message across.  But there have also been several like that which I have enjoyed re-writing or where working with a client to understand their business better, I could help to write attractive prose which got their message across.

When we dream our dreams for our business we read about entrepreneurs and leaders, managers and whizz kids. The most successful business people will tell of hiring people who are better than they are at sales, design, marketing, human resources – whatever!   Recognise what you are best at and also where you are not so gifted, then spend a little to fill the gaps in your expertise – you won’t regret it. 

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