Fix mistakes (how to be your own copywriter)


Words are easy to get wrong. Words are tricky buggers and they invite mistakes. So it’s not unusual to have a few mistakes or errors in your copy. Luckily, we can fix it.

In this series of blog posts I’m suggesting ways that you can improve your copy yourself.

But before we think about making your copy brilliant, let’s cover how to make it acceptable. Because few things will deter a potential customer more quickly than an error-ridden website or brochure. Errors suggest you’re inattentive, or lazy, or incompetent. Clearly, these are not the kind of signals you want to send to potential customers.

And this isn’t just about grammar and spelling. Your copy can have several kinds of mistakes:

Factual errors

Your website recommends a service you no longer offer. Your brochure lists an address that you no longer use. Your user manual recommends software that no longer exists. Your team page features staff who no longer work for you.

These kinds of errors usually emerge because of the passage of time. The passing of time is inevitable. You failing to update your copy is not.

When you check your copy, imagine that you are a new customer discovering your organisation for the first time. Can you find accurate, up-to-date answers to your questions?

Technical errors

A link to your services page actually leads people to your products. Your contact form is broken.

There is no point having amazing copy if people can’t navigate to that part of your website. These errors are easy enough to uncover. You just have to click around your website. Follow every link. Make sure you end up where you’re supposed to end up.

Grammatical and spelling errors

You don’t need to be a grammar genie to get this stuff right. You just need to write your copy in Word (or anything that has a capable spell checker) and be aware of tricky words (too/to, your/you’re etc). And if you’re not sure about tricky words, you should call on a friend who is.

Seek help

There’s a good chance you know at least one grammar pedant who will review your copy for you. There’s no shame in asking for help. If you can, get more than one person to review your copy. The more eyes you have on the copy, the less chance there is of errors sneaking through.

Once you’ve eliminated errors from your copy you can begin to think about making it awesome. We’ll cover that in the weeks ahead.


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