The Importance of Editorial Input in Copywriting.
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Copywriting  and proofreading are important

Vegan Fish?

As a consumer it’s easy to assume that high profile brands, knowing the importance of a clear marketing voice, have a meticulous process when it comes to producing anything wordy – product descriptions, posters, signs, you name it.

And then I saw this LinkedIn post.

Admittedly, this product description for Vegan (Fish?) Fingers is not technically wrong. There are no obvious grammar or spelling slip ups here. Those involved in the approval process might have assumed that the final hilarious sentence was 100% supposed to be there – and as a result, we might assume they’re lacking editorial hats.

Point being, human error is a pain – but that’s what editorial input is for (in the initial copywriting stage and beyond). Displaying a solid understanding of grammar and spelling is fundamental to any brand’s reputation, be it on a website, printed matter or point of sale materials. If you need convincing, just keep reading.

So, what are the most common editorial mistakes brands can make? 

Vegan Fish fingers copywriting

Commas

Hunting Pedestrians
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Pedestrians, beware! If you’re that averse to commas, maybe try a roomy line break?

Source: unknown

too many commas, marketing agency comments
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On the flip side: ads that have adopted the comma style of a Charles Dickens novel.

Source: Cineworld (Photo: GabrielJS/GuardianWitness)

Apostrophes

Fish on Fridays
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For Friday’s… what, exactly? And why does she get all the fish? Tesco in particular seems known for its clumsy command of English. More recently, the supermarket chain had to hurriedly remove thousands of Six Nations T-shirts from sale after fudging the spelling of the famous Welsh slogan emblazoned on the front. Clearly, even multinational companies can still benefit from editorial expertise.

Source: Tesco (Photo: Pcarnaptious99/GuardianWitness)

incorrect comma, Canterbury
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Tesco isn’t the only supermarket lacking in the editorial department. What happens when you add an apostrophe to the end of a plural noun that doesn’t end with an S? Nothing. You just look a bit silly.
Although, Sainsbury’s does win points for using a correct apostrophe in its logo. I’m looking at you, Waterstones.

Source: Sainsbury’s

Spelling

Genius T-Shirt miss spelling

Maybe they were going for irony? Judging by the fact this T-shirt was pulled from the website, probably not. Who knows how many they printed before someone pointed out the glaring misquote… probably enough to lose money. Proofreading’s not only essential for a brand’s image: it’s good for business.

Marketing Agency copy checking
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You’re right, Reebok. Not everything needs to be done quickly… including copy checking.

Source: Reebok

Meaning

Why is editorial input important? Because it saves you the trouble of looking like you don’t check your copy, and also prevents the meaning of your message from being damaged.

Don’t make the mistake of relying on spell check. A computer can’t understand the content you’re trying to deliver.

And so follows cases of ‘it’s a real word, just not the right word’:

incorrect meaning, Callage car parks
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No, this isn’t the way to the art department.
I’m not sure how Cambridge alumni Robert Frost, E.M. Forster or Salman Rushdie would feel about this one.

Source: Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

Lyndon B Johnson, university of Texas
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My proofreading experience has encouraged me to be particularly eagle-eyed when it comes to the word ‘public’. You can see why.

Source: University of Texas

Test Yourself

Don’t underestimate the power of readability, or let your brand (and customers!) down with shoddy copy.

Good editorial even goes beyond this: it’s not just about those details. Inconsistencies and incorrect references can go unchecked, especially by those not trained to spot them.

Here are some blunders we’ve personally spotted, thanks to our eagle-eyed editors, hover over the image to reveal the error: 



Finally – and as ridiculous as it sounds – without dedicated editorial checks, you can even misspell famous names as Diadora clothing company did for Crystal Palace FC.

A lot of these mistakes can make us laugh, probably because they seem so easily avoidable. But plenty of talented folks can overlook editorial mistakes based on the confidence that they’ve been checked already. Never assume that because something’s far along in production that the copy is foolproof.  


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