Agency life thrives on creativity. Walking through the doors of Alipes, you can practically hear the hum of new ideas bouncing off the walls as our solutionsists delve into the unexplored and unearth the individualized stories of every client. Our clients relish in this creativity, in search for that much-needed spark to make their brands stand apart. And yet, while solutionists and clients alike are craving this wild abandon from the norm, digital marketing still requires one foot on the floor of practicality.
It can become easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of your ideas, overwhelmed by excitement and absolutely jumping in your seat to share your dedicated efforts at the first possible moment. You've worked hard to bring such innovative solutions to the forefront and you know the future of this project is bright.
So you immediately gather the work together, attach it to an email, and then... there it is. Glaringly obvious, only after the exact moment you press send. Too caught up in the uniqueness of your ideas, you end up failing on execution. You lost sight of what was staring you right in the face.
And maybe it really is a significant one - it's in the title of the document, there's a misspelling of the client's name, or the typo even drastically changes the entire meaning of your project. Or, just maybe, the typo is seemingly less important - you're one letter off but the point still remains, or the typo is only in the body of your email rather than in the project you're showcasing. Either way, it doesn't matter. This typo will still be front and center, absorbing every ounce of attention. The time and effort you put into the rest of the project will easily fade away, replaced with the simple acknowledgment that “there's a typo on the page.” One simple error can shatter all of the hard work.
It happens all too often. A quick Google search will prove that no matter the industry you're in, and no matter how small and insignificant the error may seem, typos can still wreak havoc. Typos can cause individuals to be overpassed for internships or jobs they thought they already had. Or typos can spur national embarrassment, eye-rolls and endless memes, like Trump's infamous “covfefe” tweet. Not to mention, in many instances, typos can end up being majorly expensive for companies. Typos missed in an advertisement or book can result in thousands of dollars in costly reprints. Even NASA succumbed to one of the most expensive typos in history when a single missed hyphen in computer code resulted in the 1962 Mariner 1 spacecraft explosion, a mistake that cost NASA roughly $80 million dollars, or $673 million by today's standards.
And though digital creatives may not be held to the standards of rocket scientists, the job still needs to be carried out with absolute precision. Clients desire thoughtful innovation, and typos make meticulously crafted pieces of work look thrown-together. Clients need everything planned out down to the smallest detail, and yet typos emphasize a lack of attention to detail, even if that is not inherently the case.
In fact, most of the time typos have nothing to do with laziness or a lack of effort. Rather, typos are a mistake that go unnoticed simply because the creator is too close to their work. When you know how something is supposed to read, your mind will often correct the mistake automatically, leaving the typo unnoticed. And unfortunately, with inaccurate autocorrects and undependable spell checks, technology doesn't even provide a good solution to the problem.
But there are still important steps you can take. While agency life will often demand a fast-paced working style, sometimes setting aside a few more minutes to follow the steps below will be more beneficial in the long run. These are a few ways to prevent typos and ensure a stronger finished product:
Read It Differently
Step away from your desk and read the work out loud. Or go old-school and print out the document, taking a red pen to it. Even read the document backwards, starting at the bottom, to catch any spelling errors.
Double check the accuracy of anything that would not be picked up by a spell check. Names, dates, titles, places and companies are important to get right. Ensure every number listed out is correct because a single period placement can change $4.00 to $400. And take a moment to make sure that all of your hyperlinks go to the right place.
You may have read over the document a hundred times, but now all of the words are running together. Just step away for a moment and regroup. Go and grab a cup of coffee, take a lunch break or move on to an unrelated project on your to-do list. When you come back to it, you will have a refreshed perspective to catch mistakes you wouldn't have otherwise.
Ask for Help
Sometimes the best editors are the people who are not involved in the project at all. Ask a colleague to look over the work. They will be more likely to pick up on something you missed, and can also make sure the work is comprehensible to outside eyes.
In the end, don't overthink it. Be confident in the work that you put together. If you're re-editing the copy over and over again, up until the very minute you're pressing send, you will be much more prone to making small mistakes.