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Being a copywriter is a bit like being a royal; you’re always in the public eye. While the world’s media won’t be remotely interested if you frolic naked round a snooker table, everyone rejoices at the sight of a copywriter’s typo or grammatical blunder.
From the minute you announce your copywriting career to the world, everything you write will be scrutinised. And there’s nothing people enjoy more than spotting mistakes in a copywriter’s copy. It’s close to being a national sport, and you can be sure some bright spark will gleefully bring it to your attention.
In an earlier blog, Nick Jones of Find a Proofreader stressed the importance of accurate copy. And if checking your own work is something you find difficult, hiring a professional proofreader is a good option. Although it will be an added expense, it will protect your reputation.
But while you could employ an army of proofreaders, there are times when it’s just not practical and you need to be on your guard. Sending a client an email, or even tweeting and updating your Facebook page puts you in the public eye. So, when you’re wearing your copywriter’s hat, it’s important you check everything you write carefully. As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”
Spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors are not the only risks to your professional reputation, though. Social media is a huge benefit to the freelance copywriter, but it’s important you never say anything which could come back and bite you. There have been countless cases in the news of people being prosecuted over comments made on Twitter or Facebook. While these are extreme cases, even an unguarded comment can be seen as being unprofessional.
Swearing is another example of a reputation-buster. Personally, I’m always disappointed to see a copywriter using four-letter words openly. After all, us copywriters are meant to be creative and have a better command of the language than other mere mortals. Shouldn’t we be able to express our feelings with a little more style and finesse?
And finally, if you do find you’ve dropped an accuracy clanger on one of the social media channels, try going back and bringing it to everyone’s attention. Adding a further light-hearted comment about being human or going to spelling classes can defuse a potential time bomb, and can even enhance your reputation. If nothing else, it will spark a few conversations and could open important lines of communication.
Blog post by Joy McCarthy
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