A personal lesson and some helpful tips for your copy editing journey.

By Steve Moran

This is not the kind of email anyone wants to get. As a publisher of content every day — even though I have two other people doing copy editing — I know we still miss stuff. The good news is that the next day we are going to publish new stuff and people will forget the typos. It is much worse when it is something static like a web page, or worse yet printed promotional material.

And yet . . . these kinds of emails are actually a huge gift. They force you to get better. 

Though surprisingly too often when people receive critical commentary they just get mad, which puts them in an even worse situation.

Good Advice

Once in awhile I will get an article submission from someone where what they sent me is just terrible. The writing is unintelligible, so unintelligible in fact, that it is impossible to even tell if the topic itself is good or bad. My first instinct is to reach out to them and say, “You know this isn’t very good. Can I help?”  

Except . . .

Every time I have done this (except once, when it turned into a great experience and friendship) the person submitting it just got all mad because I did not appreciate their hard work. Now I promise you in every case these folks are not writers, because if they were they would never react this way. Good writers all know they sometimes produce something that is garbage and needs to be thrown away or completely reworked.

Yep, going someplace with all this . . .

A few days ago I got message from Lorri Thanos — who is working on some really cool telemedicine stuff — saying, “I think you have a typo in your LinkedIn profile.

Argh . . . .

I took a look and it was worse than that. The typo was there but my profile was woefully out of date. It needed a whole bunch of fixing. It took almost no time, maybe 10 minutes, but since my profile gets looked at probably 300 times a month, that is a lot of not looking as good as I could have.

Check the Static Pages

This is a long winded way of saying I hope you use this article as an opportunity to go check all of those more or less static pages that represent you and your company:

  • LinkedIn — Personal page and company profile

  • Facebook — Same thing

  • Twitter

  • Your website About page

Good luck on your personal copy editing journey.