It’s Suppose To Matter. It Use To Matter. It Still Matters.
So, reading that tagline really makes you want to hire me, doesn’t it? Because, clearly, you know that I can’t spell. And clearly, you also know that I don’t care about accuracy.
Wow! Sure makes me want to hire someone. An agency. A freelancer. A social media “guru.” And, maybe not so clearly, you know that if I spend this much attention to detail to my own blogging endeavors that, surely, I’ll focus at least as much on your projects – you know, the work you’re paying me to do for you.
This is a rant. I apologize, but it can’t be helped! I just read a blog post from someone whom I admire. A young man, making his way in the world of advertising, an up and coming writer, a blogger who’s been identified as producing one of the Top 200 Social Media Blogs. The only problem – he can’t spell to save his life. Even worse, he doesn’t care. Once, because I do truly like him a lot, I mentioned that he had made some horrific errors and suggested he correct them and then send me a link, so that I could be a good friend and publicize the link and, wow, maybe even send him some business. You know what he wrote back? “Sorry, I know I can’t spell, but it’s really not that big of a deal.”
And you know what? I never, ever linked to his blog again. You see, I’m a bit old-fashioned (apparently) and accuracy DOES matter. Knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re” is a big deal to me and using them appropriately matters. Knowing how to spell words like “supposed” and “iced tea” and “used” — all of which often have a “d” on the end that was apparently never taught in English books others grew up reading – well, it matters to me. I was raised in a business world where our mantra was and is that every single thing you do, every bit of work product you generate, you should be proud enough of it to sign your name on it, frame it and hang it on the wall. And if that makes me an old geezer, so be it. And, while this Baby Boomer and other Boomers I know can certainly learn a few things from our young Gen Y friends, methinks that you guys can learn a few things from us as well. Like caring enough to get it right. And paying enough attention to your work product to even know the difference.
My clients hire me because I’m a pain in the neck. I scrutinize every single piece of collateral material or blog content or newsletter content, website or print ad – it matters not what it is, my eagle eye is trained on every single thing we produce. I’m the final checkpoint, the person who says “this is the best it can possibly be, it is perfect, let’s roll” and, as a result it’s my neck on the line. My neck, my reputation, my credibility. Call me silly, but those things matter to me.
I absolutely understand a writer making an occasional mistake. That’s NOT what this post is about. The occasional typo or use error is certainly going to happen from time to time. But there’s a difference between a mistake slipping in every now and then and flat out not knowing the difference between right and wrong. Like not knowing that when you use the phrase “Baby Boomers” that you don’t use an apostrophe in the word “Boomer’s” is just plain wrong. Writing a whole blog post about the concept of parallelism and MISSPELLING the word that is the subject of the post – unconscionable. Using a phrase like “your right” and not knowing how ridiculously wrong it is is … well, I hate to be harsh, but it’s really unforgiveable.
I’m really not a nutcase. But, I am a huge believer in knowing what you do do well and knowing what you don’t – and having the cajones to admit that. Me, I don’t do numbers – that’s why I have an accountant. I don’t do SEO, that’s why I have a business partner who is a genius at SEO. And I don’t program DVD players, my iPod or mess with anything of that nature – I cajole one of my kids into doing it for me. So if your excuse is that you can’t spell and you don’t want to learn, wise up and hire a damn proofreader. In the big scheme of things, isn’t your credibility worth at least that?
Here’s the lesson: if the best work product you can produce when you’re marketing yourself (oh, and isn’t that what a blog essentially does – market YOU?) … is sloppy, then what kind of work product can your clients expect you to produce for them? And do you think they buy the justification that “Oh, that’s just a blog post, spelling has never been my strong point, and I just don’t think it really matters.” Do you really think that sells? If you do, I’ve got some totally terrific swampland in Florida that I’d like to talk with you about – right away! Oh, and you can whiten your teeth while we talk about it.