The Dangers of Spell Check in a B2B World

I lov1123441_98665034e typos — particularly those that aren’t my own. You never used to see them. Newspapers and book publishers kept legions of proofreaders on hand because, once published, a mistake would never go away.

In a Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn world, most people worry more about an unflattering photo living forever on the Internet than a misplaced comma or misspelled word.

What Versus How

Social media communications are judged more by the content and the immediacy of any given message rather than its punctuation. When somebody writes: “Its bad, its very, very bad,” only English teachers are going to worry about the missing apostrophe in “it’s”. Everyone else will be wondering what sort of disaster is impending.

Baby Boomers still care about the difference. It’s probably an excuse to congratulate themselves on how well educated they are rather than a true inability to comprehend what a Millennial or Gen Xer means when saying: “It happened on accident.” (I hear “on accident” so often that I no longer think it’s happening by accident — “on accident” just seems to be winning the usage war.)

That aside, it’s still a good idea in any sort of B2B context to do some proofreading — and by that I mean printing out the page and having it read by someone other than yourself. (It’s very hard to spot your own errors. You almost always see what you intended to write, rather what’s actually there.)

Harmless but Funny 

Anyone who’s ever worked for NPR has probably learned the hard way to do a “find/replace for the word “pubic”. Spell check alone won’t alert you if you’ve accidentally typed National Pubic Radio.

HR professionals likewise should run checks on the word “manger”. Hiring manger sounds like a breeding pool for executives instead of the person you should contact about a job posting.

Some Typos are More Costly

When marketing to a professional audience, you want your promotional copy to be as flawless as the products you’re promising to deliver. In a B2B context, quality control is critical from the integrity of your products to the spelling and grammar used everywhere from your collateral and website to your emails and invoices.

Oddly enough, invoices and emails are the most subject to scrutiny. Banks are telling their treasury clients that typos and misspellings are one of the signs that their emails may have been hacked. Many accounts payable departments are now required to question things they might have ignored in the past.

Go ahead and misspell texts to your friends — but take that extra minute to proofread your B2B communications.

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