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Four Eyes Are Better Than Two

Face facts: Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well; and so is competition. Today, more than ever, success depends upon your ability to distinguish your company from its competitors. Globalization...

Written By: Tamryn Spruill

Face facts: Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well; and so is competition. Today, more than ever, success depends upon your ability to distinguish your company from its competitors. Globalization and the Internet have leveled the playing field, and both veteran industry leaders and savvy startups have honed their online presence to stay ahead of the game. In an age when online consumers average around five seconds before deciding to stay on a site or surf away, your website and promotional materials must not only surpass your competitors, but also keep your prospect engaged. Whether you designed your company's website or hired a professional to do it for you, content and presentation are crucial. Words matter. And if you think otherwise, you're wrong.

Recently, I found myself in the position of looking for a virtual assistant to manage my administrative duties. I trolled the Internet and found countless websites for virtual assistance companies with enough spelling, grammar and syntax errors to give an editor a stroke. Not only did those companies not win my business, they scared me off before I could get past their home pages.

Repulsion to hastily written copy is hardly unique to those of us in the editorial profession. A few months ago, one of my clients (not an editorial professional) fired her marketing consultant for producing work that was plagued by sloppy errors that could've been prevented by simply running spell check or proofreading. If you're not convinced that a poorly written website and sloppy promotional materials could be costing you clients or forcing prospects to ex out of your homepage and revenue stream forever, then go ahead and surf away. But if you're committed to taking a single simple step to eradicate those mistakes for good, then please read on.

I proudly confess that I submit my writing to the red pen of an editor, especially when I am short on time and unable to proofread content to my level of comfort. My editor also subjects his writing to the red pen of an editor, and so on and so forth. Professional editors, writers and proofreaders hire other editorial professionals to ensure that their written words are clear, concise and error-free. Hiring an editorial professional does not indicate a shortcoming on your part; it demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and quality. If the pros use professionals to perfect their copy, maybe it's time for you to reevaluate the quality of all the content that represents your business online and on paper.

So, is hiring an editor worth your hard-earned dollar? You will benefit from the services of an editor, writer or proofreader if:

  • Spelling, grammar and sentence construction are not your forte;
  • You are an excellent writer, but you want to make sure that all of your "t's" are crossed and all of your "i's" are dotted;
  • You don't have the time to meet your writing, editing or proofreading demands;
  • You are looking for a new "voice" or a fresh pair of eyes; or
  • You don't like writing!

A good editorial professional does not take haughty pleasure in blasting you with stinging criticism or pointing out what you did wrong. Instead, a good editor, writer or proofreader is dedicated to producing copy that:

  • Effectively communicates your company's mission, products and services;
  • Is clear, concise and error-free; and
  • Is easily readable and highly engaging.

So, fear not the editor's red pen! Hiring a second set of eyes to review your copy and make changes before it goes public is an investment in your company that will produce long returns.

Disclaimer: This article was subjected to the red pen of my editor.

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