How did we miss that?

In yesterday’s Sunday Times I spotted something strange on page 10 of the Sport section. In an article about Manchester City, previewing their match against Chelsea tonight, there was meant to be a helpful graphic to inform readers when and where they could see the game on TV. As this is a standard graphic device used throughout the paper they sensibly use a placeholder and drop the details in later – or not as the image above shows!
I’m not gloating, I’ve had my share of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, e-mails copied and sent before changes were made and as some of you may have noticed the odd blog post with an error or two.
So how do we minimise or even eliminate these mistakes, some of which can prove very expensive? When creating our own content or helping clients with their marketing implementation, we recommend the following 5 tips:
Get a fresh pair of eyes – when we read something we have written, we can easily see what we expect to see, rather than what we actually wrote. Someone who has never seen the text before is much more likely to spot our errors.
Beware the expert – in a similar way, people who already understand (and especially if they agree) with what we are trying to communicate are less likely to dwell on each word and punctuation mark. If you can find someone who is fresh to the subject or your point of view, they will need to read your work carefully to understand it.
Read it backwards – if you can’t get someone else to review it, then try reading it backwards. It won’t help you spot grammatical mistakes, but the process of reading backwards forces us to concentrate more on each word and makes us more likely to spot spelling mistakes
Be methodical – I find I spot more errors if I print my content (apologies to the environment) rather than review it on screen and I then work through the document shading in each area as I review it. You can choose your own method, but it does pay to have one and stick to it. The worst copy-checking is usually when we are in a hurry!
Spell check – whatever you are creating, it usually takes little time to cut and paste into an application with a built in spell check. They aren’t perfect, but do add another level of checking, especially if like me you have certain words that your fingers always seem to type incorrectly!
Oh, and if you’re still wondering I think the football match is on Sky Sports 1, kick off at 8pm, but I haven’t checked!