September 22, 2014

We Except All Writing Accept Bad Writing

At least they don't offer editing services at DQ.

At All Media Freelance, the parent company of FWD, we always recommend that all freelancers—and this goes for bloggers, copywriters, photographers, small businesses–scope out the competition. Conducting industry-specific recon just makes good business sense. You’ll save money, time, and precious resources when you learn from the mistakes of those who came before you.

Recently, on one of our fact-finding missions, checking out various business websites, we came across a site offering copywriting and editing services. Within moments, we noticed a glaring error – especially troubling considering the services the site claims to offer – copywriting and editing.

This editing business, which prides itself on its ‘eye for detail’, elected to use the word ‘except’ when they should have used ‘accept’. We couldn’t help but take exception to this—careful proofreading would have caught what may have been a simple typo. One thing potential clients know for sure:  these editors don’t check their own work; so, how can I be certain they’ll check mine?  NEXT!

Seriously? Is it too much to ask that a self-proclaimed editor [slash] copywriter proofread the content she wrote for her own business website, advertising her skills? Apparently so. Things just went from bad to worse. Further exploration revealed limited knowledge of proper comma and apostrophe usage and other related issues.

Sam and Amy Speak, “Nobody’s Perfect”

Samantha explains, “As a freelance journalist and copywriter, I’ve made my share of stupid mistakes and still do. If I’m commenting on another person’s post or article and feel rushed, I often notice one or more mechanical errors in my (sadly) already submitted comment. I confess that, on occasion, we’ve overlooked an error in a couple of our posts, but we always go back and correct it, once discovered.”

Amy adds, “And if you know us, you know we’d even elect to arrive late to a meeting with the renowned Brian Clark (who doesn’t use a pen name, by the way), just to make it right.”

Says Samantha, “I’ll never forget one of my most noteworthy errata. I decided to write a comment early in the morning before I had put my contacts on. Apparently the post had something in it that made me desperate to comment right at that moment. FAIL! Later that morning, I went back to read the post again and review my comment. I had peppered it with senseless spacing, spellings, and dubious punctuation.”

Just Do It

Just Do It – people everywhere, from avid runners to couch potatoes, recognize this famous Nike slogan. This powerful phrase inspires all types of action in people…on and off the field.

Just do it: just apply, just write, just edit. But when you do get up and move to just do it, make sure that you bring your A-Game. Prepare yourself well first. Your website is a reflection of your skills, talent, and ability – your own best advertisement – your Brand. Make it work for you rather than against you. Especially if you put yourself out there as a professional copywriter and editor for hire, you better know how to spell, punctuate, and string a sentence together – with style. If you don’t know it, perhaps “Just don’t do it” is a better policy.

Just do it right, if you're a writer.

So maybe the Nike slogan works as an inspirational mantra, literally directing runners and others to get off their butts and just do it. Yet it doesn’t quite cover it for freelance writers, editors, and copywriters. If you have mistakes, like the one appearing on the website prompting this post: “At this time, I only except checks or money orders,”  – we’d be willing to bet that you will be accepting few new clients except for those who cannot read.

Do It Right

If you have trouble with punctuation, proper sentence structures, and other mechanics of writing, take a class at your local community college. Want to jump in the fray as a freelance journalist? Take a class in journalism to learn the basics. Write for experienced freelancers as an intern and listen to their advice about how to improve and revise your work. Do this before hanging out your shingle as a freelancer.

Save your pennies and hire an experienced professional web designer to create your business site for you. If you want to write the content yourself, have a more experienced content writer proofread your work for mechanical errors, clarity, and panache.

Make Your Mark

You’ll certainly make mistakes when you first go rogue and start freelancing full-time. And you’ll likely still make some missteps even after you’re going strong with a thriving business. Take your lumps, learn from your fails, and keep improving. #makeitcount

Just do it, but just do it right.

 

Image credits: cheezeburger dot com, prettyplease dot us

 

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.

Comments

  1. Recently someone on LinkedIn (I can’t remember which group) ran an informal poll: “If you go to a web site and see a prominent error, what do you do?” A significant percentage of responders – including me – said: “Move on!” Everybody makes mistakes, but there’s no excuse for failing to have an editor, or at least another pair of eyes, check your copy for errors. Using “except” for “accept” would make me hit the close button right away. Another pet peeve is people who can’t use apostrophes correctly. On something as important as your landing page you don’t want to look careless or illiterate – or both!
    Nellie Sabin recently posted.."You’re Fat and Your Mother Dresses You Funny": What Happened to Rational Conversation?My Profile

    • Thanks for your spot-on comment, Nellie. You are preaching to the choir! Having a colleague, friend, or, simply your mom, check your work can save you from committing an egregious error and losing business as a result. & We could not agree with you more about the rampant nature of apostrophe abuse-expect to see a post about your pet peeve in the near future! We appreciate your stopping by FWD.

    • You’re so right, Nellie. I’ve seen personal sites with errors and sites selling services or products having nothing to do with writing or editing with a couple of mechanical faux pas and that doesn’t bother me. But if you’re going to put yourself out as a editor and copywriter for hire, please make sure your business site reflects that ‘eye for detail’ and other experience you claim to have. Know what I mean? And I agree on your ire for apostrophe abuse. It’s rampant and unless you’re 11 (and maybe not even then), it’s not ok.

      xo
      Samantha

  2. These articles are almost always from overseas article mills. They’re usually produced in countries with an English-speaking history where there are few native English speakers (e.g. India).

    These articles aren’t even good for SEO anymore because Google has tools to check sites for bad grammar and moves them and their links down in search rankings.
    Murray Newlands recently posted..David Spark interview: Future of Engagement Episode 4My Profile

    • Hi Murray,

      Yep, many of them do originate overseas. Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of those and it’s obvious that English is not the author’s first language. But this time, we were careful to peruse sites we knew originated here (i.e. we know of the person who actually wrote the content) and the awkward style and myriad errors really surprised us. Thanks for stopping by, Murray. Always love to hear your insight on all things involving Internet and cyber-businesses.

      Samantha

  3. Hurrah, that

    • Yes, Ronda, regardless of where you receive your education — traditionally taught or self-taught — learning proper communication skills, like writing, is essential to success.

  4. I’m reading it like, “Oh, please don’t be talking about me, please, please, please…!!!”

    Well, the shoe fits. I offer copywriting and editing, and I’ve written my own website. I’ve proofread it multiple times, but I haven’t had a second pair of eyes on it, so I live in fear of someone telling me there’s a glaring error in my promotional copy.

    This advice needed to be given, Samantha, and I’ll work on implementing it.
    Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Sell Your Business To Your Copywriter: Self Promotion For Better CopyMy Profile

  5. Amy Shoultz, PhD says:

    Shakirah! You are nothing if not a *pro*…Your self-deprecating nature is adorable–maybe it’s all part of your hustle. XO

    • Hmm… part of my hustle. I like how you think, Amy, and I ask myself that sometimes, too, but like I said, the shoe fit so well I couldn’t help but call myself out. Thanks for the kind words, ladies, we writers need ‘em. But you can’t blame me for being just a little intimidated by the PhD, can ya?
      Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Why Is “Z” Always For Zebra?My Profile

      • LOL! No, Shakirah, I don’t blame you, but Amy’s about as down to earth as they come. She’s fun and snarky, but just all soft and cuddly inside her PhD brain. Also, please keep in mind, we would NEVER “call anyone out” in a post who we knew personally as we know you. We just happened upon the site with the multiple grave errors in it. We don’t really know the gal personally, but after a glance at the blogs associated with the mistake-ridden copywriting biz site, we also saw egregious errors in almost every post, leaving us no choice but to write this for our FWD readers.

        Rest assured, if we noticed such an error on your (or any of the freelancer sites belonging to people we know), we’d send a discreet email note to alert you of the mistake, so you could change it. I’ve even written to those I didn’t know at all about errors and it’s resulted in a lasting friendship. This site and associated blogs, however, are beyond the help that a quick note can lend. It was truly amazing.

        xoxo
        Samantha

  6. A family member referred me to this website. Thank you for the resources.

    • You’re welcome and thanks for visiting. We’ll post a variety of resources, tips, and inspirational stories to inspire your creative muse each week. Hope to see you here often. xo Samantha

Trackbacks

  1. [...] you call yourself out in public like I did here, or do you send a discreet message of thanks for the [...]

  2. [...] freelance journalist caught that woman telling a blatant lie on her [...]

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge