Just read a terrific blog post. A unique, yet relevant, topic, fast to consume yet long enough to pack a quality punch. But, it had a typo. That misspelled word is reminding me about what matters in quality content. There’s a flurry of content out there, so shouldn’t your content be perfect, the very best of class?
OK, in a perfect world, we can all agree there are no typos. That said, in this imperfect world, I’ll overlook the rare typo if I get what matters most from your content:
• Topics that matter
• Unique perspectives
• Depth of content balanced with fast-to-consume pieces
• Consistency of delivery
• Variety in formats
Many of our client content teams come from the journalism world; that land seemingly beyond typos with infinite proofreading steps. Where typos are anathema to poor quality. But, one part of keeping the quality of your content high is getting it out there quickly and often.
Proofreading is everyone’s job
The volume and quality of information available is nothing less than a mandate to speed up the idea-to-screen process. Your content moves through lots of hands, from writer to editor to designer to site manager, each an opportunity to catch a pesky typo.
Am I suggesting letting it fly and not worrying about typos is OK? No. I am suggesting that there’s only so much time in the day and being creative with your content topics, styles, formats is more important than an occasional typo making it to the screen. Heck, you can catch it and fix it later, right?
If I had to decide where to invest time and effort, I would steal a bit from proofing time to invest here:
• More content (not quantity over quality, mind you)
• More repurposing
• More variety in content format
• Deeper understanding of the audience
• A/B testing
No brown M&Ms®
David Lee Roth of Van Halen fame was first hailed as an egomaniac, but later as a genius, for insisting upon a clause in their contract that there be a bowl of M&Ms backstage with all brown M&Ms removed. But, that clause was their test of whether the contract was adhered to. If there were brown M&Ms perhaps the required redundant safety systems were not properly attended to, so brown M&Ms in the bowl meant, ‘damn, we gotta double check everything now.’
Are typos brown M&Ms?
Do typos signify the same quality concerns? I don’t think so, not any longer. I have seen typos on forbes.com, hubspot.com, hbr.org and, eh-hem, bussolati.com. And you’ve likely seen them too in content you appreciate and trust. It is hard to let go of training and past experience to avoid typos at all costs, but you might be sacrificing some critical aspects of quality that more directly relate to reader engagement. Maybe you are slower from idea to screen or maybe you take less chances? You tell me which is worse, those or a misspelling?
May your 2014 be typo free, but more than that may your content dreams come true.
By Monica Bussolati