This is an excerpt from the twenty-second edition of The Write Fit, a fortnightly newsletter about writing, editing and proofreading, content marketing and good editorial practices for business, from Sarah Mitchell and Dan Hatch at Typeset.
One of the side effects to growing up in Michigan is you become totally oriented to travel by car. There’s not much public transportation and no-one makes a fuss about it because so many people depend on the automotive industry for their livelihood.
When I moved to England, I became enamoured with train travel. I took the train into London and caught the Tube as often as I could. Later, when I lived in France, I was shocked to discover that on the Paris Métro jumping the turnstile (or pushing against a paying passenger to get through for free) was a common occurrence. It was a cheap shortcut, a minor infraction. But it left me feeling a little grubby.
I know; I know. What does this have to do with writing?
Well, I get a similar grubby feeling when I see brands take shortcuts in their publishing efforts.
One key finding in our State of Writing research was business communicators lack quality control in their writing processes. We reported on a lot of different ways this is happening, but there were glaring problems right across the board when we looked at the whole cohort of respondents:
And, yet, 57 per cent of all respondents said they planned to increase the amount of content they wrote but only 30 per cent planned to increase their budget.
More content, less budget and a lack of quality control: it’s a recipe for disaster.
As more businesses rely on writing and publishing to build their brands and increase their bottom lines, it’s time those same businesses supported their writers, marketers and business communicators. It’s not good enough to expect writers to work in isolation or without the benefit of quality-control processes.
When I lived in France I found myself avoiding public transport so that I didn’t become the unintentional host of a fare-hopping passenger. I have a similar reaction to brands that don’t put sufficient editorial rigour behind their publishing efforts: they’re best avoided.
Good writing is not a solitary pursuit. It also takes editors and proofreaders to ensure everything you publish is fit for purpose and fulfilling the needs of your readers. It’s the cost of entry — and paying that small price is the best thing you can do to show your respect for your audience.
1 July 2020
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