Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3 ways to fix mistakes in your (oops--published!) content

Today I noticed on my Facebook business page that a typo appeared in the “About” section. And it showed up right after I mentioned my editing services. Doh!

That’s not a very good testament for my work. However, I’m human, and humans make mistakes. Still, I know I should have been more careful. I’m kind of embarrassed about this, and I really hope nobody noticed (but I’ll bet somebody, somewhere did).

So what do you do when you find an error in your content after it’s been published? The good news is that it’s not the end of the world, and a few options for damage control are available.

Fix it (asap!) and ignore it.
Sometimes there really isn’t any point in drawing attention to the mistake, especially if it’s a minor one. If you notice a typo or misspelling in one of your blog posts or on your landing page, just get in there as soon as you can and fix it. Then shush—nobody really needs to know.

Making a change is harder if an error occurs in printed materials. Then you can either live with it or order a reprint. First, consider the type of error. If it’s a minor typo that won’t mislead your audience, you may choose to live with it until the piece needs to be updated. If it’s a major goof, however, like a misprint in price, address, or phone number, you may want to go ahead and order a corrected version. 

Admit the mistake and provide a correction.
I’ve seen folks do this often—mostly if a link is broken or information is inaccurate. It happens a lot in ezines, and is usually followed up right away by an email that provides the correct information.

When do you call attention to a mistake? I recommend doing this only if the meaning of the text might be misinterpreted, or as noted above, if a link is broken or a source’s name is misspelled. Admitting an error doesn’t make you look weak or unprofessional. Rather, it shows you’ve taken steps to correct the problem, and that you care enough to do so!

Use your story to help others.
That’s kinda what I’m doing now. I guess the general moral is one I already preach (um, again, please remember that human element!): having another set of eyes read over your words—before hitting “publish”—is the absolute best way to prevent costly mistakes!

Now, where’s my husband? I need him to review this blog post….

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