Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Get Help Finding Mistakes

I make mistakes, but to make sure I don't take them public too often, I get help. I often ask a colleague to review what I write for typos but also for omissions, because it is very, very easy to exclude important information when you're writing about a topic you know well.

I saw a newspaper ad last week that would have benefited from another pair of eyes checking it over before it ran. The advertisement announcing the grand opening of a cupcake bakery caught my eye even though I can't eat cupcakes because of my medical diet (I am limited to gluten-free bakeries or ... sigh ... baking my own little treats) because a box of pretty and tasty treats can make a nice thank you gift.

The ad included the bakery's hours, telephone number, and Web site URL, but no address. Hmm.... Now they're making it hard for me to stop by and check them out, right? At least they included the URL -- that would help me get the location. But that added another challenge: The store name is not the name used for the Web site, and the Web site URL is one letter different from another Web site. This is so complicated that we need bullet points:
  • The new store name is (I am going generic here so I don't embarrass anybody): XYZ Cupcakery.
  • The new store's URL is xyzcupcake.com, not xyzcupcakery.com.
  • XYZ Cupcakes, a bakery in another state, has its site at xyzcupcakes.com, which is where I landed because my brain goes plural automatically, to "cupcakes," not "cupcake."
I went to a lot of trouble to get the location of this store because I was going to blog about it, but most people simply won't jump through this many hoops. If the store's owner had asked somebody who wasn't connected to the business -- somebody who didn't have all the answers already -- to look at the ad, that person would have said, "It doesn't have your address" and "Hey, why doesn't your URL match your store name? XYZCupcakery.com is available -- you'd better grab it." You have to wonder how much business this new store lost by omitting such an important detail.

It's a reminder to me and a lesson for others: Ask somebody to proofread any written communication that is going to be read by the public. It can save you time and money in the long run.

No comments: