The No. 1 Way to Avoid Typos


Mitt Romney Mobile App mispelling
During election season, Mitt Romney's mobile app misspelled America. People noticed.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Editing your content is an essential step to all successful PR communications. Whether it's an email to subscribers or a simple tweet, nothing makes an organization seem less professional than errant spelling or obvious mistakes.

Howard Sholkin, director of communications and marketing programs at IDG Communications, emphasized the importance of editing during his presentation at the PR News Writing Boot Camp in Washington, D.C. He gave the following editing tips to ensure your message gets acrossand it doesn't get featured in the latest BuzzFeed list.

  • Use your ears: Read communications aloud to catch awkward wording, long sentences and other glitches that your eyes miss. Too often, a sentence that makes sense in your head will reveal itself to be much clunkier on the ears.
  • Get more than just one editor: Proof with at least two sets of eyes. We're not talking heavy editing, here—just keeping two to four eyes peeled for spelling and grammar mistakes. Some people have a keener eye for content flow, while others are better at spotting common, but egregious, errors (pubic vs. public, for example).
  • When editors are scarce, turn to tools: Sholkin directed audience members to the free resource, StoryToolz, which is designed to help authors improve their writing. The site's "readability" analysis is particularly helpful.  

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis

  • Dan Fugate

    So, the “No. 1” way is actually 3 ways?

  • Lucia Davis

    No. 1 is editing! Those are just three tips to help you along the way. (To be a better editor)

  • Lucia Davis

    Thanks for reading! I find that I have typo-specific blindness when it comes to anything I write.

  • L Aruna Dhir

    of horrors! In a PRNews Article on typos I get to read the following –
    “Editing is an essential step to all successful PR communications.” AND
    “He gave the following editing tips to ensure you get your message gets
    across—and it doesn’t get featured in the latest BuzzFeed list.” Must be
    the damn iPad!

    Apologies for playing the Devil’s Advocate. But did not wish to see any typo in such a titled piece.

    Otherwise, a good read. All the best.

    • Lucia Davis

      Good lord! Remember that typo-blindness I was talking about? Thanks for catching these L. Aruna. Fixing now!

  • Helen M. Smith

    Another tip: edit by reading copy backwards, word by word — sometimes your mind fills in the letters when reading left to right, but reading backwards you see the words independently, and spelling errors seem to jump out at you. (have used this trick for editing annual reports…)