My blog post was inspired by Kami Huyse’s post “When a Typo is the Difference between Life and Death.” Kami discussed how a simple typo resulted in a young man being hospitalized with a bullet in his liver. I commented on her blog admitting that I really didn’t think about the serious ramifications of a typo outside of my field. In healthcare, law enforcement and many other industries a typo means more than just your image or reputation. It could be someone’s future or their life.
However, for the PR professional, the typo also represents credibility. I recently dealt with a situation with a professional who read my company’s blog. We wrote a post on various brands and she noted that our assessment of the Saladworks brand would have been a lot more credible if we didn’t have two typos in the post. When I first read her email, I cringed. I hate typos, but they happen. I immediately wrote her back and explained that I would advise my partner who wrote the blog, and that she can probably tell that, “We have a very short review process, our blog is truly transparent.” I also mentioned, “To err is human.”
I wasn’t sure how she was going to respond. But I received a second email with a very understanding tone. As a communications professional, she didn’t mean to be critical, it’s her passion. I thanked her and then sent her one of my books. Now, in this case, the typo made me a new friend/contact and someone who will check back on our blog. But, this isn’t always the case. As PR and marketing professionals, you still have to be very careful to check and recheck your work. Perhaps in the case of this social media typo, my fellow professional understood the nature of the situation, but if this were a client communication, I don’t think it would have been the same happy outcome.
The bottom line is that there is something to be said about credibility and clean, clear and typo free communication (traditional journalism or social media). If it’s your profession, you should take pride in your communication and continue to work hard to be typo free. For me, credibility is one of those highly valued traits. It’s right up there with integrity. Once you’ve earned it, you wouldn’t want it taken away as a result of an error and an unforgiving community.