I’m a writer. That used to mean that people would tell me I’d get no work as an adult, but with the advent of content marketing and its widespread implementation, that’s inaccurate.
But there are a lot of people that didn’t go through journalism school or work at news outlets with eagle-eyed editors that made sure you knew about and learned from your writing mistakes.
Those editors taught me a lot about writing, and that still doesn’t stop typos from creeping into my writing. We’re human. When humans type words, errors will slip through as a result.
In the spirit of gaffs, in this April 1 post, we aren’t kidding around with the seriousness of these typos. What’s interesting is that to find B2B-related typos, someone must intentionally memorialize them. Otherwise, most typos are corrected and slip away in today’s editable digital realm.
That’s either the brand who made them (owning up to their mistake) or someone else on the internet that helpfully pointed them out.
Let’s look at some examples of B2B typos:
HubSpot is a good sport. They’ve created a list of the worst brand typos. At the bottom of the list, they included an error from one of their social media posts.
I bet if you look at a list of where errors were most commonly found in content, it would be in social media posts.
Most content goes through an editor/approval process, and often social media posts don’t have that same standard. That’s the lesson we could take away from this. Even if you don’t have a human check your post, be sure to use a tool like Grammarly to ensure your short but sweet social media posts don’t have errors that chase away readers.
@B2B_Rocks Psst #typo 😉 pic.twitter.com/hkfJjxiNv9
— Laure Joumier (@LaureJoumier) March 28, 2019
Whenever I see errors like this, I try to imagine the cause behind them.
In this case, the clue for where this error comes from lies in:
That’s a German word for “required,” and I think the fact that this word isn’t in English and there’s a typo in the title is from the same cause.
The original form was likely not in English. It was probably not subject to the same scrutiny as the primary language’s form. Additionally, it’s likely challenging to edit in your non-native language.
I know I personally couldn’t do it.
Why don’t you just Googe it?
I think everyone who has drawn out a word has done this once. Like on a school project or a sign you make for your room.
Tattoo artists do it occasionally. It’s a common error. It’s almost nice to see that Googe – I mean Google – isn’t immune to making typos too.
Should we embrace our typos?
Those were a few examples of not-too-bad typos with decent reasoning behind them.
In my search for typos, I came across a couple different schools of thought. The first is familiar.
Too many B2B websites conflict with the company message. If you're selling simplicity and ease of use, don't make your website hard to use. If you are selling competence (isn't everyone?), typos and dead links work against you. #startup #webdev #designthinking pic.twitter.com/v9wSHuIrtf
— RolloutSF (@rolloutsf) December 21, 2017
This is the classic view of typos. How can you sell yourself as credible, competent, and trustworthy if there are errors in your writing?
But it happens. To both brands and even newspapers. I’ve seen similar incidents to the one above from student newspapers all the way up to the NYT (who has a special section for corrections in their paper).
Okay, so the gist here is that while typos can hurt credibility, they also are the natural consequence of humans writing content. And while AI has taken a crack at content writing, I think writers will continue to be integral to good content marketing.
Then there’s another opinion.
Typos increase engagement. Embrace them.
— Thorin (@Thorin) May 20, 2018
So, yes, technically a typo in a piece of content might increase the number of comments, clicks, etc.
But it’s usually because they’re searching for an outlet to go, “HA! You made a mistake.” I don’t think typos are the end of the world (unless they’re in a critical or evergreen location). But I don’t think you want the kind of engagement that comes as a result of a typo.
Where is okay for a typo to creep in?
Typos won’t ruin you, but depending on where they are, they might kill a campaign. For content that has a short life, a typo might hurt or harm engagement, but it won’t reflect in a major way on your brand.
That means typos in these places (while not ideal) aren’t the worst:
- Weekly blog posts
- Most social media posts
The reason these are okay (again, not desired) is because they usually have a short lifespan in their promotion and exposure to the public.
They’re also editable, which is key. Except for Twitter posts, which are either correct, deleted, or the typo remains for all of time, lost in the feed.
When aren’t typos okay?
Places where they affect your buyer’s journey in a meaningful way.
Not for the first time, I recently saw an "About Us" page on a huge #marketing company that is exclusively B2B with typos and broken elements. Fail.
— Steve Plimmer (@StevePlimmer) August 31, 2018
This tweet is a great example of that. Content that is integral to your brand and what it does should have a multitude of edit phases.
It’s not a good look to have your About Me page content filled with errors.
Another place where typos aren’t okay is on printed or downloadable content. The first is worse than the second, but just barely.
Typo in b2b marketing book. "Some marketers love stringing words together in clever ways and those who dread writing." What?
— Scott Wilson (@ScottTheWilson) July 19, 2015
You can’t take back a printed book. And for downloadable content, you can’t take back the initial copies that people have already downloaded.
@momentologyNews FYI you have a typo in your Content Marketing Guide. 3rd section, second part, on B2B, says "contated" instead of contacted
— Mike Wilton (@mwilton13) February 26, 2015
The worst part about this last one is that the brand made a couple of typos in their response. Yikes.
Typos happen. No one wants them to happen, and there are types of content you want to avoid making typos in. When people get a copy of your content or access a critical page, they’ll have a low tolerance for errors. Check those well.
In some places, the errors are less critical to your brand’s credibility. You should still make every effort to ensure that that doesn’t happen.
And even when it does, just edit and forget it. Mistakes happen, and usually, it won’t make or break your brand.
Let us know what you think:
- What’s the worst typo you’ve made?
- What was the impact?
- How do you prevent typos?