Have you sent out an important email or document for work, only to discover there was a major typo or misstatement that you didn’t find until it was too late? How many more times might you have done it that you’re not aware of?
Any communication that gets sent outside a company – aside from short, simple emails – needs to have a second set of eyes on it. Who do you trust in your organization to catch even the smallest errors?
Every business has customers, and it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you regularly put your foot in your mouth when you communicate with them. Every company, even solo practitioners, needs to have a dedicated person to review and edit introductory emails, sales and promotional materials, business plans and the like before an external audience sees it.
Who should that person be? It can be anyone inside your organization – part time, full time, employee or contractor. It can be a vice president or a secretary, as long as they possess the qualities of a good editor.
They need to be through in their work, unafraid of telling someone they’re wrong, have a good knowledge of your business’ products or services and be well-versed in your industry’s lingo. And you need to give them the power to slow down the communication process to make sure what’s being sent out is 100 percent accurate.
It may seem logical to put someone in the editor’s role that’s heavily involved in your business’ day-to-day operations. While that can work, sometimes the best editor is the one looking at a document for the first time. If you select a company editor that’s involved in drafting the document to be reviewed, they will probably have seen the document several times before they give it a final edit. Sometimes it’s better to choose someone who isn’t involved in the drafting process until the very end, so they’re reviewing a document that have no preconceived notions about it.
When you’ve selected a person to serve as your company’s editor, sit down with them and go over your company’s norms for communications. If your business doesn’t have a specific writing style, it may be best to task the editor with becoming well-versed in Associated Press (AP) style — which is widely used in media and business writing.
What if your business is a solo practice or your current workforce is already overloaded? There are plenty of freelance communication professionals who can help your company come across as an industry leader to all your external audiences.