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Does your company need a copy desk?

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

If you work in pharmaceuticals, food service or just about any field other than traditional or online publishing, that headline might sound like a strange question. But as businesses produce increasingly more content of their own, they open themselves up to greater risks for embarrassment. Typos, malapropisms, rash reactions and just plain bad ideas can haunt a company for a long time. Maybe a cool, level-headed voice in the background is what your organization needs to stay out of trouble.

Social networks tend to place a high value on quick reaction times and informal, off-the-cuff comments. You need both of those qualities if you’re going to produce engaging content for your audience. But quick doesn’t have to mean reckless; informal doesn’t have to mean ill-considered.

Every company is different. A one-person consulting shop has different needs than a multinational corporation. But while I can’t give you ironclad rules to live by in this instance, I can give you a few things to think about that may help you decide which approach makes the most sense for your company.

Keep your business separate. Don’t use the same system for publishing work tweets, blog posts, etc. that you use for publishing personal updates. Having a separate interface gives you a plethora of visual cues that you’re about to send the post to the wrong audience — and can save you a lot of heartache.

Use the buddy system. If you don’t have an editor, then you can use a partner. Think about using a client such as CoTweet to assign potential tweets to a co-worker or boss for review before they go out. Your buddy can act as a screen against ill-informed comments, tasteless jokes and other things said in the heat of the moment.

Look for professional help. The longer a piece of content is, the more important it is to have someone look it over. This post is relatively short, but it will still get a thorough inspection from SmartBrief’s copy desk, because so many things can go wrong in the space of 400 words. Blog posts can live forever, so make sure you’re not pushing out content laden with typos or confusing sentences that could embarrass your brand. Even if you’re an excellent writer, it can be difficult to catch mistakes in your own writing. If you can’t justify hiring someone full time, you can find people willing to do piecemeal work for reasonable rates on services such as LivePerson. The price of paying someone to look at your post is certainly going to be less costly than the embarrassment of realizing too late that you’ve misspelled your CEO’s name.