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  • Writer's picturelaurabhalligan

Speed vs. Accuracy

Updated: Nov 6, 2018

I love my clients. And, I count on the fact that they're excited about communications.

Usually, we begin with a request to develop or write a newsletter, blog, website or other marketing tool. I get to work and the client is thrilled by a beautiful, intuitive design, my quick turnaround, and the ease of distribution. And, then, it happens. Speed eventually trumps accuracy and quality.

I'm not exactly a dinosaur, but when I began my career, copy was king. The process was slower (yes, my first work was done on a Smith-Corona), but there was honor in the written word. Experienced writers easily earned over $150 per hour, and clients happily deferred to wordsmiths who produced factually accurate, grammatically sound copy that sang.

Fast forward to today; digital communications has dumbed down discourse. Discussion has been reduced to catchphrases, memes and jargon. Anyone who writes in Twitter or Instagram slang thinks they can write anything. Gone is is the appreciation for clarity and subtle persuasion.

In the mad rush to post or send as soon as possible, many clients are willing to forgo the formats, schedules and processes I've created for them. Basic fact checking, style, consistency and elegance often are pushed to the side to save 30 minutes. While I'm well aware of the speed now required for successful marketing and publicity, the devil still is in the details. Call me old school, but if your copy has grammar or formatting errors, it's worthless. If you can't take the time to attractively and accurately promote yourself, what kind of work do you do for customers? Sloppy doesn't sell.

The fact is, accuracy and experience make speed. You're not going to write it faster or better than a pro. In an age when good writers are making 25 cents a word, there are clients who understand we can do something they can't, but instead of being satisfied with specialized talent at a bargain price, they undo what we do by rushing the process.

Yes, speed is critical when you have time-sensitive news that directly affects your bottom line, like new products and program expansions. And, it's then, more than ever, you need to rely on a writer to quickly tell the story.

But, an announcement on the next committee meeting, an office party or opine about your world can wait a bit. The internal newsletter doesn't need to go out days before schedule. You should have your editor check that last-minute copy before hitting send. Maybe someone should factcheck that claim your making. Is it really OK to leave it out if you don't know how to say it? Take a breath. A writer will solve the issue, sometimes in minutes. Whether your pressed for time, frustrated or anxious, don't let your emotions undermine your overall marketing strategy.

When it comes to communications, every effort matters. Quality counts. Don't delegate marketing to the closest employee; she or he has other things to do. Call your writer.

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