WHAT SPELLCHECK CAN'T FIND, THIS CHECKLIST CAN - Strategic Brand Communications l 603-658-1600
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Achieving a great image is hard, but losing one is easy – just make a few typos. Sure, texting and social media have loosened editorial standards for marketers. But content and format errors are still credibility killers.

Unfortunately, many errors aren’t caught by automatic spell checkers or grammar plugins, so as you rush to produce fresh content on a deadline, keep this checklist handy to help you steer clear of common pitfalls – and big mistakes.

PITFALL #1: Names, Dates, Years and Numbers

Many factual errors look just fine to your computer, so flag key content like this for verification:

  • Dates, years, times, AM or PM, time zones, business hours
  • Phone numbers, addresses, web URLs
  • Prices, percentages, discounts, statistics, offer details and expiration dates
  • Names and titles of people or programs
  • Page number references, tables of contents, indexes

PITFALL #2: Brand Elements

We’ve written before about the importance of brand guidelines, so be on the lookout for critical brand features that won’t turn up in an automatic spell checker’s vocabulary:

  • Logo – placement, size, color, font, applicable trademark
  • Tagline – size, style, capitalization, punctuation, placement, applicable trademark
  • Trade names – approved spelling, capitalization, trademark
  • Legal disclaimers or disclosures
  • Affiliations and accreditations (EOE, FDIC, BBB, etc.)
  • Full legal name of company or entity, if needed

PITFALL #3: Continuity

Last-minute edits and reshuffling aren’t always reflected in the rest of your document, so check to ensure that:

  • Headings, subheads and page locations match your overview or contents page
  • Section headers and footers include the correct information
  • Alphabetical or sequential lists are ordered correctly
  • Pagination is sequential and free of numerical gaps
  • Graphics are matched with the correct caption or title
  • Directional references (at left/at right/below) are accurate

PITFALL #4: Type, Spacing & Punctuation

These sneaky details can seem invisible unless you’re looking for them:

  • Extra spaces between sentences – ensure consistent use of one space
  • Exponents, trademarks, footnotes – verify superscripting or subscripting as needed
  • Boldfaced or italicized terms – check that only desired characters are formatted
  • Abbreviations – apply uniform capitalization and punctuation practices
  • Bullets and block copy – confirm consistent indent spacing, capitalization, punctuation
  • “Smart” apostrophes and quotation marks – convert any exceptions still in default format

Our experience is that a systematic approach like this one makes it much easier to stay alert to potential errors. That’s why we maintain a proprietary 38-point checklist and detailed brand guidelines for every client, ensuring that we’ve done our due diligence. When getting it right matters – and it always matters – count on us to go the extra mile. To learn more, contact us at (603) 658-1600.