It Pays to Proofread. Even if You’re a Scammer.

Even those trying to scam people could benefit from a good writer/editor. Check out this email that showed up in my mailbox this morning. It’s reeking with credibility – NOT! (bold text added by me.)

Dear CHARTER Subscriber

This mail is to inform all our  CHARTER users that we will be maintaining and upgrading our Data Base now.As a Subscriber you are thereby adviceto send the below information:

Username:

Password:

Service Address Zip Code:

To avoid deleting your valid account.You are adviceto produce the above

information as fast as possible to aviod deactivation of your Charter account.

Yeah, I’ll get right on that. While I suppose I – and other potential victims – should be glad that these false messages are so easily spotted, this type of copy is becoming more and more widespread.

As the demand for content grows (while the budgets to pay for quality content diminishes), many small business owners and independent consultants either attempt to write copy themselves or hire one of many companies or individuals that churn out blog posts, web copy, news releases – you name it – for rates that, I understand, can be very tempting to cash-strapped entrepreneurs.

However, the old adage is true – “you get what you pay for.”

The end result – credibility suffers. While I hope that most business people don’t publish material as bad as the email above, I do know that there is significant room for improvement out there. That’s one of the reasons that I don’t believe that citizen journalists will ever take the place of real journalists – or that good writers will ever fall out of demand.

Your business/personal credibility is valuable. It represents your brand. There are a myriad of little things that impact your brand on a daily basis. The goal is to get all of those little things working in concert to send the message you wish to send – generally a message that you are a credible, quality organization or individual.

I’ll admit my bias – I’m a writer and a former director of corporate communications in some very large organizations that were imminently concerned about their credibility.

What’s it worth to hire a professional to help you with your writing and editing needs? I can’t tell you – you need to determine that for yourself. I can tell you with certainty, though, that if your web site, blogs, tweets, e-newsletters or news releases are filled with errors it will have an impact on your success.

P.S. Just in case they weren’t already aware, I did notify Charter of my receipt of this message.

P.P.S. Consumer advice – even if an email message you receive is well written and appears credible never, never, never, NEVER give out your personal information without verifying the source of the request.

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