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Let’s say your car has been in a fender-bender. You head for the nearest auto body shop, where a mechanic proudly shows you a recently finished job. The paint on one door doesn’t match the rest of the car; the front bumper is sagging; the headlights are crooked and there’s a pool of antifreeze forming on the floor. “We just finished fixing up this beauty!” he exclaims with a grin before handing you a grease-stained contract.

Would you trust that shop to fix up your daily driver, or would you speed off to the next garage? We’re betting you’d make tracks faster than a NASCAR champ.

Decision-makers react the same way when they spot mistakes in marketing materials, which are often their first impression of your business. Errors are a red flag — and an instant way to lose a potential client’s trust. We recently received an emailed pitch with this glaring gaffe: Does your company need an Paid Media Campaign? It went straight into the trash bin.

Whether your goal is making a sale or just raising brand awareness, you need to ensure any material you’re presenting to the public is error-free. Why would someone trust you to work on their important project if you can’t even complete your own work without mistakes?

To ensure perfect prose, follow these four easy steps

  • DO proofread everything, from emails, blog posts and social media posts to flyers, brochures and e-books.
  • DON’T shortchange editing — even when you’re in a hurry. That’s precisely when you’re likely to make a mistake.
  • DO read what you’ve written out loud. This makes you slow down, which helps you to catch those devilish typos.
  • DON’T proofread on a computer screen. Print out the text, proof it on paper and fewer errors will get by.

See if you can match each “Mistake” song title with the artist who recorded it.

Song TitleArtist
1. My Mistake (Was to Love You)A. Rihanna
2. Same Ol’ MistakesB. Ariana Grande
3. Weight of My MistakesC. Willie Nelson
4. Best MistakeD. Seal
5. Biggest MistakeE. Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross
6. I Made A MistakeF. Sheryl Crow
7. It’s a MistakeG. Jack Johnson
8. My Favorite MistakeH. Men at Work
9. Red Wine, Mistakes, MythologyI. The Rolling Stones
Click here for answers
Song TitleArtist
1. My Mistake (Was to Love You)– Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross
2. Same Ol’ Mistakes– Rihanna
3. Weight of My Mistakes– Seal
4. Best Mistake– Ariana Grande
5. Biggest Mistake– The Rolling Stones
6. I Made A Mistake– Willie Nelson
7. It’s a Mistake– Men at Work
8. My Favorite Mistake– Sheryl Crow
9. Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology– Jack Johnson