I like math. It’s always been easy for me, and it’s a consistent, dependable subject. Just because I got As in math in high school and college, however, doesn’t mean I do my own taxes. There are so many other aspects to taxes – my business, our investments, being my aunt’s caregiver – that it would take me weeks to successfully complete them (and I don’t have a few weeks to spare). I could, of course, hurry through them and turn them in, but what if I got something wrong? I don’t want to produce a poor-quality product just to save a few bucks. It might be okay for a little while, but it won’t be when the auditor shows up.
More people need to think this way about their business writing.
Take a look at this photo. Did you know that there are different writing standards (and reference books) for different types of publication? Not even your dictionary is universal. If you’re writing a book, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is your guide, but when writing articles, use Webster’s New World Collect Dictionary. Then there’s The Chicago Manual of Style (more than 1,000 pages) for book writers, but you’ll want to refer to The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style if you’re writing for a Christian publisher. There’s a lot to know, and it costs a lot of money to invest in these books (not to mention the time it takes to familiarize yourself with them).
More people need to think about their brochures, press releases, and websites the same way they think about their taxes. Just because I passed high school math doesn’t mean I should do my own taxes. Likewise, just because you passed high school English – even if you earned the highest grade and won a county-wide short story contest – doesn’t mean you should publish your own copy. Before anyone ever meets you, they will judge you based on what they’ve read about you. If you didn’t have your materials professionally written (or at least edited), what message are they receiving?
As you can see, there are literally books full of information that help writers and editors produce top-quality copy for their clients. The initial investment may seem a bit scary, but don’t look at the present – consider the future. Once something is printed, it’s out there for everyone to see. Don’t confuse people – you didn’t really cook your family and dog. Instead, hire a professional, and get it right the first time.