Monday, November 29, 2010

Always ask for an edit (1)

When we write for publication, we should always ask for an edit, because an editor can prevent us from embarrassing ourselves.

Ideally the editor would be a professional. Failing that, the editor should be a friend or colleague who is a perceptive reader and who is willing to be candid.

What an editor can catch

In a recent article titled “Dealing With The Bottom Feeders,” a marketing consultant advises his readers to

“…pay attention to what I call USPs (Unique Selling Positions).”

A reader with a generous temperament may think:

I suppose the kindest interpretation of those words is that this consultant does know that advertisers were applying the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition 50 years ago, and therefore he is not claiming it was his concept. But he has developed some variant of the Unique Selling Proposition, which he calls “Unique Selling Positions.” If so, he’s just being careless when he fails to explain all this to us.

The second-kindest interpretation is that he actually thinks he developed and named what the world knows as “Unique Selling Proposition,” and he thinks he named it “Unique Selling Positions.” In this case, he’s being fatuous.

And the third-kindest interpretation is that he is trying to fool us about who developed what. In which case, as much as I regret to think it, he’s being dishonest.

The Takeaway: Like it or not, when we write for publication our readers judge us by our writing. We should always ask for an edit, to prevent us from looking careless, fatuous or dishonest.

See disclaimer.

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