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Trump, “covfefe” and the importance of proofreading

by | Jun 5, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

Last week, our Commander in Chief sent out a confusing tweet that included a glaring typo. The internet took the tweet by storm and thus, “covfefe” was born.

Trump's covfefe tweet

While The Donald is no stranger to Twitter typos, this one brought on a massive wave of reactions, ranging from jokes to anger. Teespring.com even bought the covfefe domain name in order to sell covfefe branded items! While the internet is defining the new term, us in the PR industry are studying this important lesson on proofreading.

Creating content is a big part of public relations, and copywriters must be diligent in their proofing processes. At Amplify Relations, our copywriters will often send their work to two or three people to read and revise for grammatical errors before the client ever sees the first draft. This helps us spot any errors that could be damaging to a brand.

But what if content is released with a mistake or typo? This is where crisis management comes into play. If a typo does slip through, it’s always wise to acknowledge the mistake, especially if your audience already has. If it’s a silly mistake, it’s okay to laugh along with your audience. This is what President Trump did, when after deleting the original “covfefe” tweet, he tweeted “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”

Another option is to apologize for the mistake and move on. Showing that your brand or public figure is human and can sometimes make mistakes will resonate with your audience.

Of course, the best form of crisis communications comes in crisis preparation. Your first line of defense should be copy editing for errors, comprehensiveness and clarity. As long as you are thoroughly proofreading, typos shouldn’t be a concern; but mistakes can still happen. Just take a deep breath, clear your head, and COVFEFE. You got this!

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Alli Williams
Alli Williams is the PR Manager at Amplify Relations, a full service advertising, public relations and government affairs agency.

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