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Mistakes can create opportunities

As communicators, we get a bevy of opportunities to, well, communicate. Email, websites, podcasts, webinars, social media, postcards, magazines, books — plus more — and they all have their place.


Print has certainly established itself as a valuable means for communicating and education. The challenge — and the fear of it — is that once it’s printed, it’s considered written in stone. Make a mistake and there’s no edit/delete option, which is why so many people shy away from it, especially when an error goes viral.




Such is the case recently with a formatting error of a magazine advertisement for a printing trade conference: the designer, and everyone else in the chain, omitted the all-important binding space needed for when a full-spread 2-page ad opens. It wasn’t long before the error was outed on LinkedIn — followed by a series of print industry experts condemning the mistake.


We feel that there are at least three important lessons to be learned:

  1. Bad publicity is good publicity. The advertised conference, which is aptly promoted as “the event that’s designed to ‘Bring the industry together,’” must have seen a spike in online visitors, which hopefully translates to new registrants, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. As the experts and commentators implored in the commentary, help is needed, and we should only hope that those who condemned the mistake will support the conference, lest we see it happen again.

  2. Offer solutions. In a situation where the publisher, and the entire supply chain, created a print mistake, it’s best to err on the side of support versus condemnation, especially in a professional setting like LinkedIn. If there’s an opportunity to give professional advice, offer it. If you see a challenge, present a solution. Maybe there’s even a product or service that has yet to be created that can guarantee mishaps like these from happening again. Just remember, mistakes can open doors and create opportunities. Remember Wite-Out? If you are unable to offer solutions, find someone who can. If all else fails, and you don’t have anything nice to say, you know the saying… don’t say anything at all.

  3. Build your brand. With each LinkedIn post and comment, you are building your brand. Keep it positive, especially when addressing difficult topics. Curate your LinkedIn account as a source for your expert advice and the occasional words of inspiration. Share news and accolades. Give tips and helpful resources for the business world you live in. Advocate for the things that are important to you, and let your followers know some of the charitable work you’re involved with. Always keep it positive. When in doubt, see #2.