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You’re bound to make a mistake every once in a while. After all, you’re only human. This will, inevitably, prove true in your writing, as well. Maybe you hit “publish” before proofreading and you misspelled someone’s name, or you posted the wrong date for an event. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you may have wondered how to update blog posts with the right information and with the right tact.
Most major newspapers have policies for handling corrections, like these guidelines from the Washington Post. You probably don’t need such a robust policy for your blog, but it’s a good idea to have a protocol in place in case you ever need to publish a correction.
Here are a few best practices on how to update blog posts after a correction.
Sure, it would be easy to fix an error on your blog and never mention it to your audience. But for readers who already spotted the mistake, a silent approach could make it look like you’re hiding something or trying to sneak something past them, which can hurt your credibility and reputation.
To maintain trust with your readers, be transparent and honest when you make a mistake. Fix the error, then include a note at the top or the bottom of the post to acknowledge the correction.
When the time comes to write a correction, the American Press Institute suggests clearly labeling the correction and explicitly stating both the mistake and the correct information. Don’t change the original time stamp on your blog post; just indicate when you made the correction.
For example, if you published an interview on your blog and you misstated the interviewee’s job title, your correction might look like this:
Correction: In the original blog post published on October 4, 2019, we mistakenly referred to Jane Jones as the chief technology officer at Company ABC. In fact, her title is chief innovation officer. We updated the post to fix our mistake on October 10. Apologies for the oversight!
Any time you make a factual error, don’t sweep it under the rug — these mistakes require a formal correction.
But if you hit “publish” five minutes ago and you immediately catch a comma splice or other small typo, a full-blown correction probably isn’t necessary. Make the fix as soon as possible, but don’t worry about providing a public apology for a small grammatical error.
A correction is appropriate for fixing smaller factual errors. But for bigger mistakes, a retraction may be necessary. For example, if you write a post accusing one of your competitors of unethical hiring practices and you learn that your claims are inaccurate, this warrants a bigger statement from you and a full retraction — not just a quick correction added to the end of the original post.
Don’t lose sleep over the occasional correction — even the pros make mistakes. But if you commit to thorough editing practices and hold yourself to high editorial standards, you’ll make fewer mistakes, which means fewer corrections.