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When writing content – whether that content is a short, social media post or blog article, or a full-length feature article – form is just as important as the content itself.

Proper spelling and grammar can dictate whether your content is received well or not. It’s not uncommon for readers to start reading an article or social media post that initially grabbed their attention but change their mind upon encountering spelling and grammar errors. It’s very easy for a reader’s attention to get transferred away from the content and towards the errors. There are entire websites devoted to unfortunate spelling errors. All of a sudden the content you created with the goal of engaging your audience is engaging them in a completely different way than originally intended.

 

Imagine the impression you leave on prospects when a sales sheet or brochure contains these mistakes. That person who was interested in your product or service could very easily rule you out as a solution. If you don’t care enough to make sure your own marketing material, social media post or content is professional looking, then how can you expect your customer to think it is?

 

Writing isn’t for everyone. Some people can write very good content but aren’t great at spelling and grammar. Then there are people who aren’t necessarily great writers but have the ability to edit well. Identifying these people within your organization and teaming them up is a step in the right direction. If you don’t have the resources available to accomplish this, one solution would be to outsource your content marketing or, at the very least, hire a professional proofreader or editor. This ensures that your content portrays you in the very best light to your audience.

 

For those without the support team or budget to use either of the services I mentioned, here are two tips that may help you improve the impression your writing leaves upon your readers:

 

  1. Spelling: Most programs have spellcheck functionality. You can’t rely only on this to correct your spelling. “Their” and “there” are both correctly spelled, but I’m sure that you’re aware that they are not interchangeable. Some programs have grammar checks as well. While those are helpful, they’re not perfect. The easiest way to spell and to grammar check any content is to read it through carefully, multiple times, aloud. Once satisfied that it is correct, have someone else read it. A second set of eyes can typically catch mistakes that you may have made.
     
  2. Grammar – Good grammar and sentence structure are just as important as spelling. Content that reads well and transitions properly between paragraphs and thoughts is important to keep your readers’ interest. What makes sense to you may confuse your reader. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Don’t try to be William Faulkner and create a 1,287-word, run-on sentence. There aren’t very many writers that can pull that off effectively without English teachers around the world cringing. Make your content flow and easy to read. You’ll find that more readers will stick around.

 

Publishing content riddled with spelling and grammar errors is counter-productive. Your content is a reflection of you and your company. Potential readers may bypass your article entirely, or cease reading it, if they encounter too many mistakes. This then defeats the purpose of the content as it can hurt the effectiveness of any campaign and even your overall professional image. 

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Tags: article, automotive, blog, content, editing, education, media, professional, social, spelling, More…writing

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Comment by Brian Bennington on July 5, 2014 at 7:56pm

Sincerest salutations to you, Sara, for such an extremely basic, yet invaluably important blog!  I noticed it posted on June 24th and I'm wondering why I just received it?  Well, better late than never.  It's unfortunate how little value people place on their own spelling and grammar, and how they "just don't have time" to get their writing "proofed."  The inevitable truth that people really do notice typos, improper grammar, etc. and how negatively it impacts the readers' image of the writer is lost on them.  Too many people on too many keyboards just don't grasp that their carelessness actually makes them look uneducated, unconcern, inconsistent, insincere, etc.  (They probably just want to get out of the office that much quicker so they can do something more constructive like maybe get another tattoo....)

I've asked you before to write about "educating the uneducated" on the principles of good composition and this is a perfect start!  (Of note, I don't want anyone to get down on me about tattoos, but I just read this is "National Tattoo Week" which is undoubtedly important to many.  In regards to your blog's comments, this is a great example how an "on flesh" misspelling, which can and does happen, can seriously effect someone's personal appearance.  As an explanation for their popularity, I've always maintained that, "If you can't make a mark on the world, you can always make one on your own body!")  

A note to Mike Maggs:  So you're saying that if you "get any material that is grammatically correct, you assume the person or company is not 'up to par' to perform whatever it is they are trying to sell?"  Really? 

Comment by Mike Maggs on July 1, 2014 at 6:14am

I agree wholeheartedly with the thoughts put forth here.  If I get any material that is grammatically correct, I assume the person or company is not up to par to perform whatever it is they are trying to sell.

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on July 1, 2014 at 4:21am

But why do we accept this when speaking?

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