Your published content whether it is your blog, website or your email correspondence creates an impression on your readers. Have you seen comments on posts criticizing spelling or grammatical errors? So many feel that we can write as we would talk or take notes. That may be acceptable with a close friend or someone you work with in a casual setting, but for people who are not in your profession it leaves them out of the conversation or worse. They are unimpressed with your knowledge and professionalism so they move on to a competitor who they feel has better writing skills.
Technology has created a new space for people to meet and find businesses. It is impersonal in that you don't meet face to face or even have a phone conversation. Your business and professional image is presented through content on your website and social profiles and posts. Online and inbound marketing techniques provide the ability to quickly get your message out to promote and develop business leads. Speed hasn't diminished the need to be accurate. Spelling matters. grammar matters. These can be the difference between appearing professional and an authority to an amateur or wannabe.
Here are some of the content pit falls to look out for:
- Right: "I write copy," Jerry said.
- Wrong: "I write copy", Jerry said.
Putting a comma in the wrong place is trivial to some. And I know people who are grammar enthusiasts and see every error. Even if the reader can't site the punctuation rule, the error is a subtle indicator that the content is less professional. With the tools available to check spelling and grammar, it is worth the effort to create the best impression by checking and fixing any errors before publishing or sending.
Misspelled and Mis-capitalized Proper Nouns
Do you know the rules for capitalization or when to use an apostrophe? I am asked regularly whether a plural word needs one.
- "Apple's": This example contains an apostrophe because it is possessive, not plural. It is capitalized because it is a proper name.
- "apples": This example is not capitalized because it is not a proper noun and does not require an apostrophe because it is plural.
Microsoft Word has an extensive dictionary of proper nouns. Word will highlight an error with a red squiggly underline. New companies are started daily so software programs and dictionaries aren't keeping up. Google provide the most current information and it is worth a quick 10-second search to check capitalization.
Double Spacing after Periods
I have never understood why people put a double space after periods. It is rumored that the rule originated in typing classes. It is not required and looks terrible in online content. Do a search for double spaces and replace with a single space for better looking content or just stop the habit. There isn't a grammar rule requiring double space after a period.
Hire An Editor
If you find you still make errors and are concerned with the impression your writing presents then have someone proof read your writing. Every office has someone who is best at grammar, punctuation and spelling, so use their skill to put your best 'content' foot forward. If that isn't possible, hire an editor or a company that provides proofreading. Yes, there are companies that provide this service.
And now a fun fact:
Writing 'Blog' When You Mean 'Blog Post'
This is a 'blog' post or article. A 'blog' is an online platform for publishing content or articles. I have made this same mistake telling people that we publish a 'blog'. Often people refer to the activity as 'blogging'. I would like to play fortune teller and predict that the use of 'blog' will evolve to include individual aricles it its definition. Currently there are those that will point out when it i used inaccurately.
What common mistakes do your see frequently in online blog posts? Share them here.