Write it Right
The Importance of Using Proper Grammar in All of Your Marketing Materials
How many times have you noticed a grammar mistake in a Facebook post? In a tweet? In a blog post?
When the error comes from a friend, perhaps you heckle them a little bit in the comments, but then you scroll on. However, when that grammar mistake comes from a business — one that differentiates itself as an expert in its respective industry — the consequences can be more detrimental.
Simple grammatical errors, as difficult to avoid as they may be, can chip away at a company’s trustworthiness — misspelling by misspelling, comma splice by comma splice.
Every sentence, every word and every punctuation mark exists in your content for a reason: to support your brand message, which has been carefully thought out to encapsulate the essence of your story. And your story is important — how it is conveyed matters. But, unfortunately, even small mistakes can detract from its integrity.
Grammar Matters Matter
Customers want to know that you are thoughtful, detail-oriented and attentive. These qualities should apply to your content as well. Writing that contains errors and wasn’t carefully reviewed may give your audience an impression of negligence.
No matter the nature of your business — whether you have a dental practice, a construction firm or a retail store — utilizing correct grammar is important because it shows that you care. And that is perhaps the most important message you can send your audience.
Prove You’re the Expert
The act of marketing is based on portraying a company or organization as better than its competitors. Whether you take pride in your customer service, product quality, industry experience or all of the above, part of demonstrating your expertise to an audience is showing that you know what you’re talking about.
No matter how diligently researched or accurate your content is, distracting misspellings or run-on sentences can affect your credibility. Try enhancing your extensive knowledge with the cherries on top that are properly used hyphens, colons and commas.
Clean Up Your Digital Presence
You might think that it is more important to focus your editing efforts on print materials, which can’t be edited once they are distributed into the world, rather than digital pieces, which can be revised to your heart’s content at any time. However, everything you put online, from your social media posts to website content to blog posts, should be edited carefully before publishing since they have the potential to be read by more eyes than your tangible print marketing. Even if you realize five minutes after posting that you spelled a word wrong, people could see said error before you have the chance to fix it. You’ll save yourself time and unnecessary work by proofreading now, rather than having to go back to the post in the future.
It’s Okay to Not Be the Best Writer
You don’t have to be the next Virginia Woolf or Charles Dickens to create content for your business. All you need is someone you can trust to proofread and edit your work. Whether that person be a copywriter, your former English teacher or that friend who critiques your Facebook posts, have them review what you’ve created and be open to constructive criticism. Don’t be offended if they have suggestions to streamline your phrasing or tighten up your punctuation. You’re the expert in your field — let this editor be the expert in theirs.
You Made a Mistake — Now What?
Grammar mistakes happen to even the most diligent word nerds among us, no matter how many eyes proof the work. (Have you proofed this blog post? Did we miss anything?) But rest assured — an incorrect semi-colon will not the end of the world bring.
You can take two approaches to fixing a mistake: own up to it and apologize, or hope that no one notices and move on. The first option takes courage — it’s not easy to admit to others that you made a mistake, but they will respect you for it. Depending on the nature of the mistake, if it fits your brand voice, you could even make a comical statement about it.
If the mistake is in a piece you published online, fix it as soon as you can. Some people may have seen the error already, but ‘tis better to have edited too late than never to have edited at all. Made an error on a printed piece? Reprint the piece with the corrections and redistribute. If appropriate, distribute a statement recognizing and apologizing for the mistake.
Most importantly, take a deep breath and forgive yourself — you aren’t the only company to have ever made a grammar mistake. Make efforts to keep your future written marketing as error-free as possible and continue to work on what matters most: creating a great experience for your customers.
Make Your Words Count
Every piece of content you create, from the shortest tweet to the most extensive website or brochure, is direct communication between yourself and a potential customer. It’s a sales pitch, and you want it to be impactful. Take advantage of the opportunity and put your best — impeccably spelled and punctuated — words forward.