From a content creation standpoint, I'm not sure there is a better feeling than capping off a blog article with the final punctuation mark.
You lean back in your desk chair, breathe a sigh of relief, and scroll up and down a bit as you admire your post like a proud parent.
On the surface it looks great. You've incorporated a few visuals, the spacing is just right, and your headers are both clear and concise. But what's going on beyond the surface?
While a post may look ready to publish at first glance, it's likely that there are some spelling and grammar errors waiting to attack your content's credibility.
Be aware that your content often serves as the first line of communication between you and a potential customer. Is your bad grammar costing you opportunities?
We've explained how grammar has the ability to negatively impact your bottom line, along with four tips to help you avoid these mishaps in the future.
It Makes People Think Twice
One of the easiest ways to discount your business’ credibility is to fall victim to spelling errors and poor grammar. Built-in spell check features aren’t always reliable, and many of us don’t have access to an in-house editor, which is why it is important to read, and reread all of your content.
A study of 1700 adult online dates found that 43% of users consider bad grammar decidedly unattractive and 35% think good grammar is appealing. (Source: Colour Works)
In other words, there's no denying that first impressions matter. If your content is plagued by poor grammar, it's likely that people will think twice about the quality of your products or services.
By presenting readers with sub par content, you are putting your business at risk of losing valuable word-of-mouth marketing. Or even worse, you'll be subject to negative word-of-mouth attention.
It Dilutes Your Message
Messy grammar and misspelled words are likely to slow your reader down and make them lose interest.
According to online entrepreneur Charles Duncomb, "when you sell or communicate on the internet, 99% of the time it is done by the written word." (Source: BBC News)
With this in mind, consider how a silly mistake can water down your ability to communicate a strong sales pitch.
Bad grammar can denounce the subject matter of your content, and ultimately distract your reader. All it takes is one their vs. there mix-up to detract from your business' credibility and overall message.
At worst, a spelling error or grammatical mistake can change the meaning of your content entirely, leaving your readers both confused and misinformed.
Learn from my mistakes. Last week I published a blog post that contained the line:
"Preceding the 2013 Wimbledon tennis tournament, Evian's UK branch launched a cleaver marketing campaign rooted in user-generated content."
Cleaver? Evian had a marketing campaign for a hatchet?
By reading your writing backwards you disrupt the natural flow of things, and find yourself forced to read word by word. This approach forces you to comprehend each word individually, which makes it easier to identify misspelled words and grammatical errors.
Employ a fresh pair of eyes:
Many people find it difficult to identify personal error. I am one of them.
It's easy to overlook your own mistakes because you've become so accustomed to spelling something a particular way that it may not appear wrong. A second opinion can be used to pick up on the mistakes you've missed.
Read it aloud:
Some errors are more easily heard. One of the most effective proofreading techniques you can employ is reading your writing aloud, as it forces you to listen.
While it's easy to blow over grammatical mistakes when you are re-reading a piece, reading it aloud makes it easier to identify repetition, run on sentences, or misused words.
Distancing yourself from your work after you finish writing can improve your ability to spot mistakes when you return to it.
Giving yourself time to collect your thoughts before you begin the revision process will make it easier to pinpoint weak spots and poor wording.
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About Carly Stec
Carly Stec is a Senior Content Strategist and former Marketing Blog Editor at HubSpot. Prior to HubSpot, she got her start here, at IMPACT, as the Content Marketing Manager from September 2013 - March 2015. Carly has a strong affinity for New Haven pizza (#TeamModern) and anything Kate Spade. She currently lives in Boston with her fiddle-leaf fig, Boyd Tinsley.