Have you ever read a story in a magazine or looked at an advertisement and noticed a spelling or grammatical error? Did the error impact your opinion of the product or company?
I stop reading the moment I find an error. In my opinion, if the company does not take the time to thoroughly proofread their content they do not value excellence. I don’t know about you, but I only want to spend my money on the best products and services available.
Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s say you are driving on the Interstate and see a billboard for a car wash. The photo on the billboard shows a brilliantly bright and shiny clean sports car with a splash of mud down the length of the car. Obviously, the owners of that car wash do not pay attention to details and do not provide excellent service. To me, a writing error is that glaring and disappointing.
That said, here are three crucial things you should double check before sending out your content to ensure it is error free.
Spelling and Grammar
The spell check provided by most word processing programs is not perfect, but it’s a great start. Be sure to pay close attention as the program goes through its check though, because sometimes it assumes you meant “ensure” when you really meant “insure.”
After the program check is complete, take the time to do your own thorough examination. Make sure first and last names are spelled correctly (which the program will not know), and read the content as if you are a consumer reading it for the first time. Be as critical of yourself as possible. Double check your punctuation. Don’t try to write like a Pulitzer prize winner. If you don’t know how to properly use a semicolon, don’t use one.
Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty recommends using the auto-correct feature in your word processing program.
“For example, I always type ‘pateint’ instead of ‘patient.’ Always. But with the auto-correct feature in my word-processing software, I can tell the computer that every time I type ‘pateint’ it should insert ‘patient.’ Problem solved,” Fogarty said.
Numbers And Statistics
This check is not as much about your writing skills, but an error related to numbers and statistics will make consumers think you are unintelligent, lazy or that you don’t care about accuracy. Incorrect data will result in lost trust from customers.
Go back to the original source of the data and double check that the numbers match what you put in your writing. If possible, include a link to the data so that readers can see the original numbers for themselves.
Hyperlinks are a great way to reference content that backs up what you are writing about. You can connect your products and services to expertise that consumers might find helpful or that might even convince them to become a loyal customer. But, it is vital that the links you include actually go to the appropriate pages.
Before I send publish any content, I click on every link to make sure it functions properly.
One last recommendation is that you always have someone else review everything you write before you send it out. Another person will have fresher eyes than you because you have been looking at it since you typed the very first word and might accidentally overlook an error.
With the short attention spans of today’s consumers, it is absolutely vital that anything your company shares is well written and error free. Written words demonstrate your attention to detail
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