Writing mistakes in your business content can damage your brand. That’s because your written content isn’t just a marketing tool; it’s part of your brand identity. Great content improves your standing in the eyes of your customers, but error-strewn content, be it printed or digital, will drag your reputation down.
In this month’s article we identify 7 common writing mistakes, and examine how avoiding them can help your business to:
- Showcase your expert knowledge
- Provide proof of your attention to detail
- Reassure customers
- Boost your SEO
So, what are the common writing mistakes that so many businesses make?
Spelling mistakes look sloppy and careless. That’s especially true in this digital age where automated spelling checks detect most of the errors for you (although not all of them – more of that later). Beyond the reputational damage, spelling mistakes can affect other aspects of your marketing such as SEO. When the search engine algorithms analyse your documents, one of the things they look for is keywords. So, if you misspell those keywords, your articles and web pages won’t feature in search results.
Consider a keyword from our industry – copywriting (the act of producing written content). If a web page or article misspelled it as copyrighting (a legal action that grants the creator of intellectual property exclusive rights over its use), the visibility of the page/article would be diminished. And even if the article appeared as a result under copyrighting instead, anyone who clicked on it would swiftly realise that the content was irrelevant, and would click away again. If this happened too often, the algorithms would bury the article, causing disastrous results for online visibility.
Punctuation mistakes have been blurring key messages ever since the famously un-punctuated zoo sign “eats shoots and leaves” transformed a gentle panda into a gun-slinging restaurant diner. Funny as that image is, punctuation mistakes can harm your brand image. We once walked past an organic deli who had listed their daily specials on a large board, complete with unnecessary apostrophes:
Pasty’s, Artichoke’s, Yoghurt’s, Aubergine’s, and local craft beer’s.
Not only is the possessive apostrophe incorrect (you don’t need an apostrophe for plurals), seeing the mistake listed over and over in large lettering made the business look careless and slapdash.
Much like punctuation errors and spelling mistakes, the effect of grammatical errors is twofold. Firstly, it distracts your readers and secondly, it gives the impression that your content is shoddy and poorly-written. This translates into a negative perception of your products or services.
“Try our red velvet muffins, there delicious.”
“You’re garden will look great with our artificial grass!!”
If you work in a sector where expertise and precision are key – such as dentistry – shoddy writing gives the impression that your services are equally slapdash, which can be off-putting to potential customers.
As a side note, the automated editor for our word processing programme picked up the error in the second example sentence above, but not the first. Which leads us neatly to our next writing mistake…
Word substitutions are a common mistake in business content – especially so in these days of automation. That’s because predictive tools don’t always select the right word, and when they do select the wrong word, automated spelling checks won’t necessarily pick up the mistake.
Why? Well, using the wrong word doesn’t always render your sentence nonsensical; instead, it can alter the meaning of your words entirely. Imagine if a portrait photographer posted the following caption under one of their recent baby portraits:
“We think baby Jeremiah looks adorable!”
No harm there, just a sweet and inoffensive caption.
Now imagine if the same photographers posted the following caption instead:
“We think baby Jeremiah looks adopted!”
Predictive text often substitutes adopted for adorable, and as you can see, the substitution gives the caption a totally different meaning. One that could potentially cause huge offence to the customer.
In short, the implications of word substitutions can be seriously problematic for your business. Beyond making you look careless and unprofessional, these writing mistakes can cause real damage to your customer relationships, so avoid them at all costs.
We’ll say it louder for the folk in the back….FACT CHECK YOUR CONTENT.
We shouldn’t need to say this, but: if you’re going to share information with your customers, PLEASE make sure the information is correct. Nothing damages customer trust like giving out the wrong information. In fact, it’s one of the worst writing mistakes you can make. Sometimes, factual errors can be minor, such as your website bio stating that your business opened in 1983, instead of 1984. Other times, factual errors can have more serious consequences. For example, making claims about the efficacy of a product or ingredient that simply aren’t true, or listing the wrong opening times and significantly inconveniencing your customers. Your customers make decisions based on the information you give them, and when that information is wrong, it can be hard to regain their trust.
Typesetting errors aren’t, strictly speaking, a writing mistake, but their consequences can be disastrous. Wordsmiths once proofread a diary that was due be printed and distributed to eager customers. A diary that was impeccably designed and thoughtfully laid out, with crystal-clear fonts.
Unfortunately, during the typesetting process, the dates and days from February onward had been misaligned, rendering the entire document (save the 31 days of January) useless. Had this error not been detected before printing, the entire stock of diaries would have been wasted. Our unfortunate customer would have incurred hefty additional costs in refunds and/or reprints, not to mention significant reputational damage. The moral of the story is this: invest in a professional proofreading service, especially if you supply printed products.
Effective business content isn’t just about precision and accuracy, it’s about style. To convert your ideal audience, into paying customers, you need to deliver information in a relatable way. Take the following examples:
“Yo fam, our roasted turbot with samphire mousse is peng!!”
“Behold our sumptuous repast, comprised of a triumphant combination of ingredients, not the least of which are our golden chicken nuggets, glossy ketchup sachet, and crispy fries served in our distinctively-branded cardboard container.”
Teenagers may connect with the street slang in first sentence, but if you’re trying to attract an older set of diners, the writing style is all wrong. Equally, the pretentious description in the second example is unlikely to appeal to the target audience of a local fast-food franchise. Style matters, which is why so many businesses invest in a professional copywriting service for their websites, brochures, and digital articles.
And now for the good news about writing mistakes.
You can avoid the first 6 writing mistakes by using a professional editing service. Wordsmiths offer editing and proofreading services tailored to the needs of business customers. So, why not get in touch to talk about your requirements? And if style is your issue, our experienced team of copywriters can create original SEO-friendly content from scratch. To ask about any of our services, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 07743 518681. You can also keep up with our latest news and special offers on our social accounts at Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive our articles and discounts first.