From grammar goof to grammar gold - righting your writing

Fix your grammar

From grammar goof to grammar gold - righting your writing

In any business, content is the key to spreading your message and increasing awareness about your products or services. A blog post or a tweet may be the first time someone encounters your company. So the last thing you want is for it to be riddled with spelling and grammar errors. Nothing says unprofessional more than using the wrong “your” or using commas like they’re going out of style.

Grammarly found that professionals with fewer grammar mistakes in their LinkedIn profile received more promotions. Those with one to four promotions over a ten-year career made 45% more grammar mistakes than those with six to nine promotions. This highlights the effect spelling mishaps and writing errors can have on an individual’s - and a wider business’s - performance.

Luckily all it takes to ensure your company’s not behind the tweet that goes viral for its charmingly unaware innuendo is to show a little more caution. Here are six tips you need to produce more effective content.

Consider your readability

Whether you’re writing about quantum physics or the recent quirky food trends, you want your content to be readable. It’s less what you’re writing about, and more how you word and structure things.

Some topics are bound to be wordier than others, but try to keep sentences short and concise, and avoid long paragraphs. Subheadings are also a lifesaver for helping with readability.

Does tihs make sens?

If a hole email or Blog post was writen like this, would you trust it? We’ll take a stab in the dark and assume no, and rightly so. Often, these aren’t representative of your abilities but a result of writing in haste. It’s still not a valid excuse though.

If it’s a case of mistyping, always making time for proofreading will nip this issue right in the bud. If you’re unsure of the spelling of something, take the extra few seconds to double check.

Spelling mistakes can cause your professional image to plummet, especially if it happens regularly. But they’re also the easiest writing mistakes to rectify because all you need to do is proceed with a little more caution.

When you’ve spent hours working on a piece of writing, you struggle to pick up on little mistakes because you’re too aware of what the piece is, so will likely skim when you read. Try taking a break and then revisiting after finishing it. Take some time to distance yourself from the piece and you’ll be able to recognise any little errors much easier.

Technology may be smart, but you’re smarter

You’re an autonomous human being with at least some education under your belt. So why are you trusting a computer’s suggestions over your own instincts?  

Yes, technology is wonderful. Yes, it’s amazing how technology can make writing content so much easier. But no, technology does not always know best.   

Approach spelling and grammar suggestions from your computer with some hesitance and only use in combination with your own working knowledge. Google can be your best friend here. We’re not saying your laptop’s out to trip you up, but it doesn’t have all the facts.

To contract, or not to contract?

When writing content, it’s important to strike the correct tone for whatever audience you are speaking to. Contractions play a massive part in this. The rule here is simple: if you want a more casual tone, include contractions. If you’re after a more professional tone, avoid contractions because they’ll appear too conversational.

This is the correct word choice, write?

Despite any reputation that precedes you, an audience will be quick to judge on an incorrect word choice.

It’s best when proofreading to always look out for any incorrect word uses. You don’t want any silly mistakes to detract from whatever message you’re trying to put out there.

Everyone and their dog jokes about their/there/they’re and your/you’re, but what about affect versus effect? If you’re looking on IKEA, you won’t see them talk about a bench’s wooden affect. It makes it sound like the bench is wooden on an emotional level like it’ll never truly love you. That’s not what you want. You want a bench that has a wooden effect - it looks like wood. You get the point.

Affect is also a verb - an ‘action’ word. The bench can affect your posture; it could have a lifelong effect on your well-being.

Who’s talking?

When creating written content, think about who you want to speak. Is it an individual? If this is the case, you can get away with being more personal and using personal pronouns like ‘me’ and ‘I’. If it’s the business speaking, then refer to yourselves as the unit, using ‘we’ and ‘us’ instead.

Both of these can be used for effective content, and both can be extremely professional or more on the casual side.

When writing content for your business, you want it to be as effective as possible and present you in the best way. While mistakes are easy to make, they’re also easy to avoid if you remain aware of the most common ones and are careful to proofread whatever content you produce.

If you’re prone to mishaps like these, our consultancy service could help you improve your business content. If you have any questions or are interested in this service, or anything else we offer, get in touch on 0161 413 8418.

Alia Coster