I do a lot of editing work for a client – he sends me a few blog posts a week and I correct them for spelling and grammatical errors as well as make sure that what he’s trying to say actually makes sense. Why am I sharing this with you? Well – it took me a LONG time to convince him that my services were needed.
You see, he thought that his errors were “cute” and they actually made his content “more like him”. But to me, as someone from the “outside looking in”, his grammar mistakes, missed words and spelling errors just made him look uneducated and much less than the expert in the field that I knew him to be. They mattered because most people that read his blog posts were complete strangers – and strangers don’t cut you any slack when you make obvious mistakes. Maybe one or two – but when everything you put out there on your site is riddled with mistakes it takes away from your message.
So, before you ever hit “Publish” on that blog post or “Send” on that email, keep these steps in mind (write them down into a checklist to make it easier to remember).
1) Proofread EVERYTHING – I think that proofreading something you wrote yourself is one of the hardest things to do. You brain automatically corrects the mistakes or fills in the blanks, so it’s easier for you to overlook what may be obvious mistakes to someone else. So the BEST way to proofread is to have someone else read what you wrote – and even better if they have the time to talk to you about what they think they just read. Did they get the message you were hoping to convey or did you miss the mark? If you can’t find anyone to help you, then set aside your post for at least 12 hours, or better yet a day or two. Then pick it up fresh and read it slowly aloud. Reading your words out loud will help you catch mistakes. Also, if you could record as you’re reading you can then listen to yourself and see if your message came across.
2) Check Every Link – Click on every link in your post or email before you send it out. Even the links in your footer – the ones that never change (at least you don’t think they do). Maybe you recently restructured your website and renamed your About Us link but forgot to update your email footer. Checking your outbound links every time will catch issues like this before it’s too late. It’s also helpful if you have more than one person handling website/blogging/emailing/marketing/customer service duties. Check and double check – because you know the one time you forget or decide not to check will be the time that the link is broken. (Side Note: If you’re linking to a site other than your own, always include target=”_blank” in the link HTML so that the outbound link opens a new tab and doesn’t take your hard-earned visitors away from your site.)
3) Double Check Your Grammar – Not sure whether you need to use “your” or “you’re”? Here’s a great guide for the Most Common Grammar Mistakes.
Yes, spelling matters. Yes, grammar matters. Yes, quality matters. There is a lot of pressure out there to create content to successfully promote your business – but your content will reflect your business, so make sure that easily corrected issues don’t bring it down.