Editing Your Content
Let’s face it, grammar and spelling errors occur on an almost daily basis in just about every business. However, these small mistakes can have an impact on your business. Too many of them and prospects and customers may perceive you as someone who doesn’t care about the language you use and you leave a bad “first” impression. You may be perceived as unprofessional or uneducated. It’s not an image that you want and it’s easily avoidable when you spend a few minutes to edit your content.
Beware Of Spellcheck When Editing Your Content
Editing isn’t as easy as hitting the spellcheck button on your word processing software. Your computer doesn’t know what you’re trying to say and it often doesn’t understand the context of your sentence. In short, spellcheck is often wrong. Don’t trust it completely.
1. Run Spell and Grammar Check with Caution – When you’re done with your draft, go ahead and use your word processor’s spell check. However, review each suggestion that it makes for accuracy. For example, it might want to change “Your” to “You’re” when that’s actually not the correct choice. This happens often simply because the word processor doesn’t understand the context of the sentence.
As you’re getting grammar edits from your grammar check, take the time to review the sentence. Is there a way that you can write the sentence more clearly? Good editing is about more than fixing errors, it’s also about communicating in the most effective manner possible. Sometimes less is more – saying the sentence more concisely is the best way.
2. Read It Aloud – When you’re done with spell check and grammar check it’s time for the next step. Read your piece out loud. Listen for sentences that trip you up. If they’re difficult to say, chances are they are also difficult to read. Simple, short sentences are easier to read and comprehend than long run on sentences. A good rule of thumb is average about 10 words per sentence. Sentences with more than 20 words can almost always be shortened.
3. Learn the Basics – Finally, while you certainly don’t have to go to grammar school, it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics. Grammarly.com offers instant proofreading. You simply cut and paste into their tool and they’ll tell you how you can improve it. It’s a great learning tool. As you do this, you will learn what to add or remove.
Editing Your Content May Involve Reading Other People
Keep in mind that perfect grammar isn’t always the goal. Conversational copy often breaks the rules. However, it’s important to know the rules before you try to break them. Pay attention to your grammar and edit effectively. You may be surprised at how your prospects respond and how your business grows.
The impression that your writing and signs give is really important. Think about it – if you are writing a “warning” sign, then think about how that message is conveyed. You want to present the message in the most customer friendly way possible. This is a message that can turn off a customer without you even saying a word to them.
Is there a funny story about how you once saw a bad grammar mistake and it changed your impression of someone? I’d love to hear it!