Grammar: Your Face to the Masses

Is bad grammar undermining your content? You may not think so, but consider this – before readers even start to think about what it is you’re trying to say, they’re looking at how you say it. If the content that you put out contains grammatical errors, they’re not going to want to stick around to find out if you have a message worth reading.

Quality writing and good grammar shows your readers that you’re smart, professional, and that you have an attention to detail that will – hopefully – translate into the way that you do business. Bad grammar does just the opposite. After all, if you didn’t care enough to polish up your content, just how much care will you give your clients?

If you’re not already a grammar whiz, don’t despair. Simply avoiding some of the most common mistakes can go a long way toward polishing up your content and allow you to put your best face forward in the online realm.

Avoiding Common Grammar Mistakes

Is it “it’s” or “its?” Is it “your” or “you’re?” Most people know the difference, but they still let these simple mistakes slip into their content through inattentiveness while writing. Proofreading your content before it goes live is an easy way to ensure you don’t turn off readers with a badly placed apostrophe.

Other commonly confused words that you should be looking out for include:

  • They’re, their, and there

  • Two, too, and to

  • Affect and effect

While your – ah, wait – while you’re at it, be sure you take the time to review some of the more common punctuation errors. Brush up on those skills you learned in middle school. Does the period go inside or outside of the parentheses? (Inside.) That is, unless the words inside the parentheses are part of a sentence (such as this).

Suggested reading for any individual looking to produce content includes the AP Stylebook and classics such as Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Even if you don’t read it from cover to cover, it’s good to have around when grammar questions do arise.

 

Why Good Grammar Matters

That may seem like a lot to keep track of, and you may be asking yourself why it matters. Will the people reading your content really be that nitpicky with your grammar? How much do readers really care about the occasional misplaced comma or overused semicolon?

In truth, some of the finer points of grammar may go unnoticed by your readers…but they won’t go unnoticed by search engine algorithms. The quality of the spelling and grammar on your webpages directly affects your page rank, which means that it is well worth taking the time to review your grammar before publishing it online. Doing so can help ensure that easily avoidable errors don’t sink your page rankings before potential viewers have the chance to judge you for themselves.

Spellcheck is Never Enough!

You’ve typed up your latest blog post in Word, run spell check, and eliminated the last of those annoying, squiggly red lines. Don’t relax yet. Spellcheck can overlook some pretty big spelling and grammatical errors. After all, it’s simply not smart enough to tell the difference between “beside” and “besides” or “complement” and “compliment.”

The critical eye of a skilled editor is an essential rather than a luxury. Even the best online proofreaders can’t pick up on some of the subtleties of grammar. If you find that your grammar skills are lacking, or simply don’t have time to revise your content with a fine-tooth comb, it’s well worth your while to hire the services of an editor to get your content in tip-top, publishable shape.

Your grammar is the face you put forward in all your content marketing efforts, to visitors and search engine algorithms alike. Clean and polished content makes your visitors want to stick around and gives you the opportunity to tell them your story.

However you choose to go about perfecting the grammar in your content, whether you pore through the AP Stylebook or hire a grammar whiz to tweak your content to perfection, rest a little easier in knowing your message is not being undermined by easily remedied errors.

2018-08-17T11:12:07-05:00