If you are blogging then you are publishing your writing.
Every time you share an article, send a tweet or provide a status update on social networks you have created something that is published for the world to see.
I have been prompted to write this post because I cannot believe how much unintelligible garbage there is out there on public display via social media channels, and I don’t just mean abbreviated words that are made to fit into Twitter updates. I can just about understand using the texting mentality of using ‘gr8′ and ‘thx’ etc, to shorten a discussion into 140 characters.
What I mean is: poor grammar, poorly executed thoughts, presentation and spelling mistakes.
I spend considerable time on-line researching news and articles that are relevant to my line of business, and I have come across so many poor samples of writing that have been attributed to many self-titled ‘on-line content managers’ & social media managers. Some of them even profess to proofread and check content before being submitted to websites, etc.
Yet I cannot believe the incorrect punctuation, spelling mistakes & bad grammar that has crept into blogs all over the web, and especially by social media managers who really should know better.
A website or blog is often the first place that you go to learn a little bit more about the individual or company. So if your online content has many spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, then why should your visitors take you seriously? Now add in the spelling mistakes in your promotional tweets and updates and suddenly you look quite uneducated. However, there is an upside for the reader because we can then forward your badly written articles to other people to laugh at also.
You may have a great story to tell or news to convey, but if it’s ill thought out, muddled and full of extra long sentences then it’s really hard to read and I will go elsewhere for my subject matter. This is especially important if you’ve gone to the time and effort to promote your post publicly on Facebook or Twitter.
Remember: What goes on the web stays on the web!
Newspaper editors and journalists are often told to write so that the average 14 year old can understand it. This doesn’t mean that you have to make your content look like that a less than average 14 year old has written it!
Some of my very favourites that I come across on a regular basis are ‘there’ ‘they’re’ & their’ and its & it’s. But the biggest and most popular mistake that really does make you look like you need to go back to school. YOUR & YOU’RE!
I do apologise for the very shouty nature of that last sentence, but it looks really unprofessional & slapdash if you just throw written content out to the world without checking it. The fact that you may spellcheck your work doesn’t cut it either. It doesn’t know the difference between their or there. But everyone who is reading your blog post notices and it’s embarrassing, especially if you describe yourself as a social media manager or online content manager.
Read everything you have written out loud
If you can’t get anyone else to proofread your content then read out what you are about to publish. This will show mistakes if you have muddled the point of your post or have missed out using the correct punctuation. If it’s hard to read, then re-write it!
If you are writing on behalf of your company or representing a business, then please do check the content that you are putting out on the web. Anything of poor quality will just diminish your credibility in the eyes of your readers and the company that you represent.
So remember the next time you publish lines such as; ‘If your not to busy then check out there new Video’ just think how this looks to your readers.
(and don’t forget the comma before “then” after you’ve corrected it.)
Thanks to @MaryKayMann for proofreading this for me.