Whether writing or editing content, brand marketers are responsible for building a voice for their brand and making sure it is credible and trusted. Three simple mistakes however, can erode the credibility of your content. Luckily a few preventative measures can eliminate these mistakes and make sure your content hits home every time.
1: Grammar and Spelling Errors
Grammar and spelling mistakes are both the easiest mistake to make, and the easiest to fix. With fewer and fewer editors looking at blogs and other content before it is posted, grammar and spelling mistakes are becoming common place. With automated spell check, we do see fewer “thier” instead of “their” problems, but often content is riddled with simple mistakes like “or” instead of “of” or grammar errors spellcheckers don’t catch. Thankfully there are many ways to catch these errors before they go live for all to see.
- Read the post out loud to yourself—you’ll be more likely to catch repeated words and minor misspellings.
- Have an editor or friend screen your posts specifically looking for common mistakes. (This article from education.com has a nice chart of commonly confused words, or if you prefer watching an entertaining video, try this video on common spelling and grammar mistakes from Mental Floss)
- Education.com also suggests: proofreading slower than your normal reading speed, waiting at least 20 minutes before proofreading, reading backward focusing on each word rather than the context and using a blank sheet of paper to help you focus on one line at a time.
2: Complicated Explanations
Sure you may want to explain all the numbers that show what a great deal your product is, or you may need to explain something very technical to your readers, but if you don’t explain it in a simple, easy to digest way, your readers will get lost and the explanation will all be for naught.
- Boil down complicated processes for readers, especially if it is something they are not familiar with. (Here, techrepublic.com gives 10 ways to explain things more effectively)
- Take advantage of graphics to help readers visualize the point you are trying to make (Here the benchmark blog gives some ways to use graphics more effectively)
3: Unfocused Posts
We have all seen the blog posts that ramble on and on, as we scroll down looking for either the bottom of the page or the point of the post. These are the posts and blogs that don’t know who they are writing for or why they are writing. Having focused content starts with having a focused web page, but even the most focused of pages can get a little lost.
- Don’t go off on too many tangents; stay focused and always keep your audience in mind.
- Keep your purpose (both your main site purpose and your individual post purpose) in mind as you write. Anything that doesn’t contribute to your main point and purpose needs to find a new home.
- Use Jeff Goins’exercises to focus your whole blog, or a single post.
- Review these 12 tips for focusing your posts and making them easier to read.
Catch and correct these three simple mistakes in your content and you’ll be on your way to articles that really make an impact.
Do you see these mistakes in your content? How do you fix them? Is there anything you would add to the list?