In today’s ‘be first’ digital environment, there’s perpetual pressure to write at breakneck speed in order to publish an endless stream of reactive content.
But unless you’re lucky enough to have a crack team of eagle-eyed editors at your disposal, this leads to the type of grammar and spelling mistakes that get people talking about your brand for all the wrong reasons.
Since you don’t want to ruin your online reputation, here are five reasons your business needs to banish bad writing
1. It creates a crappy first impression
Building a credible online brand can take years, but just a few glaring spelling or grammar mistakes undermine all of this hard graft faster than a mole munching rhododendron roots.
According to a Missouri University of Science and Technology eye-tracking study, it takes website visitors less than two-tenths of a second to form a general first impression of your brand and 2.6 seconds for their eyes to settle on the area of the webpage that most influences that first impression.
But that potential sweet spot turns sour if it happens to contain a copywriting clanger of Trumpian proportions, instantly paints a tawdry picture of your products and services and totally torpedoes your conversion rate.
2. It turns off customers
It’s easy to underestimate how off-putting potential customers find typo-riddled text.
However, in a survey of 1,029 people by Global Lingo, 74% said that they tend to notice spelling and grammar mistakes on a website – while 59% said they wouldn’t use a company with these type of errors on its website or marketing material.
With so much fierce competition online, consumers have plenty of choice. So if your copy isn’t up to scratch, you’re fighting a losing battle from the beginning, devaluing your brand and driving customers straight into the arms of competitors.
3. It leads to miscommunication
Well-written content allows you to clearly convince customers that you have what it takes to solve a particular problem.
This rolling conversation relies on developing an empathic brand voice, tone and style which instinctively makes target customers feel comfortable and gets them onside with your offering.
But small mistakes such as misplaced apostrophes seriously undermine your efforts and might mean you completely miss the mark. As the popular meme states, ‘grammar is the difference between knowing your sh*t and knowing you’re sh*t’ – an important distinction indeed.
4. Limits growth
While the internet provides many methods for communicating with customers, the written word prevails.
For example, in a survey of 528 people across a variety of business roles by comms expert Laura Brown, 69.5% said business writing was very important.
So when the writing on your website, in emails, on social media and in direct mail is dire, you’re losing out on the outstanding opportunity the internet offers to compete at the highest level and seriously limiting your growth potential.
5. It’s downright distracting
One of the biggest problems with substandard copy is that it’s distracting– when you’re reading a poorly written piece of text, the intended message is buried beneath sloppy syntax and mangled metaphors.
And again, busy customers won’t waste time trying to translate your garbled gobbledygook – they’ll simply move on to something clearer and more concise from a competitor.
The quality of your written content is crucial to the success of your business and it’s something that you have complete control over.
But when it comes to establishing an online presence, many companies come a cropper because they don’t see writing as a distinct discipline and choose to write their own content, often with calamitous results.
So if you’re not trained to write for the web, seek professional help – because good writing is the first and last word in customer connection.