Letting grammar mistakes live in published works online is one way to delegitimize a brand. With a little practice and know-how, though, grammar mistakes are an easy fix. And trust us, they need to be fixed! Keeping these mistakes around is a quick way to sabotage your content marketing efforts.
Let’s take a look at content-wrecking grammar mistakes and how they can be avoided.
- It’s vs Its: You might think apostrophes are too small to be a big deal, but it’s a big deal because it’s grammar! The mistake of misusing “it’s” vs. “its” is like nails on a chalkboard for grammar sticklers and onlookers. “It’s” is a contraction of the two words “it is”. So, unless what you’re actually trying to say is “it is…” don’t use this contraction form. Instead, use “its” to show possession. For example, “its social pages”, “its Instagram feed is whack” and so on. Be sure to double check writing before publishing for this one, as it’s easily unnoticed.
- Quotation Marks: Quotation marks are often overused and abused. Don’t be that guy or girl! Treat quotations right and use them responsibly. Here’s how. Name dropping the title of a book or directly quoting an author? These are both times that call for the use of quotation marks. Titles of published works, direct citations of published works and quotes are times that writers will want to ensure they’re using quotation marks. One exception to using quotations for titles of published works is on the Internet when linking to blog posts. When the blog post title is included as natural SEO, it’s not necessary to include quotation marks. However, if the exact name of that blog post were being written out and directly referenced, quotations should be included.
- Exclamation Points: For the love of grammar, please don’t overuse exclamation points!!!!!!! [Just like that.] Use too many exclamations and content goes from useful and intriguing to loud and abrasive. Are you yelling at your audience right now? Exclamation points should be used sparingly and strictly for emphasis. Dropping exclamation points at the end of every sentence reduces the significance of grammar’s punctual emphasizer. Exclamation points should be far and few between. Mostly, stick to periods. Period.
- Affect or Effect: The effect of getting struck by lightning: an affected sense of grammar. See what we did there? Affect and effect are commonly mixed up words. The distinction between the two is simple: use affect when something is being influenced or changed, and effect when talking about the result. So, using the lightning example above, the lightning is affecting the brain and the effect is bad grammar. And the moral is don’t get struck by lightning.
- Overusing Buzzwords: Keeping published works simple to read is key to making sure that it does in fact get read and shared. With that said, stuffing a blog with clichéd buzzwords for the sake of SEO or worse, pure ignorance, is sure to backfire. Avoid overused buzzwords like synergy and crowdsourcing, which makes content seem stuffy, dry, boring and unreadable. Mix it up a bit and write as naturally as you possibly can! This will help in the long term, not only with readers, but with SERPs since Google is being updated to give more credit to sites that aren’t overstuffed with buzzwords and come across as written by a real breathing human.
Having good grammar in published work online requires patience to edit for mistakes and an understanding of what grammar mistakes really look like. Make sure grammar is tight in articles, blogs, press releases and so on, otherwise all that word work will be for naught. How can people take your ideas seriously when you can’t present them properly?