The Importance of Good Writing
Have you ever seen brochures, websites, advertisements and newsletters that have been poorly written? Either the spelling is weak, or the sentences are badly constructed, or the key message is buried somewhere in the middle. Sometimes the message isn’t even clear. What these pieces lack is good writing.
Most of what I see has been written by highly competent professionals who are experts in their field – but not in writing. They imagine that because they are the CEO, or IT specialist or a skillful consultant that they can also turn their hand to writing. They often cannot. The net result is that what they write diminishes their message and damages their reputation.
Poor writing will sabotage a good reputation, but excellent writing will enhance it. Really good writing can sometimes create a reputation where none existed before. For example, a well turned-out brochure, crisply written and beautifully designed can help an organization craft a completely new image. Similarly, a radically new website which has an eye-catching design, a clear structure and copy that is easy to read and convincing, can make a dramatic difference to an organization. Good writing gets noticed and that’s good news for the business that the writing is supporting.
Good writing not only gains the attention of the reader, it convinces as well – which can’t be emphasized enough. The writing needs to be attractive, friendly and jargon-free, but it will fail if its underlying message is not made strongly enough. An interesting example is the writing of a case study for a company magazine or sales brochure. Unless the case study contains clear and objective arguments to show why a product or service was a success, it won’t convince the reader.
You have to strike a balance between giving too much information to the reader and too little, and between inflating the reasons for success and under-selling them. Most important of all, you have to remember all the time who your audience will be.
Understanding your audience is absolutely key to good writing. That’s where the value of good writing lies. A skilled writer will start by thinking about who they are writing for, what they want to say and the best way of putting that message across. It should be lucid, inviting and interesting. To me, that’s good writing.
Not only is good writing key, poor grammar and spelling can hurt your blog’s likeability and readability.
You Slow Down Your Reader
When I read something that has grammatical or spelling errors, it throws me off and interrupts the flow of the post.
You Mess with the Meaning of Your Post
You’re trying to convey a certain message or tell a beautiful story and it’s filled with poor grammar and/or misspelled words. For me, the writing then loses its luster. A post that’s free of errors helps keep the reader’s focus on the overall story, not individual words that are incorrect. Extra-long, run-on sentences can cause the same problems.
You Could Miss Out on Brand Opportunities
Many bloggers get hired to write for others. PR and marketing people want the brand they represent to have top-notch bloggers writing about them. You could be passed over if your blog posts are full of mistakes. Your blog is like your resume – it proves that you have certain abilities. Mind you, a random error in some of your posts just shows that you’re human.
How to Fix the Issue
As a rule, folks who use the internet have short attention spans – so the fewer grammar or spelling mistakes you make, the more likely someone will enjoy that remarkable blog post of yours.
To fix the issue, proofread your posts – more than once. If grammar and spelling are weak points, try to improve those skills.
Here are some common English language pitfalls that people make every day:
|its vs. it’s||the apostrophe disaster for plural form|
|there vs. their vs. they’re||ending sentences with a preposition|
|lose vs. loose (One with which I had a difficult time in school. I had to come up with a trick to remember which to use. Most buttons have two holes and can become loose – the double o is the button)||the dangling participle|
|whose vs. who’s||could of vs. could have|
|your vs. you’re||here vs. hear|
|write and right||irregardless vs. regardless|
|me vs. I||then vs. than|
|effect and affect||to vs. too vs. two|
|accept vs. except||were vs. where vs. we’re|
|gone vs. went|
And one that particularly grinds my gears:
I seen, I have seen, I saw, I have saw (all of which are poorly and incorrectly used where I live. No matter the generation, the misuse of these runs rampant. It drove me nuts when my kids were in school and I had to constantly correct them on these particular grammar points).
For a further explanation of these English pitfalls, you can go to Prolific Living.