I’m convinced that social media, smart phones and the internet have sucked the ability to write a proper sentence out of most Americans. These are amazing inventions, but they’ve led to the dumbing down of our writing skills, and as a result, we’ve forgotten even the most basic rules we were taught in elementary school. Here are five common mistakes that could inadvertently be sending the wrong message with your content marketing.
1. Forgetting the Basics
I often see people mixing up basic words like its/it’s, their/they’re/there, than/then and even one/won. We’re taught the difference between words that sound the same but are spelled differently (homophones) in elementary school, so I’m hopeful these mistakes just slip through because we’re all busy and trying to do 20 things at once. But making this mistake in your content marketing could lead people to question your professionalism, intelligence, and at the very least, your attention to detail. Click here for a quick refresher on some of the most common mistakes.
2. Using Text Speak
BTW, most PPL don’t like having to decipher texting lingo, which is creeping into business emails, social media and even marketing materials. IMHO, it makes the writer look unprofessional. So CYA and avoid them by using actual words.
3. Overusing Exclamation Points!!!!!!
This is the most incredible marketing product you will ever use! It will save you time and money!! You’ll never have to chase leads again!!! And it’s free!!!!
Get the point? Unless you want to sound like a car dealer radio ad or infomercial announcer (which I think just about everyone finds annoying) save exclamation points for things that are really, truly exciting. When used sparingly, they carry much more weight.
4. Quoting Phrases
Quotation marks are used when you are citing the exact words that someone said, and that’s pretty much it. Some writers like to put quotes around phrases they think others might be confused by, but in reality, those phrases are almost always common and easily understood. Give your readers more credit than that, and assume they’ll understand what you are saying. “Avoid” using quotation marks around “phrases” – if someone is “confused” by your amazing vocabulary, they can “look it up.”
Also, never use asterisks or single quotes as a replacement for quotation marks in your content marketing. I’m starting to see *people* replace them and it drives me absolutely *bonkers*. Single quotes should only be used if you’re quoting something within an actual quote: “They talked about it and she said, ‘Yes, that would be wonderful,’ so they moved ahead.”
5. USING ALL CAPS
NO ONE LIKES TO READ THINGS IN ALL CAPS, WHETHER IT’S AN EMAIL, INSTAND MESSAGE OR SOCIAL MEDIA POST. OR REALLY ANY TYPE OF CONTENT MARKETING. IT’S ANNOYING, JARRING TO THE EYE AND GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU’RE YELLING AT THE READER. SO AVOID IT. (Of course, if you really are ranting, cap away!)
If you avoid these common mistakes in your content marketing, you will send the message that you are professional, savvy and ready for business!