Weve all red a sentense like this 1. Your editorial conscience subsequently cringes…and you promptly shift your readership elsewhere.
Perhaps the content in question actually had merit, contained useful information and provided entertainment value. But that’s beside the point; the all-important first-impression test failed, end of story.
The absence of proper proofreading practices can doom even the most well-intentioned content marketer. It’s tedious yet crucial. Like slowing down early rather than surging through the finish line, failure to proofread can erase the diligent effort you put forth throughout the race.
So why exactly is proofreading so essential, especially within the context of a blog post?
Credibility: Our (Written) Word is Our Bond
By their very nature, blogs tend to be informal and conversational. Their non-intimidating tone is part of their appeal. But in order to develop a following and consistent readership, a blogging content marketing team must establish credibility with its audience.
You may be the foremost expert on the topic of Victorian architecture…but will your syntax support this notion? While some niche readers may be able to overlook minor flaws, a sizable portion of your audience will be comprised of people who don’t know you’re the expert and multiple mistakes will set off their radar.
Penny in a World Full of Dollars
Our digital society has become inundated with content. When one piece does not produce immediate satisfaction, a reader can simply divert his or her attention to the next offering, and the one after that. There’s no shortage of content marketers screaming “READ ME” in hopes of enticing their digitally-captive audience.
Once your content has been perceived as devalued, it’s likely your ongoing content efforts will be passed by in favor of the next blog option. It’s supply and demand in a world where inflation mires the content currency. Why let grammatical inaccuracies be the demise of your blog readership?
Death of the Copy Editor
Time for a history lesson: Being accurate used to matter. Back when everything went to print, mistakes were more costly and less correctable. Running a retraction or correction statement within the print industry proved to be a time-consuming, credibility-zapping ordeal.
Nowadays, when newspapers and magazines are forced to make budget cuts, copy editors are the first to go. And when errors do occur, many online publications opt to correct the digital version quietly behind-the-scenes without notifying readers. Even still, mistakes remain prevalent. Ever read the comments section following an online article? Astute readers are quick to point out typographical errors.
But just because journalistic proofreading standards have slipped doesn’t mean your blog’s quality should. Be better than that, and ensure any comments addressing your blog pertain to the content rather than the dangling modifier within the third paragraph.
Separate from Social Media
Much like text messaging, social media represents the bane of modern writing. Mistakes concerning grammar, style and spelling abound on Twitter and Facebook (with Instagram escaping our wrath only by virtue of being visually dominate). Your social media-savvy English teacher from grade school is likely scrolling her Twitter feed and cursing at this very moment.
Want to distinguish your blog from the cacophony of noise echoing throughout the social media world? You can start by producing content that’s thoughtful and grammatically accurate.
A Second Chance at Ensuring Substance
Many writers and editors mistakenly assume proofreading insinuates simply checking content for correct grammar, style and spelling. But that’s akin to an auto mechanic only inspecting a vehicle for body damage, ignoring the underlying problems beneath the hood.
When done properly, proofreading enables a content marketer to thoroughly evaluate not only the style, but also the actual content of a blog entry. Was my message conveyed effectively? Is my information substantive and insightful? Does my organizational structure lend itself to seamless reading by a blog guest?
Producing readable blog content can be an arduous task for even the most skilled content marketer. But don’t let yourself fall victim to coasting across the finish line. Read out loud, highlight a printout, step away and return or ask a friend – do whatever it takes to ensure your blog is properly proofread prior to publication.
Your editorial conscience – and loyal readership – will thank you.