A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the words you do use are just as important. When your product ads feature typos, you’re not just making a mistake - you could be hurting your business.
When asked by Disruptive Communications what was most likely to damage their opinion of a brand in social media, 42.5% of respondents cited poor spelling and grammar. That’s almost twice as many as any other answer! Forbes warns that “many savvy consumers judge credibility by grammar and attention to detail.” Small typos may be overlooked or forgiven, but you run the risk of losing customers if they perceive you as less than credible.
It’s true that you can easily edit social media and blog posts, but thanks to screenshots, your corrections may come too late. Blunders by many large brands and politicians have been preserved in images for all the world to see (just do a quick Google search for “advertising typos”). Plus, as Six Degrees points out, mistakes can hurt your marketing campaigns by discouraging potential click-throughs and even sending your eblasts directly to users’ spam folders. And if an error occurs in print form, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in production and printing expenses to correct it.
The idea of staying on top of every grammar rule and APA guideline is a daunting prospect, so where do you start? We’ve compiled a list of three common errors to avoid:
It’s tempting to add an apostrophe before that “s” at the end of a word. But in some cases, it doesn’t actually belong there. When added to a noun, it makes that person, place or thing possessive rather than plural. That means it’s only “Friday’s” if you’re about to tell us about something that belongs to that day. If you just mean more than one Friday, use “Fridays” instead.
Like any rule, though, there can be exceptions. In this case, with the word “it.” If you’re writing a shortened version of “it is,” use “it’s.” If you’re writing about something that belongs to “it,” you don’t need the apostrophe. In this case, an apostrophes shows that you omitted a letter from a word, such as writing “you’re” instead of “you are” or “we’re” instead of “we are.”
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that people write dates differently. Some write “June 1st” while others just write “June 1.” Which way is right? The tricky part here is that most people pronounce “June 1” as “June first,” so it seems natural to write it that way. However, adding those two extra letters to your dates is grammatically incorrect. Here’s why:
Numbers such as first, second, or third - called “ordinal numbers” - represent a place in a series. So “the 1st of June” is correct because it’s the first day in a series of 30 days. When you’re writing the date out with the month first, you’re writing the name of the day and don’t need to use anything other than the numeral.
Rather than getting into all of the technical details of this rule, here’s an easy test for remembering which one to use when: If you were just using the second name in the sentence, would it sound correct? Would it be “Thanks for sending that to me” or “Thanks for sending that to I”? Then “Thanks for sending that to Jim and me” would be the correct sentence.
Utilize a spell checker, such as the one built into your word processing software or a more advanced program like Grammarly. Also, get a fresh perspective by reading your work out loud, stepping away from it for a few minutes, or asking a teammate to do a quick read-through for you.
Remember, you are human, and sometimes things will slip through the cracks. But if you keep the above tips in mind, you might find yourself a little closer to error-free!