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Is Your Content Working for You - or Against You?

Posted by Lisa Hughes | Dec 26, 2018 8:21:00 AM

Think clean content doesn’t really matter? Think again.

“Let’s eat, Grandma!” vs. “Let’s eat Grandma!” A call to the dinner table vs. the desperate cry of a cannibal. And one tiny little punctuation mark makes all the difference.

Focus on Engagement and Readability

If the goal of content creation is readability, then proper grammar and punctuation virtually guarantee readability. Nothing disengages your reader more than cluttered content, stilted word flow, typos, and incorrect punctuation. Your reader shouldn’t have to pause and reread your sentence several times in order to decipher your meaning. Good writing should be concise and clear.

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If you have something to say, take the time to say it well. In our fast-paced society, no one has the time or the desire to wade through poor writing. The whole “take me by what I mean, not by what I say” approach really doesn’t fly in the land of the world wide web. Know exactly what you want to say, and say it clearly.  

Establish Credibility with Clean Content

As a business owner and entrepreneur, you are trying to instill a sense of credibility. You might be a thought leader in your industry and even a prolific writer, but if you publish content that is riddled with grammatical errors and misspellings, you will lose credibility and ultimately your audience. Even if your message is accurate, powerful, and educational, too many typos will cause your readers to question your validity.

They will undoubtedly think that if you are willing to be so cavalier in your approach to creating clean content, then surely you can’t be trusted to provide reliable and accurate information. The last thing you want is for your reader to be so distracted by the errors that they stop paying attention to what you are saying and instead start questioning you as an authority in your field.

Edit for Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation

Spelling and punctuation errors are cringe-worthy, embarrassing, and even sometimes humorous. Consider this graduation program from Texas Christian University’s commencement ceremony:

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Oh, the irony! So much for the benefits of pursuing a higher education! This embarrassing misspelling of the word “university” was printed on the front page of their program, which was unfortunately handed out to an extraordinary amount of friends and families who were gathered to watch over 1,800 students receive their degrees. This typo was promptly mocked, shared, and retweeted in the news and on multiple social media channels.

As a writer, the pinnacle of success is to create content that eventually goes viral, but no one wants to achieve this as a result of sloppy writing that displays a lack of attention to detail.

 

Four Tips for Creating Clean Content:

  1. Write for engagement and readability. When it comes to creating content, the message is the most important thing. Keep it simple, logical, and easy to follow. Think shorter paragraphs, concise wording, and punchy text.
  2. Format the content to improve readability. Use subheadings and whitespace to avoid overwhelming your reader with too much text. Use bold and italics to emphasize certain words, phrases, or sections, and consider breaking up your text with bullet points or numerical lists.
  3. Hire an editor. Use people, not just spell check and grammar check, to find all of your mistakes. Contrary to what you might think, people are still more reliable than technology. Have multiple people check your writing for overall readability and errors. Remember, four eyes are always better than two.
  4. Make sure your content passes the “read aloud test.” Once you think your piece is ready to publish, be sure to read it out loud to yourself several times. The ear is always better than the eye at catching awkward wording, repetitive phrases, and jumbled thoughts. If you stumble over a section or have to reread it several times, that’s your cue to tweak the wording, use a thesaurus, or fix your punctuation.

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By ignoring the importance of clean content, you could unintentionally be damaging the overall success of your website. Poorly written content that isn’t SEO friendly will reduce the amount of visitors to your site. If you’ve created the content and optimized it for SEO but still aren’t seeing the results you’d like, take a step back and consider the writing. If it’s messy, disorganized, and difficult to read, you won’t be rewarded with clicks. Keep it simple. Make it clean. Then, sit back and enjoy watching your click-through-rates and conversions increase.  

If your business or nonprofit needs help in this area, Hydration Media is here to help. Contact us for a free audit or consultation.

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Topics: Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Content Creation, Quality Content

Written by Lisa Hughes