May 21, 2023

Jennifer Hanford

Comeback Corner: Don't Let Bad Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation Ruin Your Brand


Are you aware that typos — even just one — in your content can be enough to drive away potential clients? It's true! After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

One of #Strella Social Media's four core values is Commitment to Excellence. Because it closely matches my personal values, I hold that core value near and dear. Proofreading is one of my favorite responsibilities, and I work hard to identify and correct any errors made during the writing process.

Even if your product or service is fantastic, mistakes on your website or social media posts could turn people away. It is critical to ensure the content you deliver online is professional and free of errors. I highly recommend double-checking your work for spelling and grammar mistakes. And, if you can, have someone else review it as well. I’ll provide more tips and information about these activities later in this article.

Why Is Flawless Content So Essential?

Proper grammar in your messaging is necessary for your company's success! Here's why:

Enhances Credibility: Customers are more likely to trust a company that communicates its message with impeccable grammar and language — so take the time to get it right!

Exudes Professionalism: Proper grammar is a sign of professionalism. It demonstrates an organization is serious about its business and takes pride in how it presents itself to the public.

Provides Clarity and Consistency: Proper phrasing, free of typos and grammatical errors, contributes to clear, easy-to-understand messages. Plus, when language and grammar are consistent, it reinforces a brand's identity.

Avoids Miscommunication: Misunderstandings can result from poor grammar, which can be disastrous for a business. Miscommunication can generate uncertainty or discontent — and even damage a company's reputation.

Publishing error-free content helps establish a solid foundation for any business or organization. Plus, it creates a favorable first impression on potential customers and readers.

How Can You Ensure Your Content Is Error-Free?

The following tips can help you avoid typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings:

Proofread, proofread, proofread: I cannot emphasize this enough; carefully read through your content to check for grammatical faults and typos before posting or sharing it.

Use online grammar-checking tools: Tools such as Grammarly can identify grammatical errors, suggest corrections, and improve the overall clarity of your writing.

Get feedback: Request input from colleagues and your clients. They may help you discover typos and other issues. Also, welcome their other suggestions for improving your content.

Take a break: After finishing your writing, step away from it for a little while, then return to review it later with fresh eyes. This might help you catch errors you may have overlooked the first time.

Examples of Companies Whose Content Mistakes Tarnished Their Reputations

No one is perfect, although we try our best. You may be surprised yet relieved to learn that even some well-known and well-established companies have made grammatical mistakes. Here are a few you may have seen or heard about:

#1. McDonald's introduced a new campaign in 2015 with the slogan "Lovin' Beats Hatin'." However, the advertisement was met with criticism, as it was believed that McDonald's had made a poor grammar choice by using the words Lovin' and Hatin' instead of spelling out the words. Many felt this error made the brand appear sloppy.

#2. In 2014, American Apparel used a picture of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster inappropriately on their Tumblr blog. The social media employee who posted it was born after the 1986 disaster and was unfamiliar with it. The problem? It was tagged as “smoke” and “clouds.” The company quickly deleted the post and tweeted a statement apologizing for using the image.

#3. Back in 2006, Alitalia, an Italian airline, made a huge mistake; it accidentally posted business class flights from Toronto to Cyprus with a ticket price of $39 instead of the intended $3,900. Of course, travelers jumped at the opportunity and snatched up the tickets as quickly as they could. Alitalia's first reaction was to cancel the tickets, but customers objected. To salvage its reputation, the company decided to honor the tickets resulting in a whopping $7.2 million loss for the company.

#4. Have you ever heard of the infamous typo in the 1988 Yellow Pages? Banner Travel agency had purchased an ad to promote its “exotic travel” options, but due to a mistake by Pacific Bell, the ad ended up advertising “erotic” travel destinations instead! The owner of Banner Travel reported that the error cost her 80 percent of her business, and she wasn't too pleased when Pacific Bell merely waived the $230 monthly fee for the ad as reparation. She ended up suing them for a whopping $10 million!

These are just a few examples of brands that have harmed their reputation and credibility due to content errors. They emphasize the significance of proofreading and ensuring the accuracy of your messaging to avoid potentially harmful (and costly!) mistakes.

Over to You

Are you ready to make a great first impression online? Sharing top-notch content with good grammar, correct spelling, and proper punctuation is crucial! From posting on social media to writing articles, you must produce quality content to attract potential clients and develop a positive brand reputation.

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