High-quality writing too often gets overlooked these days thanks to spell-check and shorthand text acronyms such as “LOL” (laugh out loud) or “BTW” (by the way). It is common to see misspellings in common words such as “separate” and incorrect usage such as “their” instead of “there.” Additionally, and perhaps worst of all, some business emails or text messages end with “Your welcome” instead of the proper conjunction, “You’re welcome.”
Poor quality writing is not just a minor blip on your company’s radar. It can have serious repercussions. Keep reading to find out why the quality of writing in your business communications and deliverables makes a significant impact on the success of your business.
Online Sources Demand It
If you want to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google, you had better make sure that your grammar and punctuation is on-point. Both social media platforms and search engines ban ads that contain grammar and punctuation errors. These advertising platforms will not approve them during the review process to which all ads are subjected. 2020 will see these online sources increasing their enforcement of this policy.
While Google does not have an official policy about grammar, it does reward websites that have high-quality content with better rankings. Proper grammar is a critical content element. The search engine giant has become increasingly more sophisticated and now possesses the capabilities to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality content. The reality is, if your website does not rank well on Google, it will not attract visitors – and without visitors, it might as well not exist at all.
Errors Influence Company Perception
Reputation is everything when it comes to the long-term success of your business. From five-star ratings to social media profiles, the information available about your organization online serves to either gain or degrade the trust of your potential customers. It is not a leap, then, to understand why poor-quality writing would breed a lack of confidence in consumers.
In fact, 42.5 percent of social media users reported they would be influenced not to purchase goods or services if a company made spelling mistakes. (1) It does not end there. Webpages with spelling and grammar issues have an 85 percent higher bounce rate, or visitors that leave, than well-written pages. (2)
Now imagine what poorly written correspondence – examples include emails, customer service chat and follow-up letters – can do to your company’s long-term success!
After all, if your company is not capable of producing high-quality work on its very own online properties, or is simply too lazy to ensure that workers pay attention to the details elsewhere, why should they assume that your products or services will be worth the money?
Low-Quality Writing Causes Missed Opportunities
This point refers to your employees. The level at which employees write matters even if writing is not an official part of their role. Yes, even those in roles that do not “write” for a living need to write well if they hope to advance and earn a higher salary. Grammar is an accurate predicter of professional success because it signifies positive workplace traits including intellectual aptitude, critical thinking and attention to detail.
Bringing employees up to a basic proficiency in writing can prove costly in terms of both time and money. However, satisfied employees who feel they have a fair shot at advancing are an important asset to your business, making this investment well worth it.
Poor Writing Can Lead to Legal Issues
Most people at some point have laughed at the meme that reads, “I like cooking my family and my pets.” With no commas inserted, it appears the writer enjoys cooking family members and pets. Imagine if this meme was a business document such as a guarantee or a memo about a problem. It could lead to serious, and potentially costly, outcomes for your business. In fact, legal case law holds attorneys liable for errors such as spelling, grammar, excessive typos, poorly organized content and even lack of citations. (3)
Employees who work on tasks should receive training that covers not only the basics of quality writing, but also prevents making promises or commitments that the company cannot follow through on. This is especially true when they handle problem-resolution in customer support roles or in any frontline roles that require interacting directly with the public. In this case, the public includes vendors, customers and prospects.
One valuable solution involves providing a central knowledge base or repository where approved answers to common issues are answered. This question-and-answer system provides consistent, scripted, proofread and prepared answers for employees. This knowledge base minimizes legal risk, as well.
Writing a Success Story for Your Business
There are proactive steps you can take to ensure your employees write well. While you will have to allocate some of the company budget to this endeavor, not all methods have to break the bank.
Prequalify Job Candidates
Subject candidates who will interact with customers or represent the company in writing to written tests.
Periodically test employees, especially those on the “front lines” of interaction the public, on both their written and oral communication skills.
Make Use of Grammar and Spelling Tools
Tools exist to help keep employees on track with spelling and grammar. Two of these tools are Grammarly and email clients such as Outlook with spellcheck enabled. Make it a best practice for employees to use these valuable tools. Grammarly is used as an extension within Chrome.
Create Cheat Sheets
This is one situation in which cheating is perfectly acceptable! Make individual cheat sheets or create posters for public areas that feature common misspellings and grammar issues along with the correct versions.
Designate Proofreaders and a Copywriter
Given the importance of high-quality writing to business success, hiring a copywriter is a perfectly justifiable expense. Now, even if you have a copywriter on staff, you should still assign several employees to the task of proofreading materials once they are written. A single person can easily overlook mistakes, especially if they have been looking at the piece for a while.
The quality of writing that your business produces can make or break its long-term success. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to ensure that the grammar and spelling in your company’s written communications are on-point.
For more information about how Gavel International can help your organization through outsourced meeting planning, event and travel incentive programs, contact us.