As a small business entrepreneur, you’re required to wear a variety of hats. Most days you wear the hat of champion and innovator. You provide your business the passion and vision it needs to succeed. When you occasionally need to wear the marketing hat to write a press release, you create fabulous prose about your service or product. But when that press release or printed content goes out into the market, that piece of collateral or content becomes an unmistakable image for your business.
For many small businesses, an investment in a news release or printed piece of content represents a significant commitment of resources, so here are a few tips on grammar every entrepreneur should review before sending out your next press release or paying for printed content.
Look Out For Typos
Even if you’re usually the one who points out typos in other people’s work, you’d be surprised at how often you make typos in your own writing. Make sure to pay close attention to your headlines. Typos in headlines are surprisingly easy to overlook when written in all capital letters. Take the time to thoroughly read through your content, starting with the headline, to make sure it flows properly, and always run spellcheck even if no red or green lines appear on the page.
Look Out For Inconsistencies
The devil is certainly in the details. Once you’ve read through a piece of content, read through it again. Double check the names of the people or products mentioned to make sure they are spelled correctly and consistently throughout the content.
Check Your Punctuation
Here are the three biggest punctuation misses we typically see at Local Fresh:
- Missing comma before the end of a quote
- Punctuation missing at the end of a paragraph or sentence
- Missing proper placement of apostrophes when trying to show possession
For additional information on other commonly made punctuation mistakes, here is some advice from the Grammar Girl.
Include Common Language
This tip is specifically for those small businesses that manufacturer a business-to-business product. It’s not uncommon to find press releases or published content from small business written with a heavy amount of jargon that makes it almost incomprehensible to those outside of the industry. Keep the technical terms relevant and targeted to the specific audience you’re trying to reach.
Use Spellcheck Wisely
It’s easy to develop a love/hate relationship with spellcheck. It can either save you from potential embarrassment or set you up to fail. Two of the most common mistakes include using the work “manger” instead of “manager” or the use of “your” instead of “you’re.” So make sure you take the time to read over content so that it contains the correct the words.
Making the effort to clean up any grammatical problems in your work might seem tedious, but it will pay off in the end. Before a customer or client considers purchasing your service or product, they will form an instant opinion about your business based on the material they have at their disposal (reading your business’ blog or a press release, seeing a print ad or looking at your website). If you can only make one first impression, make sure you have a strong understanding of grammar so that your message is conveyed the right way.