Anyone working in the marketing space will be well aware that content is king.
It’s a well-worn cliché, and one that is often misunderstood, underestimated, or both.
If you’ve sought professional advice from an experienced content marketer, chances are you’ll have been bombarded with suggestions as to how you can improve your messaging, optimise your web pages, promote your blogs and generally use your copy to heighten your earned credibility.
But while it’s important that you’re using content in the right way, if what you’re using just simply isn’t right, you could be unknowingly damaging your company’s reputation.
The power lies within well-crafted content
Let’s just clarify what we mean by your company’s content. Everything you produce to educate and inform customers about your product, service or brand can be classed as ‘content’. There is a tendency to separate online and offline content into different silos, but this is a mistake. Consumers won’t see it that way, and neither should you. Whether it is a blog, a tweet, a strapline on a business card or the signwriting on a van, your brand content needs to demonstrate consistency across all formats and platforms.
And when it comes to the text itself, your words will not only need to speak to potential customers about your business – they’ll have to set you apart from everyone else. Everything you write should, in some way, be encouraging a sale.
If your content is littered with typos, grammatical errors, conflicting tenses and half-formed ideas, you will struggle to connect with your audience and build up the kind of great impression that precedes a purchase. Worse still, if your copy is sharing inaccurate or inappropriate messages, you could be doing some serious damage to your brand. At best, you’ll be portraying yourself as amateur; at worst, you’ll look downright incompetent.
If you need a strong statistic to back up the influence of poor content on conversions, research conducted by Global Lingo back in 2012 found that 59% of Brits would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material. In fact, they went as far as to say that they wouldn’t trust the brand in question, let alone buy from them. The poll may be a few years old now, but it’s backed by a more recent survey from Disruptive Communications, which found that 42.5% of social media users would be put off by poor spelling and grammar mistakes. That’s a huge chunk of customers to lose because of a few key slips.
Dig deeper, and you’ll find an article by Usability.gov that explores the various factors that affect a brand’s online credibility. It’s an interesting read if you want to learn more about how users are affected by poor online content and other elements of a website, such as its design and structure.
Unfortunately, a study that proves a definite correlation between bad content and damage to a brand is yet to be commissioned. And there are of course people out there, on the web and in the real world, who remain unaffected by poor grammar, and are motivated by other factors. But wouldn’t you rather account for all of your potential customers, even the fussier ones? Wouldn’t you prefer to know that your content is working for you, not against you?
How to stop content from damaging your brand
The big question is, how can you make sure that your business isn’t adversely affected by weak, technically-wanting content? These three simple tips will help you iron out careless errors that could be getting your copy noticed for all the wrong reasons.
Don’t write when you’re tired.
If you’re keen to create your own content, do so when you’re fresh and wide awake. Working the wrong side of midnight after a long day at work is not going to inspire innovative copy. Identify when you’re most productive during your working day, and carve out a couple of hours to focus on your content during this vital window.
Do make use of another pair of eyes.
Even some of the most talented professional copywriters will ask for a second opinion on their content before submitting it to the client for approval. Eagle-eyed proofreaders and copy editors will spot and erase even the most minor mistakes to ensure flawless text. Always ask for a second opinion from a third party to make sure everything is as it should be.
Ask for professional help.
More and more marketers, and indeed business owners, are discovering the benefits of working with professional copywriters.
We come in handy if you’re not a natural writer, or you just don’t have the time to create or edit your own content. We may cost money, but we’ll nip poor content practices in the bud and we’ll use our expertise to ensure that your content provides a much better return on investment once it’s actually in front of your audience.
You’ll face a lot of challenges as you grow your business. Don’t be held back by terrible content that’s not doing you justice.
At Indy, we believe that your copy really should be the least of your worries, and we’ll always do everything in our power to make sure you’re using the written word to your advantage, not to your detriment.