Smart businesses market their brands with consistency, style and the utmost professionalism… And they do so in all kinds of ways. Every piece of content they write is meant to spread their core values and message, entice readers, establish relationships, connections, and ultimately, sell their products or services.
Content Marketing Has Evolved
Today, however, the idea that brands only produce content to advertise their products or services is a thing of the past. In a digital age, content is produced to entertain, educate and inspire audiences. And, over time, audiences come to trust those brands and make purchases with them when they are ready.
Content is now in the form of website text and visuals, blogs, social media posts, emails and so much more. Dependent on the media type and digital channels on which it will be promoted, it’s not just what that content says that is important, how it is written to target the right people in ways they want to be engaged, also says a great deal about a brand.
Proofreading Has Evolved Too
And so it goes without saying that any marketer who publishes content must have impeccable grammar, punctuation, and spelling. You just never now who will be reading it, on what device, in what context, and poor writing can turn off an otherwise potential lead. At the very least it can hammer brand reputation.
But proofreading marketing content now involves much more than following English grammar rules. There are other important elements that need careful consideration too.
Let’s review a few “rules” of content marketing with regard to “proofing” for style and effectiveness.
1. Reading level
The old adage, KISS, is at work here. Keeping the language and the sentence structure simple is critical. No reader wants to plow through long complex sentences. Nor do they like having to figure out the meaning of a word. They often will just leave!
Ideally, content should be written at about the 6th-7th grade reading level. If you’re not sure about yours, use a reading level tool. If your content is also translated for an international audience, the same applies. Find yourself a good translation agency that understands what content marketing is all about. (You can check out top translation services at Is Accurate).
Make sure that you give credit where it is due. If you use the ideas of others, give them credit within the text. And, obviously, if you quote someone, you must cite the source. You don’t have to be academic about it, like you are writing a college research paper. But do tell your readers where information or data has come from. In digital content, this can also be accomplished by links to sources. (Note the link at the beginning of this item).
Be topical but try to avoid controversial topics. Your content is not a soapbox. If you express opinions on political, social, or religious matters, expect to offend some of your readers – readers who will never return.
4. Pack a punch
Be punchy but not aggressive. A lot of great content is “punchy.” It tells a story, amazes a reader with a startling statistic, or includes witty phrases. It becomes aggressive when it tells a reader what he “must” do, especially in terms of buying a product. Never make demands of a reader – persuade him by speaking to the value of your product or your special “deal.” If you want a good example of this technique, check out Dollar Shave Club’s explainer video.
5. Be delightful not dour
Lose the formality. This probably sounds like a demand, but so be it. You can’t relate to consumers if you sound like you are giving an academic speech. Your writing should be conversational, as if you are talking to a friend over lunch. Write your post or article, then go back over it and start changing your language. Read each sentence and ask yourself, “is this how I would explain it to my best friend?”
6. Simplicity rules
Lose the adjectives and adverbs. If you have not read Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea lately, read it now. The man was a master of simplicity. And that simplicity came from minimal use of adjectives and adverbs. If the modifier adds nothing to the point, eliminate it. Readers are in a hurry, and they want you to get to the point!
You can entertain and educate without the flowery language (“flowery” is an adjective, but it is useful here).
7. Break it up
No one wants to read walls of text. Your paragraphs should be just a few sentences long. And they can be broken up with visuals. Use bold sub-headings and bulleted or numbered points. People like to “snack” on content and decide for themselves what they want to read in detail. They can’t do that if you don’t break it up.
8. Get to the point
Readers are not patient. Everything you write – every word and every sentence – must have meaning and add to the point of the content. If you become long-winded, you will lose them. And if you can say something with a visual rather than words, all the better.
9. Call on an expert
Use a writing service if necessary. Content has to be engaging, compelling, and creatively written. Content marketers have great ideas for topics and know what they want to say. But how they say it is the difference between engaging audiences and boring them. If you are in this position, then get some pros who do this well. There are lots of writing services out there that now have copywriting departments filled with creatives. If you need this kind of help, start with Supreme Dissertations or Hot Essay Service. These are agencies that have received great review for their copywriting services. You can send them what you have written, and they will add the pizzazz that will make your content “rock.”
Proofreading of marketing content is far more than just checking grammar and punctuation. It means evaluating every sentence, every paragraph, and the total “picture” of a piece. Content consumers are savvy and very picky. They want value; they want simplicity; they want to be engaged. If you can accomplish these things by following the 9 “rules” above, you’ll grow your audience. And when audiences grow, purchases follow.
Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. She finished her studies last year but is already a true expert when it comes to presenting a text in a creative and understandable manner.