Essential Writing Skills for Marketers

Guest blog post

Today we have a guest blog post by Andy Wallner of Marketing Degree.  But first, let me say a bit about the Internet golf radio show at Teeing It Up.  We will be on hold for a while.  Here’s my official public statement on this matter:

“Due to creative differences with the show’s internal financier and backer, the radio show is on hold – pending a resolution of the creative differences.”
Now let me turn it over to Andy Wallner

Essential Writing Skills for

Reading the paper

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Marketers

Good marketing advertisements are concise and convey a considerable amount of information at a single glance. According to Few.org, “[I]f you have to read it more than once to understand it, it’s not clear enough.” Good grammar, punctuation, and spelling are the essential components of marketing advertisements universally understood by the masses. However, many experts have found exceptions that have caused them to question the validity of this argument.

How Flexible Can Marketers Be With Grammar?

Marketing relies on an eye-catching phrase or saying that will be remembered by readers. If the phrase isn’t grammatically correct, how will this oversight affect a marketing campaign? If the grammatical error is intentional and a common colloquial saying, the phrase may work in the company’s favor. Alternatively, poor grammar may catch readers’ attention in a bad way. In general, marketers should decide their audience and their business type before they decide how grammatically flexible they can be. Most of the best marketing degree programs offer basic writing classes for just this reason.

For instance, a resume-writing service, a publisher, or an editor whose advertisements contain unintentional grammatical errors will probably lose business from people who are aware of the correct grammar. A music company or night club, however, may get away with a grammatical slip-up and even make it a trend in selling music or encouraging visitors. If the error doesn’t bother the clientele, then the mistake may not hurt business.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Most expert marketers recommend using proper grammar in all situations. No one is offended by most grammar rules. Since writing is a primary mode of persuasion in marketing, it is important that all sales letters, proposals, press releases, web pages, catalogs, and advertisements maintain proper grammar. Hiring a professional copywriter can improve your chances of developing a marketing campaign that is grammatically correct as well as eye-catching.

According to Textile World, marketers should follow some basic rules for a successful marketing campaign:

Keep Prose Succinct. Marketers have only seconds to capture the viewer’s attention. Don’t make readers sift for the information.

Follow the Style Guides.  The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook and the Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation are great references for grammar. Both are used by professional journalists. Whichever style guide you select, stay consistent with it and be sure to consult it in instances of grammatical or stylistic uncertainty.

Know Your Audience. Knowing your audience is essential to determining how to appeal to a particular group. The group may be conservative or liberal, technical or informal, young or mature. Your audience will decide many considerations of tone, subject, and style.

Spelling is Important. Proper spelling is of the utmost importance even though some popular misspellings may be overlooked. In the era of Twitter, it’s difficult not to be tempted to throw in an abbreviated form of a word, but unless such is an intentional literary gesture in an proper context, it simply isn’t acceptable. Ensure that you spell-check documents before submission.

In general, as long as you use an active voice, concise language, positive tone, and include a call to action, you stand a good chance to capture your audience. Grammar is critical, but can sometimes be deliberately incorrect. The popular Chick-Fil-A advertisements with the “cow misspellings” often capture the eye of every passerby on the highway. With such examples in mind, we shouldn’t say that proper grammar and spelling is the only way to launch an effective marketing campaign.

An Example of Poor Grammar
Before we judge the effectiveness of proper grammar in marketing, we must find poor grammar and judge its effectiveness in the campaign. One example of an improper use of grammar is, “Who learned you to right?” While this caught my attention on a grammar website called AdSpice, it obviously constitute a grievous error in a technical journal, newspaper article, or other formal publication.

However, the way the phrase was used to grab attention on the grammar website was effective. Writers must exercise good judgment by first knowing their audience and then tailoring their prose to entice their potential customers.

How Poor Grammar Affects Search Engine Optimization
When people search the Web for terms, there tend to arise some commonly used phrases. These phrases are considered key phrases and content including them will tend to receive more hits from a search engine. Most popular phrases are not misspelled, unless the word is a common misspelling. Likewise, most phrases are not grammatically improper. While punctuation is of less concern for search engine optimization (SEO), avoiding misspellings and grammatical errors is crucial.

In most instances, use of proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling is expected. In every language, rules are established to improve the readability of prose. Though there are always exceptions to the rule, err on the side of caution. Ensure that your advertisement is readable by the masses and use proper grammar.

 

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One Response

  1. Unfortunately, I think proper grammar is on the road to extinction. That being said, I always appreciate sites and articles with perfect grammar. Poor grammar is simply distracting!

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