We've all heard the phrase, "The pen is mightier than the sword."
In the world of marketing, this phrase has never been more true.
Learning how to write—and write well—is just like mastering any other skill. It takes time. It takes practice.
Feeling secure in your writing abilities will never happen overnight. And while some people are natural-born grammarians with innate word-flow, most of us could use some clear-cut pointers.
No matter which career path you pursue, effective and professional writing is a skill that translates to success in every industry. In fact, today's hiring managers list writing skills as one of the top five skills that new hires are badly lacking, along with...
- Taking ownership
- Clear communication
- Attention to detail
Considering the majority of our communication occurs through tweets, texts and comments, having a command of basic grammar isn't too much to ask.
Before you start a new position in any field, you may want to focus on sprucing up your writing skills. Even if you aren't going to be producing full-fledged case studies or lengthy magazine features, it is beneficial to know how to make a point—and make it well.
But How Much Does Writing Matter to Marketing?
In marketing, the purpose of any project is to inspire someone to take a certain action.
Let's say your first task on Monday morning is to send out an promotional eBlast to a group of selected bloggers. Your simple goal is build a strong network for one of your clients by sharing their website with an industry-related audience.
You type the email's body and send it out with this subject line:
You're blog is missing something...and we know just what it needs.
STOP RIGHT THERE.
You've made a common—but massively critical—mistake: using "you're" instead of "your." While it may not seem like the worst thing that could happen, it's unacceptable to make such a careless grammar mistake.
By sending out something with typos or misspellings, you immediately discredit both your client's reputation and your own.
All too often, marketers boast about their services—claiming to know all of the "best practices" in writing award-winning, audience-enticing, lead-generating content.
While this type of touting usually grabs the attention of non-marketers, it's unjust and baseless to promote an expertise that, later, won't be delivered.
To this end, MarketingProf's head of content offers this tip:
More than other sectors of business, writing is inseparable from marketing. Whether you're pitching a project proposal to a new client or just sending out a tweet on your company's Twitter, marketers have no room for writing mistakes.
Your clients and your target audiences are looking to you specifically for your attention to detail and your perfect delivery. This is why marketing agencies have in-house copy editors.
Your grammar mistakes will slowly stack up against you until your clients slowly see through your abilities and write you off (pun intended!)
Don't let that happen. Instead, spruce up your writing skills first and market to your customers second.
Start Today with These Foolproof Writing Tips
If you're the first to admit that your writing skills could use some help, look no further. Here are our top three tips that you can do right now to immediately improve your basic grammar.
1. Install a Grammar-Helper
The goodness of the Internet for writers begins with helpful grammar apps and widgets that you can install instantly. Even if you don't consider yourself to be a *good* writer, you can feign professional expertise with the use of a grammar-helper.
There are numerous online tools out there that will catch all of your tiny mistakes and filter out bad writing. Some of the available resources not only check your punctuation and basic grammar, but they will also flag contextual spelling and even poor syntax.
The most highly-ranked online tools out there, which can usually be added as a mere browser extension, include:
- Grammarly — Continually ranked as the number one grammar-helper, this software is used by millions and catches over 150 types of errors. Not only will Grammarly explain what you did wrong, but it will also offer improvements and replace your errors for you.
- WhiteSmoke — In addition to catching all of your errors, WhiteSmoke will generate a "report card" that rates and reviews your writing abilities. You will be judged in six main categories: voice, length, redundancy, words, syntax and expressions. Now, you'll know the exact areas where you can improve.
- GrammarCheck — If you're not interested in all the bells and whistles, GrammarCheck is as traditional as a grammar-helper gets. Just copy and paste your text, and this software will proofread your text in a matter of seconds. Quick and easy, GrammarCheck is one of the most user-friendly and reliable softwares out there.
2. Take an Online Writing Course
Another beautiful feature of the digital age is all of the available online courses in virtually every subject. If you ever wanted to go back to school without really enrolling (or paying), you can take an online class—today.
There are tons of great writing courses online that can enhance you writing and content marketing skills. If you are serious about boosting your wordsmithery, here are some of the top options to consider:
-Coursera: With loads of courses to choose from, you can enroll in an online class in English composition, essay writing. grammar, punctuation, research writing and even high-impact business writing.
-edX: If you have a specific writing interest, like business grant writing or writing professional code, these online offerings will certainly deliver. Plus, almost every single course is entirely self-paced.
-Copyblogger: With so many remote content writers out there, it's only natural for thousands of content blogging courses to be on offer. Learn from professionals, like this one, and take a class specifically devoted to writing top-quality copy for clients.
3. Don't Read More—Read Better
Even if you wouldn't call yourself a "reader," most of us ingest a surprising amount of words on a daily basis. Think about it: you spend your morning commute reading emails, your lunch break scrolling through Twitter and you end the night by reviewing the day's top news stories.
Still, a recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the average person only spends 19 minutes per day reading. Since we aren't reading for extended periods of time, it's all the more important to read better.
When you read an article, don't just skim it. And don't read articles that aren't worth your while. In the world of fake news, you don't want to waste your precious reading time on something that isn't well-written or presenting information clearly.
Spend more time reading, but spend more time reading the right content. If you devote your attention to more *good* writing, you will begin to recognize what it takes to make a well-formed, grammatically-correct argument.
Over time, your own writing will improve as a result of your newfound understanding of quality writing.
Just like any other skill you want to master, becoming a better writer takes plenty of practice and hard work. As content continues to be one of the most important elements of marketing for every industry, you must pay special attention to your writing skills.
Luckily, our team at The Impact Group is chock-full of expert writers—and we aren't touting our wares. We've taken the courses; we've installed the browser extensions. We are here to deliver content that attracts, engages and excites.
Contact us today, and let our wordsmiths work for you!