In this age of content marketing, blogging grammar is one of those fundamental things you've got to invest time into doing well. Now don't get me wrong, not everyone is a literary novelist. Not everyone can work their way in and out of the English language with ease and write like a professional. This even holds true for many people where English is their native language. However there are realities that simply must be accepted if you're reaching out to people through the written word (e.g. content marketing)... blogging and grammar go hand in hand and even if your readers don't tell you.. it's a pretty big deal.
An Unlikely Comparison
With that said, lets take traditional introductions between people for instance. Yes, yes.. I realize that it might be a stretch to use people and make the connection, but humor me for a moment okay.
When you meet someone, regardless of what they wear, regardless of the hairdo they've chosen to sport that day, regardless of how much money they make.. regardless of anything, an impression is made based on what they present you with in terms of their physical appearance right ? We're talking about what you see (e.g. the visual) when you meet someone in person.
You make an assessment based on the visual regardless of any other attributes that person may have. Lets assume that based on the "visual" you're very impressed with what you see. This could be a great person.. someone that could mean something significant in your life ? But what happens if their grammar completely ruins everything you thought about them based on what you saw ?
Grammar, usage of grammar, your writing style and the way you put your thoughts together, have the power to change what could have been a curious and potentially avid fan of yours into someone that can't get past the grammatical mistakes in your writing, the way you use your words or your writing style. The very same impressions that people can make on us when we meet them for the first time is very similar to the impressions we get the first time we read someone's blog post. Grammar can draw us into a situation we're interested in and create a sense of curiosity and need for more or leave us wondering why we wasted our time in the first place.
Copyblogger On Grammar Usage And Grammatical Errors
I came across a post by Copyblogger highlighting grammatical errors that can make you look silly in front of your readers in an appealing infographic depicted below:
Navigating the English language can be tricky. It's certainly no cakewalk even for those of us that have a track history of speaking it well over many years. The likelihood of stumbling from time to time conveying thoughts and ideas still happens despite our best efforts.
Is blogging grammar about being perfect ? Not at all.. In fact, I think it may be reasonable to say that aiming for perfection may actually turn some of your readers off that simply want to read something that's "good", but that's not to say that you shouldn't strive to produce "your best work". Each person that invests the time to write has their own unique voice and the reality is that what you do is going to resonate with some and not with others. Nevertheless, blogging and the time that you invest into it is a product that you are creating. You have a responsibility to care for that product as well. Addressing the small things will ultimately protect your investment that is the blog itself.
The Copyblogger infographic may seem very simplistic in nature, but the items that are addressed are significant. Lets explore a few things that were in the graphic:
- Your and you're - are you proficient at using them effectively in your content ?
- There, their, they're - are you confused about how to use them correctly in your content ?
- Affect, effect - how often have you confused these two or do you just look for other words to use instead for fear of using them wrong ?
- Could've, would've, should've - are you more prone to use "could of", "would of" or "should of" instead ?
Correct "usage" of these words carries the ability to heighten credibility, respect and interest in reading what you have to write. Your readers can forgive the occasional typo, but incorrect usage in what you are writing about can make a blog post feel unprofessional and neglected.
Blogging grammar can make a blogger feel nauseous.. ohhhh the pressure, but remember, we're not after perfection. Truly, just exerting effort still may lend itself to many mistakes, but that effort will lead to an increased level of skill in writing and that will lead to greater confidence which will improve your ability to write comprehensively. As a blogger, the message that you're conveying in your writing isn't likely to reach your audience the way you would hope if the means by which you're communicating isn't at a level where you are able to effectively reach the people you're delivering the message to.
Blogging Grammar Tools
There isn't a person alive today that doesn't have an area where they feel they struggle. We all have our share of struggles.. things that we aren't good at. However, there are tools that can be used to build those areas where we struggle and beef them up a bit. In the area of blogging grammar, these are tools worth serious consideration and worth adding to your grammar toolkit:
- Grammarly - Dubbed as the world's best instant grammar checker online.. basically a personal grammar coach. (free to try for 7 days).
- Dictionary - for those times when you need to know the definition of a word or to see if you've spelled it write.
- Thesaurus - I particularly enjoy this website because when I need to add a little extra to what I'm writing about in my content, this website gives me other options that I may not have thought about before.
- Grammar Girl - Known as one of the best websites to go to for writers. This website provides insightful tips to help you improve your writing.
While tools can "assist" in your goals to improve your ability to write they can't do all the work for you. There is no substitute for effort. There is no easy route to improving how you write. There is no easy route to a comprehensive understanding of grammar usage and how to use words correctly within the body of your content. However, keeping your audience at the forefront of the investment of your time and energy that you put into publishing content that is free or nearly free of error is a quality representation of who you are as a blogger and will contribute to your image and credibility as an individual, business and/or brand.
What you write about and how you deliver that message will resonate with the people that read what you have to say.
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