By Ingrid Scroggins – Writer, Editor, Communications Consultant
Writing to promote and position your small or midsize company is likely the last thing on your mind as you juggle many demands and wear multiple hats running your business.
But there’s a powerful argument for moving the use of this skill to a higher place on your priorities list. Poor writing – whether it’s on your website, in blogs, in video content, or even on social media – reflects negatively on your business. And that negative reflection can cost you clients or customers, and ultimately, profits.
Misspelled words, typos, confusing sentences and grammatical errors represent sloppy work and little or no attention to details. This can raise questions and concerns about your company’s credibility and capabilities.
Putting more effort into the various forms of communications used for your business will go a long way in helping protect your company’s reputation - and your brand.
Depending on your budget, you may want to take the do-it-yourself approach or hire editorial professionals. Either way, consider the following suggestions to improve what your company is already doing and to plan for future projects.
Focus your message. Who are your targeted audiences? What do you want them to understand about your business? What actions do you want them to take? What is your business going to do for them?
These kinds of questions can make your communications meaningful and beneficial for your organization and the people or groups you want to target.
Double-check content. To catch typos, spelling mistakes and anything else that could make a less-than-favorable impression, take the time to read and reread everything you push out for public consumption about your business. Have someone else review content as well to get a different perspective.
Proofing applies to social media posts, too. Just because they’re typically short and sweet doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same careful review.
Compile a virtual toolkit. Take advantage of the tools available through the internet to help with writing whether you’re at your desk or on the go with your smartphone. Create a “favorites folder” of website links or a section of apps on your computer or smartphone that you can refer to quickly when you want to check a grammar rule or the spelling or meaning of a word.
Decide to go with a pro. Handling writing in-house may appear to save money, but it can be costly in other ways. If you are writing and posting, that activity is taking up valuable time needed to guide the big-picture operations of the company. If you have an employee who can pick up the duties but whose strengths are not well suited for the responsibilities, quality will suffer.
The best use of money and time may be to hire a professional writer, editor or social media coordinator to create and curate content for your website, social media presence and other needs. If you think this suggestion sounds expensive, planning and research can control the cost.
Look for candidates through creative talent agencies, websites devoted to freelance workers and organizations like the Editorial Freelancers Association.
Decide on the level of support you want, the amount you can afford and the skills that will best fit your company. But be realistic about your expectations. If you aim to pay bottom dollar, you’re likely to get bottom-dollar results, not conscientious, value-adding work that will help present your company in a polished, professional light.
Writing likely is not the core of your business, but it matters in effectively reaching and influencing the key audiences important to the success of your business.