Spelling is Telling

By Lisa Glass.

When I worked in print/online media, the number one complaint from readers wasn’t about fairness and accuracy; it was about spelling and grammar. You can’t really argue with the line ‘how can I trust what you say if you can’t even spell it right?’.

A headline still doing the rounds of social media is “Students get first hand job experience”. A handy hyphen would have saved some red faces. 

Your business might not see fairness and accuracy as its key focus like the media does, but whatever you’re selling (or telling) your customers, correct grammar and accurate spelling is essential for your credibility. And yes, apostrophes are included! There are whole websites and social media pages dedicated to making fun of badly-spelled signs or unintentional double meanings.

If your aim is to appear competent and capable, spelling and grammar can undermine your messaging and your brand. This goes double when your business is aiming for a level of sophistication. 

Every time I see a sign or  brochure with grammatical errors, I wonder how many pairs of eyes it passed by before sign-off. Consider the following examples:

Fresh tomato’s in season!

Kid’s shoes

Poor posture effects your back

Dental practise

Expresso coffee

If you can’t see at least one error in each of the above lines, I recommend you have a spelling and grammar guru run their eyes over all copy before final approval. Computer spellchecks aren’t enough. 

A good comms person or PR agency should be just as well-versed in the rules of writing and punctuation as they are with a catchy headline and a pithy post. Hold them to it, and don’t let your message get undermined by shoddy delivery.