I’m the first one to admit that I’m snobbish – even arrogant – about the way that any business presents themselves with their written words. There’s room in my grammatical nitpicking to allow for slang, the occasional emphatic “dammit!” and other words of color. Even incomplete sentences if they fit the moment. And dare I include the grammatical pariah of starting sentences with conjunctions?
Yes. I dare.
I get a lot of crap for being a Grammar Queen (I’ll take that over being a Drama Queen). I can feel clients and co-workers hitting their forehead every time they open one of my revisions to their work and begin reading my edits. They’re seventeen and back to getting bitch slapped by their high school English teacher again. They take it personally that something they slaved over for hours was sent back to them with deletions, word changes, and “why is this included?” questions throughout it (and probably in a fraction of the time that it took them to create it in the first place).
Here’s the crux of the issue: when you put something out there that has misspellings, downright bad grammar or is written just exactly as you would say it, it’s like going to an interview without showering, wearing wrinkled clothes and having remnants of food stuck to your face from your last meal. Would you take whatever you’ve just written into a job interview as a way of showing your best work?
Your appearance speaks for you. You could be the most brilliant in the world at your particular vocation and it won’t matter if the person you’re speaking to can’t get past the spaghetti sauce that’s crusted on your chin.
If you have a website, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram site or Pinterest board, your brilliant marketing efforts will undoubtedly pay off. What if a big client is researching you? If your business has any component of audience outreach or client representation, put your own personality aside for a moment and remember that everything you post is going to be scrutinized by lawyers, PR agencies and handlers who are asking the question, “would we want this person in a board room representing us?” What if a key blogger or a reporter who has your core audience wrapped around their keyboard finds you? Will they find someone that they want to promote? Or someone wearing a beer stained t-shirt and day 5 jeans?
Budget for a writer. Whether it’s a college Journalism major that will charge you a buck a page just to clean up grammar or a seasoned PR pro, it’s important that your writing is pressed, clean and makes a positive impression on everyone who finds it.