The Social Media Art of Blogging: Are You Embarrassing Yourself?

Tue, Mar 2, 2010


My online marketing mentors, Jonathan Budd and Mark Hoverson, speak of the need to target your direct response marketing and your social media marketing (like blogging) to the top producers in the industry.  You want to appeal to successful, smart, professional people, who in turn, want to work with a successful, smart, professional person like you.

Mentor Mama wants to chat with those among you who think you can slap together a blog post, put it out on the worldwide web, and it’s all good.  I am here to tell you that you are seriously embarrassing yourselves.

As I have been participating in the social media tribe process, I have read hundreds of blogs and, much to my dismay, a significant number of posts fail to meet basic standards of common English, let alone the standards that are applied by successful, smart, professional people (YOUR PROSPECTS!).

Although I am fairly new to social media and to blogging, I am not new to writing.  I have written extensively and have taught writing in undergraduate and graduate schools.  While the tone and topics of blogging may differ somewhat from the more technical writing that I have done, some things don’t change.

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Basic rules of spelling, grammar, punctuation and usage are consistent throughout the various styles of writing.  I know.  I know.  You want to tell  Mentor Mama about famous authors who broke all the conventional rules.  Then, you want to ask why you don’t get to break the rules also?  The difference is that those authors knew what they were doing and they broke the rules on purpose to create a particular effect.  The blogging to which I am referring is the result of carelessness or perhaps, more kindly, lack of knowledge.

OK, you want to attract some heavy hitters? Then clean up your act!  Start by following the basic rules below:

1.   Keep it simple. If you know that you are not a strong writer, keep your sentences simple and short.  Use lists and bullet points, rather than trying to explain complex concepts.

2.  USE YOUR SPELL-CHECK.  Some of the errors that Mentor Mama         sees would have been avoided if you had used Spell-check.  Don’t forget that the dictionary is your friend.

3. Watch for Mentor Mama’s Taboos. These words are commonly       mixed up and a well-educated person WILL notice.  Use the search function to find every place where you have employed these words and make sure that you use them correctly:

a.  two (2), too (also), & to (towards)

b.   there (a place), their (belongs to them), & they’re (they are)

c.   your (belongs to you) & you’re (you are)

d.  who’s (who is) & whose (belonging to whom)

e.   its (belongs to it) & it’s (it is)

f.     then (progression) & than (comparison)***

4. Proofread! You must walk away from the piece you have written.  Come back to it later with a clear head.  At that time, I suggest that you read it twice as follows:

a.   Read each word separately to confirm that it is spelled correctly and that it is used correctly in the context of the sentence.  If I “would” like to go, spell-check might not catch, I “wood” like to go, because both words are spelled correctly.  One is the wrong word for the sentence.

b.  Then, read the article sentence by sentence to be sure that each one makes sense.  On this second read, you are looking for the overall logic of each paragraph.  If you had never read this before, would you have any clue what is being discussed?  Sometimes reading out loud helps.

5.  Use an Editor. Have someone who is really picky about spelling and grammar go over your writing for you.  Pay attention to what they correct and learn from them, so you can avoid those mistakes in the future.  I use my teenagers who are studying writing in school, but you can ask a tribe member or a Facebook friend.

Mentor Mama makes lots of mistakes and she is very nervous that she will make a mistake in this post!  I am not talking about the occasional slip, but a consistent pattern of sloppy, careless grammar and spelling.  If your presentation and structure are sloppy, why would your readers believe that your ideas are sharp and carefully thought out?

Mentor Mama wants you to shine! She wants you to show off your knowledge and skill by blogging with good grammar and spelling.  Start by following the rules above and you will eliminate some of the more obvious errors.  Over the weeks, I will bring you more information about this topic and we will work together to polish your presentation into a blog post you and Mentor Mama can be proud of.

***SHOUT OUT to Mary Lou Kayser for suggesting this Taboo to Mentor Mama.  If you make great suggestions, then Mentor Mama will include them in her blog, rather than have her posts be incomplete!  :)  Thanks Mary Lou!

9 people like this post.

35 Responses to “The Social Media Art of Blogging: Are You Embarrassing Yourself?”

  1. Kathy Jodrey Says:

    Hey Mentor Mama (I just love that title!!!),

    I couldn’t agree with you more. For many of us, blogging is one tool that we are using to put forward our best face to the world. It really surprises me to see poor grammar, multiple typos, and in some cases just bad writing.

    Not everybody is an expert writer, but there are so many resources available to those who are not well skilled in this area.

    By simply taking the time to perform a spell check, many bloggers would improve their images. After all, we only have one chance to make a good first impression!
    .-= Kathy Jodrey´s last blog ..Believing is Seeing – A Story of Rock Solid Belief =-.


  2. Eddie Espiritu Says:

    Nancy, wow! These are great tips on Blogging but especially valuable is making sure to proof read the article before posting it live. Great advice!
    .-= Eddie Espiritu´s last blog ..MLM Blogging Tips Revealed – Types of Content to Post =-.


  3. Edward Says:

    Hey Nancy,

    Thanks for these great tips. They are very valuable and need to be implemented by myself in my posts. The proof reading thing is something that I am sure I knew about but did not think about or execute in my blogging process as of yet. Will do it now for sure!
    Make it a great day!
    God Bless,


  4. Deborah Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I agree that it is very easy to get caught up in the informality of blogging and let those important things like grammar slide. Thanks for reminding me to watch my p’s and q’s because you never know who might read your blog.

    .-= Deborah´s last undefined ..Response cached until Fri 5 @ 16:09 GMT (Refreshes in 22.03 Hours) =-.


  5. Lynn Glaser Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    This is a post that is definitely needed, more people need to read this. My pet hate is the misuse of the words ‘they’re, there and their’ it really gets me going! What’s really scary is that text message slang like ‘ur’, ‘thnx’, ‘u’, ’2′ and all the others are being used in common writing forms. It doesn’t look professional at all.



    Oh boy I hope my grammar was ok in this comment! :-)
    .-= Lynn Glaser´s last blog ..Facebook Connections Part 2 – Keep The Conversation Flowing =-.


  6. Matthew Neer Says:

    Solid tips here Nancy, there is nothing that SCREAMS unprofessional like tons of grammatical errors in your writing. I can’t tell you how many emails I get everyday with people writing like it’s a text message. It’s absolutely crazy! Even if you have a smart phone, if you’re gonna email be professional about it. Same goes for your blog posts as well.

    Go big or go home.
    .-= Matthew Neer´s last blog ..How To Get What You Want… =-.


  7. Jodi Lee Says:

    Mentor Mama, I love you.
    Perhaps that’s a bit forward for our first encounter; it’s just that I rarely find someone else who a)notices and b) cares about proper grammar!
    Thank you!!
    .-= Jodi Lee´s last blog ..Take back your life =-.


  8. Admin Says:

    Hey Everybody,

    Woohoo! So glad you didn’t come by to tar and feather me!

    Ed and Eddie, proofreading really is crucial. Even after extensive proofing, I often find mistakes!

    Kathy, Lynn and Debbie, you all really get that the little things count. We are what we write, right?

    Matthew and Jodi, grammar matters! Happy that I have some supporters in you!

    And….Jodi, I love you too! Teehee!

    Mentor Mama


  9. Lynn Rekvig Says:

    Your blog post should be required reading for all bloggers and wanna-be bloggers! ( Is “wanna-be” okay to use, Mama?) See, you’ve got me thinking already!
    Great to know that we have an expert to learn from.
    Now we know why you are so talented at writing!
    I am definitely sharing and bookmarking this post.

    Lynn Rekvig

    A blogger wanna-be


  10. Buff Elting Says:

    Mentor Mama, I truly appreciate this post. Spelling and grammar are things I care deeply about and, although one can often figure out what is trying to be said in a given sentence, it is so nice – and much more impressive – to read something that has been carefully constructed and obviously well thought out. I also live in dread of making the kinds of slip-ups that get under my skin when I see them elsewhere.

    Thanks for being such a wonderful “mama” to us all!
    .-= Buff Elting´s last blog ..Going for Gold: Champion Mindset & 7 Keys To Success =-.


  11. Jacqueline Gates Says:

    Yes, yes, YES!
    This goddess is a huge grammar and spelling nut, and cringes every time she sees an otherwise stellar blog-post ruined by careless typos and grammar.
    My pet peeve is the inappropriate use of the apostrophe! So often it’s NOT used when it should be (eg. you’re – as in You Are) and then used when it shouldn’t be!
    I’m so thrilled to meet another community of writers who actually care about their grammar, punctuation and spelling.
    You’re right, Mentor Mama, it makes an enormously favourable impression to those who consider the English language one of the seminal tools of their trade.

    Bliss and blessings,
    the Goddess known as Jacqui
    .-= Jacqueline Gates´s last blog ..The Flip Cam – and what it taught me about being scared! =-.


  12. Val Wilcox Says:

    I agree with Jacqui. Messed up grammar in any writing pulls my focus off the content. Thanks for the great reminder to proof everything first,
    .-= Val Wilcox´s last blog ..The Power of YOU! =-.


  13. Val Haderlie Says:

    Mentor Mama, thank you for telling it like it is. You have a great way with words (and grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) Your mentoring is bound to assist many to “do it right!”


  14. Stew Shaw Says:

    Lynn Glaser – you said you hoped your writing was correct. Mentor Mama might perhaps point out to you sometime that phrases need to be correctly joined within sentences. Your first 3 sentences need attention in this area ;-)

    Mentor Mama – “The blogging to which I am referring is the result of carelessness or perhaps, more kindly, lack of knowledge.” Drilling a little deeper, what might we put this lack of knowledge down to?

    It wouldn’t by any chance have anything to do with a poor standard of teaching, would it? I know that this is a real issue in my country (Australia) right now. It’s got to the point where the federal government is trying to frighten schools into complying with raising their teaching standards by publishing school-by-school rankings of how kids did in national literacy (and numeracy) tests. And, consequently, there’s been a predictable furore from teacher unions.

    This is a great post and it was gutsy of you to raise the issue. By the way, you said you were nervous about making errors in this post. For fun I went searching! I found no grammatical ones, but there are some typographic issues! For example, insertion of tab spaces where there shouldn’t be any. Watch out you don’t put off the page layout experts out there ;-)

    DISCLOSURE: Similar to Mentor Mama, my line of business was once in the technical writing field. Writing, editing, and print publishing were my daily activities. But when it got to the point that it was too difficult to obtain correct foreign language translations of our documents I think I started to lose interest! So the problem is not endemic to English!

    - Stew
    .-= Stew Shaw´s last blog ..Massive Effort and The Flying Pig Syndrome =-.


  15. Debbie Wood Says:

    This is truly an amazing post Nancy. You are so right about this one. I cringe when I hear a marketer say “I put up five posts today.” They’re normally not something I even want to read.

    I know that sometimes my blog posts take me way too much time to do, but at least I’m pretty sure that they are grammatically correct and they make sense. Coming for the legal secretarial world my whole life basically, proofreading and grammar checking were just second nature for me.

    That “If you build it they will come” attitude is a thing of the past and now I really believe people are looking for content, and good content at that!

    Thanks for the timely tips, I always appreciate your posts.
    .-= Debbie Wood´s last blog ..Tribe Internet Organization 101 =-.


  16. Beth Hewitt Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    This is a great reminder to people, it is all too easy to rush things and forget to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. (or is it the other way round?)

    Anyway, it’s so easy to miss something especially when it’s your own words you are looking at and I agree it is always great to get some accountability from someone else, or a fellow blogger.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    .-= Beth Hewitt´s last blog ..Pruning your Life =-.


  17. Bruce Backman Says:

    Hey Nancy thanks for the post and the tips! I do appreciate good writing skills but I also am one of those folks who breaks the rules from time to time. I will use run on sentences in a particular way for effect and different punctuation for effect.

    However, I agree that your perception of someone you have never met is largely formed by what you are reading on their blog. It is pretty important to portray yourself as someone who is competent. When the post has poor grammar, spelling and punctuation it merely creates an obstacle for building any sort of relationship with the reader.

    Of course, these obstacles can be overcome in many instances but why create more obstacles than are already inherently there when the primary focus is building relationships with people?

    Anyhow…thanks so much!
    .-= Bruce Backman´s last blog ..When Love is More than Enough =-.


  18. Darlene Davis Says:

    When I read the “taboo” words section I was laughing a lot. As a speed reader, when I come to a misuse of any of those words it stops me cold.

    One of the reasons I had difficulty starting a blog was a strong fear of not being “perfect” in grammar, spelling, et al. I liked your suggestion of reading a post out loud word for word. I’ll definitely employ that exercise from now on.
    .-= Darlene Davis´s last blog ..The Phenomenon of Time =-.


  19. Jerry Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve seen this time and time again and I don’t know why it’s hard for individuals to check their work before submitting it to others. I just don’t get it. Great post!
    .-= Jerry´s last blog ..Secrets Of Creating Wealth? Could it be Giving? =-.


  20. Lloyd Dobson Says:

    Hello Nancy,

    Thank you very much for sharing this article. It has come to my attention that fundamentals are the key to success. This applies to whatever we are attempting to accomplish in our life’s journey. Great stuff!!

    Have a beautiful day!

    Lloyd Dobson
    .-= Lloyd Dobson´s last blog ..How To Take Responsibility For The Results In Your Life =-.


  21. Admin Says:

    I am so excited that you are all so receptive to this post! It gives me hope for the dream of a literate world! LOL!

    Buff and Jacqui, It is thrilling in this “I’m OK; You’re OK” world to find people who will openly admit a commitment to rules….even if they are just grammar rules!

    Val and Val, You are so welcome! Somebody had to say it.

    Debbie and Bruce, You are both so right. Marketing is tough enough as it is. It makes no sense to create obstacles to the receipt of the all important content and your message.

    Thanks to all of you for stopping by!

    “Mentor Mama”


  22. Tim Tyrell-Smith Says:

    Hi Mama – Great post and good reminders for us all. I have made mistakes. Partly because I’m tired and partly because I feel that an occasional mistake is not a big deal. I try to read them twice – really! Usually someone tells me and I can fix it later.

    This post was a nice introduction to your blog . . .
    .-= Tim Tyrell-Smith´s last blog ..Targeted Leads For Job Seekers – The New And Improved Watchlyst™ =-.


  23. Dave and Dawn Says:


    What a wonderful post about representing yourself as an expert. I remember back in my corporate days I asked a co-worker what he thought of one of our vendors and I’ll never forget what he said. It went exactly like this, “Well, I ain’t saying I ain’t no genius but John don’t seem to be all that bright.” hmmmm…

    Now, what did that tell me about him?

    Before I embarrass myself on some grammar issue, I’ll stop here ;)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Dave and (Dawn)


  24. Erika1Sanchez Says:

    Hi! I came over from another blogger’s site from one of your comments! I have little problem with grammar but I do have a problem with mind racing faster than typing so my writing is not as flowing as well as it should be. I proof read and it all sounds good to me! But I’m afraid that others’ do not think like me so they might be put off by my ramblings.

    Also the more I visit other sites, I’m more and more inclined to getting bored. Everything out there on the internet seems so over used, also very long reads, I like short and simple. The opportunity, the cost, the benefits. The tips I feel everyone has the same but in reality no one is sharing anything that we don’t know already.

    I would like to concentrate on writing short and simple posts as much as possible, I realize this is not always possible. Plus, I really do not see a problem with advertising thru your blog when you do have a good review on a product you use yourself.

    Yet, everyone I’ve come across says this is a big no no!
    Anyway, I don’t want to advertise my site here! I would really appreciate your opinion on my blog though! I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong? Getting someone’s opinion is not easy! If you have the time would you visit with me?

    Thank you! Erika1Sanchez


  25. Justin Woolley Says:

    Good tip regarding proofreading Nancy. After finishing off a post, I sometimes just want to get it live as soon as possible and therefore the proofreading can suffer a bit. Even after re-reading a post a couple of times I’m still amazed by how many little mistakes seem to pop up soon after.

    Walking away and coming back later with a clear head might just do the trick, so thanks for the tip.

    Have a good one Nancy :-)


    .-= Justin Woolley´s last blog ..A Twitter Tab For Your Facebook Fan Page In 7 Easy Steps =-.


  26. Julianna Brower Says:

    This is great advice! Thanks for thye reminder to keep it professional and my all means to proofread your content before sharing!
    .-= Julianna Brower´s last blog .. =-.


  27. Jennifer Akers Says:

    Great tips, Nancy! I’ve felt that rush, but I do try to proofread my posts before hitting the publish button.

    As a writer, I’ve found it helpful to read my work out loud. It helps you recognize what you actually wrote versus what you ‘thought’ you wrote.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on consistently sloppy or careless writing. I don’t spend much time on blogs with poorly written posts. It’s hard to recognize the writer’s credibility, and too many mistakes distract me from what the writer may be trying to communicate.

    Your tips are very helpful – thank you!
    .-= Jennifer Akers´s last blog ..Upcoming Author Interviews =-.


  28. Beverly Monical Says:

    I have made this mistake before and I am a former teacher! Using spell check is so easy and we all should use it.When I had someone, kindly, point out some grammar mistakes, I was very embarrassed but thankful at the same time.
    If we want to get known, let’s not get known as the poor speller. :)


  29. Mary Lou Kayser Says:

    Hi Nancy,
    Wow, what a TERRIFIC post! As a former English teacher of 15 years, I am with you 100% on everything you wrote here. I would like to add another grammatical error I see far too often:

    “then” is not the same as “than”

    “then” suggests progression, something will follow, such as “I went to the movies, then to the restaurant.”

    “than” is used in comparison situations: “I would rather eat a hamburger than a hot dog.”

    I see people using “then” for “than” all the time and it drives me nuts. I know, I can’t help myself…all those years of training drilled into my head.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I appreciate your blog, and I appreciate you! I love your spark!

    Mary Lou
    .-= Mary Lou Kayser´s last blog ..A Sneaky Way to Burn Extra Calories throughout the Day without Even Trying =-.


    Admin Reply:

    Dear Mary Lou,

    It is always great to have a kindred spitit! Thanks for the “then/than” suggestion! I’m going to take the liberty of adding it to the post (with credits to you of course). I am so grateful that you are visiting my blog! Hope that we can connect soon!

    Mentor Mama


  30. Karen King Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    This is a great post! My “Mamma dint rase no hick” so I sure don’t want to sound like one. I love spell-check but you are right; one still has to proof read for all the reasons you noted. Have you ever noticed that spell-check has a sense of humor? It often asks me if I mean some of the funniest things.
    My youngest daughter is constantly texting on her cell phone and uses many abbreviations, lingo, and symbols. I remind her that when she is on the computer and is sending a “real” email, good grammar is important and she should set a good example for her friends. I also want to hear proper English coming out of her mouth. I sure hope I am using good grammar in my reply.

    Thanks for the great post!



  31. Admin Says:

    Thank you Lloyd and Jerry for supporting my campaign for better fundamentals! LOL!

    Mentor Mama


  32. Admin Says:

    So grateful to all who have contributed to this article by leaving a comment! I appreciate your insightful comments and your support for my blog!

    Mentor Mama


  33. Kellie Hosaka Says:

    Aloha Nancy,

    This is the first post which I have seen detail some of the basic English rules we learned in school. You said you were a lawyer right? Very cool!

    Thank you for the review! I’m one who didn’t do well in English! Let me know all the mistakes you find in my blog posts!…heehee :)

    Much aloha,
    Kellie :)
    Kellie Hosaka´s last [type] ..Dreams Can Come True By Following The Road To Success



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