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.
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!