Perusing through some articles, in groups I belong to on LinkedIn, I was appalled by the number of spelling errors.

For example:

-Wear vs. Where
-There vs. Their

Yes, these are homonyms that spellcheck would not catch, but shouldn't you?

Other common typos:

-To vs. Too
-Than vs. Then
-Lose vs. Loose
-Your vs. You're
-It's vs. Its

Of course the list could go on. When did it become acceptable to publish content with these types of errors?

Do people and organizations take online publications as seriously as they do offline publications? Seemingly not.

I would argue, however, that your online presence is just as crucial and sometimes more crucial than your offline one. Why? Now, more than ever before, people are finding companies online first, before anywhere else.

If the first impression a potential client has of your business is less than professional, what does that say about your organization as a whole?

Take the time to proofread, or make sure someone on your staff is doing it regularly and doing it well. Keep in mind that spellcheck only catches certain errors, so there's still some human proofreading element required.

This rule applies to content that goes on your website, your blog, and your social media posts - in addition, of course, to the traditionally published content you distribute.

Franchisors, keep in mind that everything your franchisees publish both online and offline is a reflection of the brand as a whole. Make sure your franchisees understand the importance of proofreading.

It may mean that in order to maintain that level of professionalism in your online communications, more content has to be generated from a central source.

The bottom line is...it's absolutely imperative that you establish a company policy and practices to guarantee a high quality of content in both online and offline publications.

This will help ensure that the first impression you make is a professional one, regardless of where it happens.

(For those of you shouting to yourselves, "Here she is talking about writing properly and proofreading, and she used a sentence fragment in this article," this comment is for you:

Yes, I used a sentence fragment in the article, and I used it intentionally to make a point. It's a writer's stylistic freedom to know the rules and break them when it fits. The key, however, is to knowing them well and breaking them only when it's with great intention.)

1 Basic Tip: Read your copy out loud and slowly to another person. You will catch your errors and improve the sound of your written word.

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Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

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