Bad writing in business copy is obnoxiously easy to find.
Most people simply don’t have the training or the experience to write well-tuned, well-read phrases.
I’m not just talking about proper grammar or spelling.
I’m talking about clear, concise sentences that are a breeze to read. For those kinds of sentences, you need a Writer with a capital “W.”
(I see it all the time – on average, we interview 50 candidates per month to hire about five. Lots of candidates think they can write. Unfortunately, thinking and doing are two different things.)
Most of you out there aren’t hiring Writers. You’re hiring “writers.”
And it’s costing you money.
Let’s explore just how much. Ready? You may need to sit down for some of this, especially if you’re a business owner.
What Does Bad Writing Really Cost?
According to the New York Times, a study confirmed that one-third of employees were poor writers.
That’s not the half of it, though. Businesses spent as much as $3.1 billion on “remedial training” in order to fix the problem. The clincher? This was for current employees, not new hires.
A snippet of the original study findings and discussion via CollegeBoard
Unsurprisingly, content marketing takes a big hit from poor writing, too. Poor writers can cost you trust with your readership. That means your readership will shrink, and so will your ROI.
Your audience expects you to be knowledgeable in your industry – an authority. But, how can you come off that way if your content is riddled with mistakes? You can’t provide useful information if the words are convoluted, the ideas are unclear, or the composition is distracting you from the thoughts being presented.
Nobody wants to waste their time on poor content like that. So, why aren’t you spending the money and making the investment for better writers and better content?
If you’re trying to write it yourself, and you’re not a Writer, it’s probably “just good enough.”
Why is “just good enough” okay, though?
As it turns out, this poor level you’re accepting can be incredibly costly in ways you never imagined.
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Terrible Typo Mistakes That Cost Companies and the Government Big Money
If you’re lax about typos, you better think twice. Sometimes a comma is all it takes to put you at a disadvantage – an expensive disadvantage.
The Case of the Extra Comma
Case in point: In 1872, as a direct result of a comma inserted incorrectly in the text of a tariff law, Americans had to pay an extra $2 million in taxes. Today, that equals over $38 million.
The law stipulated items that could be imported into the U.S. tax-free. The comma, placed erroneously between the words “fruit” and “plants,” handed fruit importers a loophole on a platter. (“Fruit plants,” meanwhile, referred to seeds and plants used for cultivation, and were supposed to be the tax-free goods.)
Image via Priceonomics
The Winners: Scammers (and Google)
If you need a modern example, look to the internet, naturally.
Google supposedly earns almost $500 million every year from typos. Why?
People tend to incorrectly type website names in their search bars. But, instead of landing on an error page, they’re taken to a “typosquatter” site, which crafty people purchase for just such a purpose. These sites are loaded with Google ads. The confused web browser clicks, and the rest is in the bank.
Marketing for Dummies
For a marketing example of a costly typo, listen to what this car dealership did:
In order to invigorate poor sales, a New Mexico dealership decided to mail tens of thousands of promotional scratch tickets. Only one would contain a prize for $1000. However, the marketing company that printed the tickets made a huge error – every single one gave away the money.
In short, the car dealership would have owed $50 million to 50,000 jazzed recipients. Of course, they couldn’t pay up, so they recompensed and gave everybody $5 Walmart gift cards, instead. Though they avoided the initial damage, they still faced a loss of $250,000.
If even the smallest errors can end up being so costly, what does that mean for your company and the subpar writing you’re accepting?
You’ll have to add it up for yourself, but I’ll wager it’s much more than you ever realized. Bad writing and poor proofreading can accumulate in cost quickly.
3 Tips to Avoid Costly Writing Errors in Your Online Presence
Follow these tips to make sure you never let an expensive typo happen that will bring down your business.
1. Get an Expert Editor
If your industry is specialized, you need an expert editor who knows your platform to proofread your content. This person will have the necessary knowledge to spot errors. In particular, somebody with know-how will be able to catch the most dreaded typo of them all: the incorrect fact typo.
This happens when you’re presenting information as an authority and some of your facts are flat-out wrong. For writers unfamiliar with your industry, this is an easy sin to commit. Instead of expertise, they’ll be relying on information and facts gleaned from questionable sources.
An industry expert will have inherent knowledge due to their training, experience, and background. This type of editor can save you from costly mistakes. This includes ones that can mean losing customers, credibility, and authority.
2. Get Multiple Checkpoints
Your written content needs to pass under a few sets of eyes if you really want to avoid mistakes. Everyone reads differently, so each unique perspective will act as a filter to weed out every type of error. Whether you’re on the look-out for spelling errors, factual errors, or grammar mistakes, having more than one person looking things over will help.
This, too, is one more reason why you shouldn’t write and edit all on your own. You’ll get trapped in that box where you’re too close to the content to see the errors. You’ll miss both big and little mistakes if you do it all alone.
You know what’s easier than multiple editors, though? I have three words for you…
3. Hire Better Writers
If you want better, error-free content, you need to hire better writers. And, yes, I mean Writers with a capital “W.”
Good writers will produce good content from the beginning. This is work that will require minimal edits and minimal fuss. A good writer will additionally achieve the right tone and authoritative voice you need. That seamless flow will make your entire online presence match up seamlessly.
If you have an amateur attempting this, you’re not going to end up with anything worthy of your investment. If you’re still writing everything yourself and you don’t have the background to do it – well, why?
Why are you putting yourself through that stress? It’s hard enough for someone who calls writing their profession to craft exceptional content day in and day out. So why are you, an amateur, even attempting it?
There are so many losses from not ponying up and hiring the right people for the job. It goes beyond money in the bank and ROI.
Poor content with errors, bad writing, and mistakes may make readers take a step back. They’ll question your clout. They’ll give you side-eyes and quickly, discreetly click the “X” at the top right corner of their screen.
Are you willing to gamble like this?
Image via PictureQuotes
Better Writers = Better Content = Money Invested Wisely
Chances are, you don’t want to gamble with your writing. You’d rather put your faith in a good writer who can make you shine and soar, not stumble and fall.
Now you know what bad writing and mistakes can cost you. It may not be as dramatic as a loss worth millions of dollars. But, you won’t know the specific numbers until you turn around and hire somebody good to write for you.
When the ROI starts rolling in, then you can calculate what you missed out on before.
Here’s the period at the end of the sentence: When you invest in good writing, you’re investing in the most basic levels of communication for your business.
You’re building a solid foundation, one that will support all your other online marketing endeavors.
Isn’t that investment worth the returns?
If you’re ready to level-up your business’s writing and content, you’re in the “write” place. Express Writers has expert and authority-level writers who can just plain Write, with a capital “W.”