Increasingly many adults and young people find it difficult to spell the easiest of words such as ‘definitely,’ or they use the wrong spelling of a word for their sentence; for example: ‘I’m going over their’ instead of ‘I’m going over there.’
This comes as no surprise since around 16% of UK adults are ‘functionally illiterate’ and unable to read or write. Those with exceptional literacy skills are in the top minority. This implies that those with an average ability are likely to fit into a category where basic spelling and grammar mistakes are common.
Part of the reason that basic mistakes can get past the printer, is the widespread use of spelling and grammar ‘proofing’ tools that often come as part of the Word package and other similar software. The reliance on these tools is not a replacement for education in the written word which is why many mistakes – that often pass the ‘proofing’ – are unrecognised by users and therefore encourages them to be lazy.
This lack of basic literacy skills for some can cause problems in the workplace: being able to read and write has consequences for following instructions or completing business-critical paperwork. Being able to communicate using the written word effectively with colleagues is also limited by such inability.
For marketers, controlling the standards of content that is created and distributed is essential. Poor spelling, grammar and punctuation can reflect badly on a brand and is often mocked by both target and wider audiences. Whilst brand exposure is generally a positive thing, in this context it’s probably not going to generate the desired revenue.
Even if you believe your business teams, responsible for producing materials that the general public will see, are full of people who are good at writing, the chances are that they will still make basic mistakes. Sometimes, being ‘too close’ to the work you are doing can mean mistakes are overlooked. One solution to this problem is to employ the services of a content specialist (proof reader) who can ensure the accuracy of your work as well as making sure that it reflects your brand values correctly.
If you are writing anything that you feel needs another pair of eyes to look at it and check that the spelling is correct, that the grammar is correct and that all the punctuation is in the right place before it goes out into the wide world, then get in touch today to see how I can help you.