I recently ran into a forum post by my networking associate, branding expert Vincent Wright, which really attracted my attention. Wright sought out advice from a highly regarded branding professional and was understandably struck by a “very palpable typo” on his website. (On top of that, he was unable to contact this person about the typo due to an invalid email address – so, double whammy. Read his full account here.)

The bottom line: typos are bad for brands and bad for business. Period. There’s just no excuse for these errors, especially considering the modern prevalence of spell check functionality.

What Typos and Grammatical Errors Say About You and Your Brand:

I Lack Attention to Detail
You’re presenting your PowerPoint presentation to a potential investor. Your investors immediately notice typos in your slides and it’s becoming increasingly distracting from your talk. They begin to speculate on your business plan: what other details have been smudged or omitted? In the end, you lose your investment opportunity and your brand’s reputation is tarnished.

I’m a Hack
Strong brands and strong business relationships are built on credibility and trust. When you’re truly an expert in your field, you need to exude your expertise in everything you do. A website riddled with typos and grammatical errors could just as well be the craftsmanship of a twelve-year-old.

I Lack Communication Skills
Strong brands and strong business relationships are also built on the ability to accurately convey information. Considering the extensive amount of business conducted online, your typos and grammatical errors on your website translate to a lack of ability to communicate in general. This means you’re a risky prospect and that doesn’t bode well for your business.

I’m Unprofessional, Lazy and Sloppy
A potential client visits your consulting website to obtain your curriculum vitae (CV). They see you’re quite qualified for their project, but they notice a few (albeit minor) spelling mistakes. Another candidate is just as qualified, but her CV contains no errors. In the end, you’re passed over for the job because what your CV really says is I don’t care. Again, certain brand damage.

What You Can Do To Improve Your Spelling and Grammar – and Your Brand:

• Always Use Spell Check – Be on the lookout for homophones and small errors; spell check isn’t a catchall.

• Have a person you trust proofread – Another set of eyes can help spot errors your brain skips over.

• Use Trusted Internet Sources on Best Writing Practices – Personally I’m a big fan of Copyblogger and Grammar Girl.

• Hire an Experienced Copywriter

Wright explains, “With the abundance of writing we do every day, we all make mistakes in posts, tweets, and status updates. Those are forgivable.” This is true, but I also agree with Wright in that, when it comes to web content and other written elements of your business, “Typos do affect branding!”

What are your thoughts?

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