Yes, it can happen, and more often than you wish. Poorly written content can ruin the image of your business, and that is not something hard to achieve.
For instance, when the director of media relations at American Cancer Society, Andrew Becker, decided to go against a campaign for a bald Barbie doll, he thought he was thoughtful. He said that it would do ‘more harm than good for kids and parents’ and explained his point of view.
As a consequence, he damaged the institution’s credibility and had to write another post, this time in the form of an apology – and almost lost his job.
Another company that had trouble with a blog post was KQED Pop. They published a post on put on how people from San Francisco could survive living in Oakland. The awkward and embarrassing suggestions – to say the least – went from avoiding almost three-quarters of the whole city.
They tried deleting the offensive parts, so to cool down the heated comments from Oakland residents, but they had to remove the post altogether and deal with a bad reputation after it.
So to avoid to see your business in the same kind of situation here is how not to ruin your image with poorly written blog posts.
# 1 – Mind your words
The first thing that you should be concerned about when writing your blog post is your vocabulary. Sometimes, only takes one word to create a big trouble. So make sure that you know which words are more likely to be understood by your target audience and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
Also, avoid euphemisms when you are aware that they will only make you sound silly. If people are unemployed, just say it so, instead of saying that they are “between jobs”. And people don’t experience a terminal episode, they just die.
# 2 – Keep it simple
But, if you are writing to a broad audience, or if you aren’t sure of which type of vocabulary suits your audience better, just keep it simple. Choose words that everybody can understand, avoid long sentences, and leave your jargon for very specific situations. This way you decrease the chances of being misinterpreted.
# 3 – Be controversial, but not offensive
Being controversial is something highly recommended while blogging. People want to read a post written by someone with strong personality and with something unique to say, and staying on the fence won’t give you that. But you should know that you can do it without being offensive.
So stay away from bad language and anything that can imply that you were writing while on angry mode. Also, avoid being judgmental and naming people directly if you aren’t an eye witness of the case. You might even end up in court for it.
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# 4 – Be careful with your jokes
You probably have imagined that the writer of the guide on living in Oakland was probably trying to be funny. But he or she forgot that the Oakland residents wouldn’t be laughing. That is to say that you should always be careful when trying to make jokes in your blog posts. Yes, it is also a great thing to put a smile on your readers’ face here and there, but bear in mind that anybody in the world can read your posts – so make sure that you know what you are doing.
# 5 – Check your grammar and spelling
Of course, nobody is going to play grammar police here and say that you are ruined for life if you misspell something in your blog post. But a writing full of mistakes won’t do you any good either, especially if you are trying to brand yourself as an expert in your area. Plus, you probably have heard of how much harm a misplaced comma can make.
So if you aren’t that confident about your grammar and spelling, hire someone or a company to proofread your work for you. It can also be a good measure if you know that you are too busy with other tasks that you might end up overlooking something.
# 6 – Check your sources
If you are writing a blog post, chances are that you will be mentioning some sources on it. It might be a statistic, or a quote, or a study. If so, make sure that you check how reliable your source is, and that you double check it afterwards. You don’t want to be the next meme on social media after spreading a fake information on the web.
# 7 – Verify your maths
Plenty of blog posts comes with calculations of this or that. You might be comparing products and saying which one costs more in the long-term or after taxes. Or you want to let your reader know what is the best way to save money or to invest their savings.
So take your time and verify that your maths are correct before publishing your post. The last thing you want is a comment box full of tips on how to calculate 2+2 – and you know how mean people can be about it.
# 8 – Prove your ideas with facts
The difference between a high-quality content and a poorly written one is the quality of the facts and ideas presented. If you just say what you think without giving any evidence to support it, you might find yourself in serious trouble in terms of credibility. Yes, you are entitled to have an opinion and to publish your insights. But they should be clearly stated as such, so people can decide if they agree with you or not.
The bottom line
As you can see, avoiding to ruin your image with poorly writing blog posts is easier than you think. It is just a question of being reasonable and careful with your words and ideas.
It might mean taking extra time verifying facts, grammar, calculations, and sources, but it will all pay off in the end. It certainly is much better to take a couple of minutes more improving the quality of your post, instead of trying to control de damage caused by a misinterpreted article.