Spell Check, Auto Correct and Human Error: Which is More Accurate?

digitalart at freedigitalphotos.netWriting is a task that has haunted many of us throughout our lives. It started with all those essay-writing classes in high school and college. As we slogged through the horror and boredom of writing a persuasive essay on school uniforms, we wondered what possible use this would have when we grew up.

Now that you own a business, you know: we must write convincing messages to attract our audience.

The stakes are much higher too: a paycheck vs a grade.

We always seek ways to make writing easier, but despite the inventions, it’s one of those tasks that will continue to require personal attention. Consider the following paragraph:

Deer Fiends,

I’m righting today to explain the importance of spelling and grammar. Too many people really on spell check. Adz you can see it isn’t reliable. How due ewe feel reading this? Ids it confusing? Too many people right fast than hit sent. Allot of use don’t like two right. Or you won off them? Unless you love to right, it’s a chore and most business owners don’t want two spend to mush thyme. Shore, this is an extreme example, but it represents the value of care fool writing and rereading.

Terrible, right? However, this passes all the ‘check’ features. Even though we try to set aside some undisturbed time to create our content, interferences often occur. Plus, if we are running behind schedule and the writer’s overwhelm builds up, then the tendency is to just write then hit send. How many times have you spotted your own errors just after hitting send?

To avoid these mistakes, try one or all of these ideas to help:

Ideas come at any time; have a notepad and pen available to scribble your ideas down. Don’t lose that thought. Now is a good time to write fast.

Just write: while this can be detrimental when we’re in a hurry, when you are initially writing a blog, a letter or even an email, it’s okay to write fast. That way you’re one brain cell ahead of the internal editor.

For emails: add the recipient’s address at the end. It’s too easy to be in the midst of an email draft and accidentally hit send. Ugh! After your e-signature is added, then it’s safe to add the email address and hit send.

Let it simmer: yes, we’re all in a hurry, but stepping away from your computer long enough to stretch your muscles or get a drink is enough time to cleanse the mental palate. Return to your document and reread. How many errors did you catch?

Is it lengthy? The longer the document, the easier it is to miss our own mistakes. During your simmer stage, let a co-worker read your work. Let him or her make the changes or send the work back with track changes. It may slow the progress—a little—but this step eliminates the embarrassing mistakes, and the potential to lose your audience.

It’s normal to make mistakes, but when it comes to business writing, don’t rely on spell check for your messages. The human touch is your best tool.

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit goes to digitalart of freedigitalphotos.net

Social Media vs. Email: Which Content Plan Works Best for You?

Online Mkg by Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.netThis topic comes to you courtesy of MediaPost.com and their recent article entitled, Hoping for Social: Depending on Email and based on the 2015 Marketing Trends infographic at Strongview.com. The article opens by saying “Social media is the second most popular marketing tactic…” Though the article is based on research of companies with at least 100 employees, my question is how do small businesses and entrepreneurs factor in social media and email into their marketing efforts?

According to the article, for the companies with all those great employees, their biggest obstacles related to social media success are:

  • employee skills
  • measuring effectiveness
  • creating a strategy

As small business owners, we’re often a one-man-band handling these same issues on our own.

The set-up: Most of us have the standard social media plan: LinkedIn, Facebook business page and Twitter. Those who are really savvy probably have a YouTube account, Google+ and Pinterest, but how effective are these for you? Which are you actively involved in? Which platform best reaches out to your target audience?

And how does this compare to your email marketing activities?

Of all the methods just mentioned, email is the oldest form of online communication—but not by much. We are all capable of sending and receiving emails that we now prefer email contact over cold calling or follow-up phone calls. Just as with the larger companies, email marketing is an easy way to keep up with customers and connections. Social media is quickly growing to be the top outreach method, but we just aren’t comfortable with it yet.

It’s all about comfort: For me, blogging and emailing are my two main activities for keeping in touch. It could be because I’m a writer and I’m very comfortable writing. The important thing to remember is to go where your ideal audience is and to do what makes you comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone takes time, but it will come if it’s important to you, your audience and your business.

And ease: My social media activities are focused on LinkedIn. Why? Because—for me—it’s an easy and immediate way to connect with people I meet through local networking groups and national organizations. From there, I extend those relationships by joining LinkedIn groups that complement my specific audiences. It takes time, but this activity has created business for me. The other platforms (and yes, I have accounts in all those mentioned above), are slowly working their way into my monthly agenda. However, it’s a matter of comfort, familiarity, and scheduling that keeps me focused on what works. But remember: what works for me, may not work for you—and that’s okay!

As small business owners, what are your social media and email preferences? Which marketing tactic is your strength? Why? What plans do you have for branching out in 2015? Please leave your comments and ideas in the section below. I’d like to write a follow-up to MediaPost’s article, but from the point of view of small, one-man-band business owners.

And if you’re considering LinkedIn for your 2015 marketing plan and would like to update or improve your profile, I’m offering $50 off profile writing services (regularly $325).

Happy writing—and reaching out!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit: Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net