1. The document isn’t in the correct format
It’s easiest to read content on the internet in “web format.” This means there are no indentions or “tabs.” There should be extra spaces between paragraphs. One good example is the format of this blog. If it is not a document meant to be read on the internet, normal spacing between paragraphs, double spacing between lines and indenting are the norm.
2. Grammar errors
Sometimes a simple spell check will suffice. Other times, one needs to look up rules that are unfamiliar. There is a lot of sloppy writing that uses poor grammar skills on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Proofread everything you write. If you know you tend to misspell words and you are typing it into a window that doesn’t check spelling, type it into a program like Microsoft Word that does this for you.
Some rules of grammar are meant to be broken, but it is important to start with a foundational knowledge and break a rule consistently if one chooses to do so. Because there is some leniency in style, it is also important to choose a specific style, whether it be MLA, the Chicago Manual of Style or an in-house style. One example of this would be whether to capitalize every word in the title of a blog post for every blog post, or only the first word. Another example might be whether to use period at the end of sentences in a bullet point list.
4. Too much variety in formatting
Simplicity is always best. Combining italics, multiple fonts, bold, underlining, multiple sizes, emphasizing in all CAPS and other font styles can be distraction. Topography classes teach that too many techniques reek of amateur abilities. Choose a couple styles. Keep it consistent.
5. Annoying broken record
If someone uses social media only to talk about their products again and again without bringing any new, interesting or relevant information to fans, friends or potential clients, people are going to get sick of reading your posts. Are your social media posts like spam that people ignore or delete, or is there valuable information about topics you might have in common? New relationships can be born out of someone finding your blog posts and social media posts relevant.
6. The content is boring
This might be because there is no hook. Something of interest is needed to draw someone in. Sure, it makes a difference if you are marketing your website, blog or product to the correct audience, but that is only the start. Is your product or services presented in a way that will appeal to your audience? Do you have relevant content that describes what your potential buyers or clients will want to know? Do you link to sources and reviews with tips that people buying your product would be interested in? Boring content by far one of the most challenging hurtles to jump over. It takes a lot of creativity and that’s why many people hire advertising firms.
These are by no means the only problems you might find out there in social media writing, but it is a few to get you started. Stay tuned for next month’s post on common grammatical errors you can find in your own writing so that you can create professional posts.