Avoid Common Mistakes Businesses Make in Writing

In every business, writing can be used to help create a professional company presence online, market its products and services, and communicate processes internally.

Unfortunately, there are many writing mistakes companies frequently make that hurt these goals. Here are some common mistakes to look out for and what you should do instead.

Mistake #1: Copy Existing Content

It’s tempting to duplicate written content from a vendor or supplier to use as a product description on your website. In fact, many textile, manufacturing, and wholesale companies regularly copy the content from vendor catalogs to use as product descriptions. If you use the content that already exists, this can be problematic.

Not having original content hurts your website’s search engine rankings. Plus, generic content isn’t in your brand’s voice or written to your specific customers. Investing in your company’s original content can help to better utilize SEO best practices, raise search engine rankings, cultivate strong branding, and engage customers.

Mistake #2: Don’t Utilize Email Subscriber List

Many businesses collect email addresses for customers and leads but fail to send out emails. If they eventually get the time to send out an email, so much time has passed that subscribers unsubscribe from the list because they forgot they signed up. This is why it’s key to send out emails regularly, especially to new subscribers.

There are a few types of emails that you should write and send to subscribers. Some of the most common emails you can create include:

  • Welcome emails to new subscribers.
  • Monthly newsletters.
  • Autoresponder campaigns.
  • Customer educational campaigns.
  • Sales and coupons.

Mistake #3: Don’t Update Business and Marketing Plans

Business and marketing plans are important written documents that should guide the operations of your company. Some companies start without ever creating a business or marketing plan, while others never update its content. A business plan should cover how your business will operate, its mission statement, its vision for the future, and how it will hire staff, among other important criteria. It can serve as a reference for your business as you make important decisions and help obtain financing if needed.

When it comes to marketing plans, you must update it any time you want to use a new marketing channel, add a new product or service, or at least annually. Your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of competitors will change, so it’s important you update it even if your business hasn’t changed. You want to make sure this document aligns with your current marketing plans.

Mistake #4: Underestimate the Impact of Typos

Many business owners and marketing writers underestimate the impact that typos and other spelling errors have on their business. Let’s say you’re interacting by email with a possible lead. You write a quick email back from your phone that’s full of typos. Your contact points it out and you apologize. Will this lead think your company is as professional as they thought prior to this exchange? Probably not.

Too often, we prioritize speed and responsiveness over spelling errors. While it’s important to be responsive, accuracy and professionalism matter tremendously to your customers and other contacts. When we see typos in written content sent to us, it’s easy to think that communicating with us wasn’t so important to the person who wrote the message since it was written carelessly and with haste. It may also force us to question the credibility of the other person.

Mistake #5: Have Minimal Website Content

You know you need a website for your business, but how important is the content? It’s incredibly important. Too many business owners put up a message that says the content is “in progress” or “under construction” for an indefinite period of time. Not only does this do very little to help visitors understand what your company can do for them, you end up paying for a website that your business isn’t really utilizing.

At the very least, it’s important to have a strong home page, about us page, and a services or products page so online visitors learn more about your company from your website. This will not be enough for excellent search engine rankings but it’s better than nothing. Customers expect businesses to have websites.

Mistake #6: Sharing Links on Social Media without Context

It’s tempting to just hit the “Share” button on a social media post you find for your company’s social media accounts or simply copy and paste an interesting link. If you think about the pages and groups you interact with most, do they simply share existing content without any written commentary? Probably not.

Whenever you create a social media post on behalf of your company, you want to include at least two sentences in the post that gives those on social media a sampling of your brand’s voice and the context for the post. This typically includes one sentence about what the article is about and why it matters to your audience. Then it includes a call to action letting them know to click the link to read the article or perhaps to sign up for services from your company.

For instance, it would be a smart idea for a plumbing company to share an article about the high costs of replacing an old home’s pipes on its social media page. Without any context, followers might just read the article. With some written copy about how expensive replacing pipes is and how proactive maintenance can reduce these costs, the social media post could have a lot more impact.

Mistake #7: Send Out Template Emails

Using a template can save you time and make it easier to follow up with important contacts. Some templates are so obviously templated that you might as well not send the email out at all. Nobody wants to be the recipient of what they suspect is a mass email or spam. The worst is when the sender forgets to replace the templated information and a sentence reads: “Hello {first name}, I was on your company’s website {website name} …” If you choose to use an email template, make sure to inspect each one to ensure that the mail merge was successful. Even better, always add some personalized content to your emails and only use the template as a guide to what kind of information you should include.

Mistake #8: Undervalue Writers

You wouldn’t hire an electrician to perform a surgery. You wouldn’t want a business owner to coach golfers unless the business owner was a golf coach. It’s somewhat crazy that so many business owners feel they can also be professional writers.

Many business owners try to write important marketing documents and digital campaigns but wonder why the campaigns didn’t convert the way they expected. Others try to find the cheapest writer to which they can outsource, simply because they don’t see the value in paying writers a lot of money for their skills. This often doesn’t work as well as some business owners hope.

Mistake #9: Target Too Broad a Market

It’s simpler to think that every person, no matter their location, income bracket, or demographic, is a potential customer for your business. Many businesses make this costly mistake and try to gear their written content toward everyone instead of their target market. This is terrible advice, since the generic and broad content you generate won’t engage your actual target market the same way.

For instance, a high end, expensive, and hypoallergenic line of anti-aging products wouldn’t likely be of interest to male ranch hands in their 20s who live paycheck to paycheck. This isn’t a realistic customer for this type of company, yet many marketing teams fear about writing content that’s too female or targeted to older, wealthier women because it might make this other type of person less interested in buying. Marketing copy written more specifically for older, more affluent women with an interest in hypoallergenic, anti-aging products would perform much better.

Mistake #10: Contradictions and Credibility

It’s natural that things change quickly in business. It’s important that anything you write and have written in the past for the business reflect the most accurate information. You don’t want to have areas of written content about your business that contradicts itself. For instance, on your website’s about us page, you wrote about how you provide 24/7 service for clients but on your contact page, it lists hours when your team is available. This contradicts itself and can hurt your business’s credibility.

Writing is an important tool for every business. Even if your business does not provide writing services, the written content on its website, social media accounts, Google Ads campaigns, brochures, blogs, and emails reflect your company. You can never underestimate the power of the written word.M

Melanie G.

Melanie G. is a freelance writer and editor living in Tampa, Florida. She's freelanced full-time since she left her writing job at Nielsen in 2012.

Catch up on the rest of your content marketing news and strategy

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This