How to improve your brand’s perception by fixing inconsistent and poorly structured writing

by Joe Kuzma ( joe_kuzma)

When writing blog posts, I know that many people worry about things such as spelling or the length of the article. However, one typo won’t get you in hot water so much as the structure of your article. That is, the overall presentation of your writing is just as important as spelling and grammar.

If you’re using some of the tips I’ve suggested while typing your blog posts, spelling and grammar shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Programs such as Microsoft Word or Grammarly will often correct punctuation as well, but what they lack is the eyeball test for readability and consistency.

Below are some of the items I see standout when editing articles. Looking out for these potential inconsistencies will improve your articles and their readability while also giving a boost to your brand’s perception. (Note: these same tips can be followed when posting to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.)

Commas, periods and punctuation

This is something I even struggle with to this day, but it’s not something that can be easily fixed. Running your text through an application like Word or Grammarly will root out errant uses of commas, colons, and semicolons. Ditto for periods (or missing periods).

Consistent lists and headers

One note about periods, however, is that you may not want to use them in headlines or bullet lists. If you do, be consistent and make sure that either all of those items follow the same pattern.

Proper case, title case, and sentence case

Here’s another tip for those headers: make sure they’re following the same case structure. If something is a proper title, make sure that it’s also in proper case throughout your entire article. If you’re unsure if something should be made into proper case, a quick Google search is your friend.

Hyphens

The overuse of hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes can also plague your article and make it unpleasant to your reader’s eyes. Be careful to only use these conventions as necessary.

Run-on sentences

Another bugaboo of mine are sentences that never stop. If you find yourself adding words such as “and”, “but”, or “or”, you may want to consider breaking those sentences off at that point and ending them with a period; then start the next set of words as a new sentence.

Think of this as the equivalent to stopping to take a breath while running: give your readers a short break by using natural breaks within your writing.

Formal vs. informal writing

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m big on having a writing style. That is, I don’t want to bore my own readers to death by not being somewhat entertaining and down-to-Earth. However, it can be overdone and in either direction.

If your writing is akin to reading a technical manual of fixing an automobile, you may want to inject some of your personality into it.

If your writing is similar to a phone call, with lots of “so’s”, “just’s”, or “really’s” you’ll want to go in and tame it. Also, be wary when using slang: consider whether your audience understands what is you’re trying to convey. It may be best to stick with formality in those situations.

Hello! My name is Joe Kuzma, and if you’re reading this, thank you! I’m pleased to virtually meet you and I hope we get to know one another well throughout this crazy journey of producing content.

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