When I was at school there was an awful lot of importance put on spelling, grammar and punctuation. I was taught that it mattered.
Making errors in your CV denied you a job and no one wants to be the proud owner of a misspelt tattoo. I admit that I live by the rule of ‘if in doubt add a comma’ but with spell check available for pretty much EVERYTHING we type, spelling errors are inexcusably lazy and show a real lack of focus.
But the internet is littered with stupid people. Terrible phonetic spelling over populates forums and social networks – just wander onto any page on YouTube for an example. This awful misuse of the English language is creeping out even further. It used to be that every so often you would notice a typo in something – and as someone that used to produce and proof read an 80 page catalogue every month, let me tell you it happens occasionally – even if you possess the eyes of a hawk. But there are also unforgivable, blatantly lazy or ignorant spelling errors in brand email newsletters, web copy and social media statuses.
Yesterday I received an email from a client who had subscribed to a competitor’s mailing list. The newsletter they had received was littered with spelling errors – simple, easy to identify errors. Oh, how we laughed. It reeked of a lazy copywriter who couldn’t be bothered to proof read and took no pride in the words they’d written. If that’s the case, why should they take any care in the product or service they are selling you?
But for some, there is big opportunity in spelling errors. Typosquatting is when someone registers a misspelling of a brand or trademark term in an attempt to capture traffic. This even works on social networks too – @justinbieber has over 46 million followers whilst the misspelt @justinbeiber (with only two tweets) has just over 200,000 followers. When thinking about hashtags, URLs and usernames – spelling totally matters.
There are some interesting stats here regarding major brands and their errors on LinkedIn. Ford made 0.5 errors every 100 words, whilst Facebook made 4.3. It may not have hurt Facebook so far but then again their website is full of sum propa bd errorz lik dis, so it’s hardly surprising (unlike finding out that Microsoft Office once tweeted YOLO). The worst thing is that these kind of errors don’t take much to correct but do reflect terribly on brands.
Ask yourself how you would react to a piece of marketing that no one has bothered to proof read. What does that say about the brand? There are statistics that claim online sales can be reduced by up to 50% because of a spelling mistake. Whether that’s true or not, it’s certainly not worth finding out…