Grammar Mistakes & Attention to Details
Thoughts from a non-native English Copywriter
The other day a post making fun of a job ad appeared in my LinkedIn feed. The post was written by an English native complaining about a Swedish recruiter’s English — saying that their job ad made sense but should employ an English native to check for grammar mistakes, especially as one of the required skills was “attention to details”.
Fair enough, grammar mistakes are not pretty but heckling a non-native recruiter’s job ad who’s foremost job is to find the right people… nah, not having it. The purpose of the job ad is to get clicks, views and the right people to apply for the job. A few mistakes doesn’t matter unless, of course, the person they’re looking for needs to be a pompous know-it-all.
To some it might sound like I’m a lazy and careless copywriter, but over the years, as a non-native English Copywriter (who always feared I was ten steps behind the natives) I’ve come to learn some things that I would like to share.
Everyone has to write
In this fast global market everyone has to write, whether they’re native or not, and most importantly, whether they’re experienced or not. Knowing this, over at gov.uk everyone has to understand the principles of writing well for the web as everyone is employed to make information available for the users (the citizens). There’s just no time for a select few to write everything, but there might be enough time for a select few to edit. If you can’t employ editors you just have to accept that there might be mistakes because…
Yes, content is king
Content and presence is more important than being grammatically correct. Filling your website and feeds is essential to get people to take notice of you. Of course the level of content quality(storytelling, production, value, etc) will determine whether you’re successful. You want the reader to pay attention, understand your text and take action. Those are all dependent on if the content is interesting enough to make the sell.
Send them to the moon but don’t forget to reel them back in!
A bump in the road on the journey to a perfect sell
Ok, let’s pause here. Although the content is the most important and grammatical mistakes can be accepted, don’t forget that each mistake is a bump in the road on the journey to a perfect sell. You want that journey to be smooth and that’s why…
You need a process to limit mistakes
I don’t pride myself on my attention to details, but I do pride myself on having a process set up to scan for mistakes and attend to the details. As a non-native I’m always 100% sure that I will have made mistakes, so having a rigerous process of drafting and spell checking by myself and others is the key. (Not on my blog though). It’s just discipline, like Jeff Goins wrote in his The 5-Draft Method To Writing A Best-Selling Book:
The most successful creative people are also the most disciplined.