GrammarPhile Blog

How to Fix the 10 Biggest Problems with Your B2B Marketing Content

Posted by Sara Richmond   Jun 6, 2024 9:00:00 AM

We don’t believe in simply whining about problems. We’d rather be part of the solution. To that aim, here’s the follow-up to our last post on The 10 Biggest Problems with Most B2B Marketing Content.

If you find your B2B marketing content lackluster, ineffective, or willy-nilly to the detriment of your sales, your marketing team’s motivation, and your sanity, check out our suggestions for fixing the 10 most-common problems we’ve observed in B2B marketing content.

How to Fix the 10 Biggest Problems with Your B2B Marketing Content

1. Get and give clarity. Answer the five “W” questions (who, what, when, where, and why) in as basic terms as possible, internally. Apply those answers to all your customer-facing messaging, with an emphasis on the most succinct answers to the following three questions:
  • What is our product/service/offer?
  • Who does it help? (Who are you trying to talk to? Who is your ideal customer?)
  • Why does it matter? (If potential customers don’t identify with your purpose, benefits, values, differentiators, etc., then you’ll be hard put to make them loyal.)

2. Set aside your ego and fear of not being taken seriously. Being personable and an expert aren’t mutually exclusive. If you take stock of major pitfalls of the digital age, they generally revolve around a lack of humanity and healthy relationships, including between businesses and their clients. The most feared people may be monolithic enigmas, but the most loved people (and companies and brands) are the ones who treat others well while allowing themselves to be truly known.

Read More

Topics: b2b writing help, b2b marketing content

The 10 Biggest Problems with Most B2B Marketing Content

Posted by Sara Richmond   May 23, 2024 11:00:00 AM

Aka The Lime-Green Lycra Bodysuit

Read More

Topics: b2b marketing content

Editing AI-Generated Text

Posted by Sara Richmond   May 9, 2024 9:45:00 AM

There’s a common joke among writers: “It’s easier to start over than to copyedit.”

Nobody laughs at the joke. They mostly just nod their heads, as if to say, “It’s funny cause it’s true.” Copyediting poor writing is a little like trying to clean a hoarded house without removing the hoard beforehand.

The interesting bit about that joke is that it came about in response to human writing, and not even necessarily poor writing. But it applies to AI-generated copy as well.

As a team of writers, proofreaders, editors, copywriters, and copyeditors who’ve seen the good, the bad, and the dreadful across nearly every industry, organization size, and type of content imaginable, we feel compelled to reveal a few downsides.

The Downsides of AI-Generated Text

We understand the impetus for using AI-generated copy. It’s fast; it’s cheap; it’s easy. It doesn’t talk back.

But these aren’t hypothetical downsides. They’re not reactive, “We’re afraid for our jobs” types. They’re not projected insecurity (i.e., “A machine can write better than moi? Better blow it to pieces.”). These are downsides we’ve already encountered, many times.

For example, consider a proposal one of our beloved clients recently submitted. We are intimately familiar with their voice, their products, their style guide, their content types, and their business model. It was immediately clear that the copy was AI-generated. It was also clear that to move it from what ranged between awkward and nonsensical to succinct and logical, we couldn’t just proofread it. We had to copyedit it…heavily.

Upon review, we made an estimated 5 times as many necessary edits as normal for jobs of the same length from this client. Oof.

Read More

Topics: artificial intelligence, AI

10 of the Most Embarrassing Political Content Errors

Posted by Sara Richmond   Apr 25, 2024 10:00:00 AM

Aka Becoming Famous for “Potatoe”*

Imagine your name is Phil. To make this theoretical scenario more believable, let’s give you a last name: Jamieson.

Phil Jamieson. I just pulled that out of thin air.

I want you to be able to picture yourself clearly, so I’ll say you’re 6'8" and you have a dashing head of hair. You’re also running for Congress, Phil. You need votes, lots of them.

You hire a brilliant political campaign manager with years of experience. She knows all the slick moves, all the ways to undercut your opponents, every smart strategy behind plowing your way to the top.

Your campaign manager picks a brilliant theme song (Born in the U.S.A.) and outlines a content production plan, including ads for every medium, compelling speeches, and made-in-Hallmark photo ops. She’s got the 411 on every development in your opponents’ campaigns before they happen. She’s a regular networking powerhouse. She’s even got the dirt—the sleezy shenanigans the other side doesn’t want anybody to know about—in her back pocket. In other words, Phil, you’re a shoo-in.

And then it all falls apart.

Because your ads are full of snafus. They’re rife with redundancies. They’re torn asunder by typos.

Read More

When You Can’t See the Trees Because You Planted a Forest

Posted by Sara Richmond   Apr 11, 2024 12:00:00 PM

I used to proofread my text messages. I’d use proper punctuation, fix all autocorrect atrocities, and even insert paragraph breaks.

Those days are long past.

Now, some of my friends and closest family members get texts along the lines of “Need graspy straws. Blogget can’t find tham. Good nigbt.” with a follow-up text of “Interpret as needed. ‘Talk to text’ is a dum-dum.’” (I’ve converted the swear words for the sake of propriety.)

Why do I tell text recipients to “ignore typos” almost as often as I create a typo? Because I text a lot more often. I write a lot more often. My fingers and mouth are steady streams of words.

And when you write a lot of words—especially when you have to do so quickly—errors are inevitable.

But I have a dirty little confession (one that’s in your dingy back pocket too if you’d let anybody see it): While volume and speed are rife with error-prone possibilities, the truth is that proofing your own writing is like trying to pinpoint your character flaws while gossiping about your trainwreck of a neighbor.

It don’t work good.

When you plant a whole forest, picking your way through the trees produces blindness—to the roots, the diseases, the limbs akimbo—to all the details. And the more times you pick through those woods, the hazier the view.

Read More

Topics: proofreading, proofreading quality

8 Writing Errors That Can Ruin Your Law Firm’s Credibility

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 28, 2024 8:01:00 AM

The legal field rests upon evidence and precedence. We respect that, because so do we.

We’ve proofread and copyedited (easily) tens of thousands of legal documents in the past 20+ years. Often dozens of legal and legal marketing documents in a single day:

Website copy, newsletters, press releases, pleadings, motions, briefs, blog posts, practice descriptions, emails, event/webinar invitations, internal communications, special reports, pitch decks/collateral, slide presentations, correspondence, miscellaneous court filings, RFP responses, and more.

The unfortunate verdict is in: Legal marketing teams and lawyers/attorneys, even at (especially at?) the largest of firms, commit a lot of writing errors.

The sheer volume of daily documentation flowing through the typical law firm is staggering. Combine that volume with the perpetual race against the clock that defines many law firm environments and it’s easy to see why writing quality and proofreading bandwidth suffer.

Our most recent survey of completed legal proofreading jobs revealed an average of 118 errors per document, ranging from 39 to 191 errors. (Have mercy, Your Honor.)

While typos aren’t capital offenses, they are an easy but preventable way to ruin your credibility, embarrass your firm, drive away prospective clients, annoy a judge, and damage or even destroy a case (here are nine such examples).

Read More

Topics: legal proofreading, proofreading for legal documents

Their, There, and They're: The Difference

Posted by Sara Richmond   Mar 6, 2024 11:11:18 AM

If you’ve wondered whether someone created these often-confused words just to torture English-speaking people, you’re not alone.

“Their,” “there,” and “they’re” are:

  • Pronounced the same.
  • Spelled similarly (the first three letters are identical).
  • Confused by Spell Check—four times as I wrote this blog post, for example.
  • Used incorrectly in the wild all the time. (If you read a mistake often enough, or only ever hear/see a grammar mistake, you may just think it’s correct. This happened to me while growing up with home vs. hone, towards vs. toward, and chomping vs. champing.)

To sum up: We’re screwed.

I’m kidding. Let’s take about three minutes to rewire your brain so you never struggle with using “their,” “there,” and “they’re” correctly again.

Read More

Topics: they're, their, there

Did You Ace Our Spelling Quiz?

Posted by Sara Richmond   Feb 15, 2024 9:15:00 AM

 

(Most People Couldn’t)

If you took our most recent spelling quiz and were disappointed with your score or confused by the answers, this post is for you.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of the right answers, the wrong answers, and definitions/examples of both.

 

A Breakdown of the Spelling Quiz That Tripped Up a Bunch of Smart Professionals

  1. Anchors away/aweigh, my boys!

WRONG – away: The captain isn’t telling sailors to put the anchor in their pocket.

✔️RIGHT – aweigh: To “weigh anchor” means to lift an anchor in preparation for sailing (and in doing so, you find out how much the anchor weighs, hence the saying). In other words, “Let’s go!”

  1. She has a flair/flare for impressing juries.

WRONG – flare: That thing you light when your ship is headed to Davey Jones’ locker or your car is disabled. Please don’t use them in court.

              ✔️  RIGHT – flair: A unique talent or style.

Read More

Topics: word quiz, vocabulary quiz

Can You Ace This Spelling Quiz? Part 3

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Feb 1, 2024 8:00:00 AM

(Most People Can’t)

This is part 3 of a spelling quiz we recently posed to a group of highly educated legal marketing and business development professionals at an annual conference. They were sure they could ace our questions—after all, communication is the foundation of their businesses.

Guess what?

Many of them made mistakes! In fact, many of them made the same mistakes! They were astounded.

So here’s our challenge: See if you can do better. Then tell us about it in the comments.

Read More

Topics: word quiz, vocabulary quiz

What Proofreaders Can’t Do

Posted by Sara Richmond   Jan 11, 2024 7:30:00 AM

Proofreading Doesn’t Fix All the Boo-Boos

If you hire a person to paint your kitchen cabinets, you wouldn’t expect them to renovate your entire kitchen for free. If you go to the dentist for a semiannual cleaning, you wouldn’t blame them for your cavities and expect them to drill them at no cost. If you take a driver’s ed course, you wouldn’t be ticked your instructor didn’t offer to become your complimentary chauffeur.

If we’re wrong, we suggest you read this or this instead.

In the same way, proofreading can do a lot to improve your writing, but some tasks are simply beyond its scope. This isn’t due to a lack of motivation—most proofreaders are overeager to provide great value and exceed your expectations. This limitation is simply a matter of definition—what proofreading is and what it isn’t.

What Proofreading Doesn’t Address

Formatting and Layout

Proofreaders work with the text, not the packaging—that’s a job better suited to a graphic designer. Your software or platform or final file type may have different formatting anyway. And trust us when we say you don’t want people with bubkes in graphic design experience fiddling with your darlings.

Web or Copy Design

We aren’t programmers or web designers, so we won’t make changes directly to your website. This is for your protection and sanity. In addition to being outside the scope of a proofreader’s duties, that sort of arrangement can create security concerns and bring ruin to your day. Your IT department will second that emotion (loudly and angrily).

Read More

Topics: proofreader, professional proofreading

Subscribe to Email Updates

Sign up for our emails!

Sign Up

Search Our Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all