As content marketing continues to increase in importance for businesses, writing becomes just another skill set that’s absolutely necessary to do business.

You need to publish content that’s awesome. It needs to provide value and distinguish you from the others in the search results, news feeds and Twitter streams of your readers.

Part of this is knowing how to write well, and that means grammar and spelling. Are you wishing for a blog with more comments? Misspell something. Readers will notice you, and not in a good way.

At best, these kinds of errors distract from your message. They also erode trust with your readership. Your audience may begin to wonder what you really know about your subject matter.

Lots of businesses hire an accountant to keep their books. They may want to hire a marketing writer or content editor to help distinguish them from the competition.

For the DIY business owners out there, you have a few options.

Read before you publish. Do a quick cursory read in your head to ensure things make sense. Make sure all of your its, theirs, ours and yours are in the correct form. If you don’t know, that means learning the difference.

Read your work out loud. You’d be surprised what your eyes miss and your ears catch. This is a great way to do a final copy edit for web content or blog posts. It can also help you set the tempo of your writing.

Show your writing to someone else. The more you edit your own piece the more familiar you are with it. Someone else may immediately see the error that you’ve glossed over countless times. Build relationships with your fellow bloggers and don’t be afraid to ask someone to take a quick look before you hit publish.

Pay attention to those red squiggly lines. Here’s a secret. I’m not the world’s greatest speller. The good news is that computers have taken virtually all the guess work out of the equation. When you don’t know, look it up. Run spell check. Let your computer do the grunt work, but you’re not completely off the hook. If you’re using the wrong word or the wrong form of a word, spell check is not going to catch it. You still need a decent understanding of the English language.

Don’t get caught by the proofreading police. Mistakes in your content marketing campaign can come with a price tag in lost business.

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy editor

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