Writing great copy - whether for your website, your marketing activities or on social - is important when you're running a business. Consistent, thoughtful writing that has lovely grammar and no spelling errors is a sure way to ensure your online activities look professional.
However, it's very easy for mistakes to slip through the net, especially when you're a busy entrepreneur - with even meticulously-proofread copy often throwing up that one last pesky mistake, how can you ensure your writing is up to the best standards possible? Enter Grammarly, a tool designed to be your own personal proofreader both in documents and across the net.
Sophie Mackintosh is a freelance writer and a long-time part of the Virgin StartUp crew. With a job that requires snappy grammar and spelling on a daily basis, here she puts Grammarly to the test and explores why it's ace for startups.
Test one: Writing a blog post in the Grammarly app
You can use Grammarly in two ways: either as a Chrome plug-in (so it will check everything you type across the web), or you can use it in the Grammarly app (pictured below).
With a clean and simple layout, it's easy to spot mistakes and the app works with you in real time to keep checking. The free version of Grammarly covers the key mistakes you're likely to make - contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation - but also has the added bonus of checking your sentence structure and style. This potentially can be really helpful to those who want to write blogs, articles and website copy, but who are maybe a bit daunted by the idea or out of practice. So if you want to see clearly where there are bits of your copy that need work, you can copy and paste it into the web app (or write it directly) and see the suggestions that Grammarly has for you.
Of course, you can always take it up a notch and go for Premium. If you do make the upgrade you can benefit from services including vocabulary enhancement, plagiarism check, and a more sensitive reading of the spelling and grammar. It also gives you access to professional proofreading. However, I've found myself very impressed with the free version. I like to think that as writing is something I do every day, I'm sort of all right at it - but Grammarly still picked up a couple of small errors I made that I hadn't noticed (as well as the ones that I sneakily put in to test its skills).
Oh, and a bonus for the web app as a word processing tool? During the creation of this blog my internet went down - but the autosave function meant that my work was safe. Phew.
Test 2: Grammarly on social media
One of the key uses for Grammarly is checking your accuracy on social media. It's always best practice to get a second pair of eyes over a blog post, but with something quick and reactive like social media there's not always time for everything to be checked and double-checked - and once a tweet is out there, misspelled, the only thing you can really do is delete it.
Even when writing a tweet or a Facebook update, as you can see the Chrome plug-in automatically checks for the same spelling and grammar mistakes as it does in the web app.
This could speed up your social media activity and ensure that typos or common grammar mistakes don't slip you up when operating at full speed (so every day then, for a startup founder).
Test 3: Grammarly on email
When you're running your own business, there is a lot of email involved. Like, a lot a lot. Many of the emails are important, too - impressing potential clients, chasing invoices, promoting your business. Maintaining professionality is vital, and the quickest way to do this is to make sure that your spelling and grammar is on point. Below you can see that Grammarly quickly picks up the mistakes in the below email and highlights them clearly.
Another feature that's useful when it comes to Grammarly, whichever way you use it, is that when you click on the little red number that highlights the number of errors in your text, it expands it and explains why it's picked out this particular word. This is a useful way to naturally polish your skills over time, so you're learning whilst checking. Win-win.
Conclusion: Grammarly is a quick, easy and useful tool that provides a solid basic service for anyone who wants to ensure their spelling and grammar is of a good standard, and a very useful one for entrepreneurs to bear in mind.
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