When it comes to the style/substance debate relating to corporate blog writing, it felt good to have my views verified, especially by clever comic strip writer Scott Adams.
One important point I’ve been stressing in corporate blogging training sessions, not to mention in these Say It For You blog posts, is that when a blog is posted in the name of your business, you’re putting your name and your brand “out there”. You always want to be sure that poor grammar and misspelled words aren’t distracting the reader from your SEO marketing blog message.
Those blog content writers taking the other side of the argument tend to stress that since blogs are more personal than websites and brochures, the message should sound “natural” rather than stuffy. Blog readers (who don’t read carefully, anyway), they maintain, need get the general gist of what you’re saying, and that’s all that counts.
Well, in this particular Dilbert cartoon, manager Alice (with the triangular hairdo) is saying to colleague Ted, “I’m judging the quality of your business case by your bad haircut and your poor font choice,” to which Ted replies “I value substance over style.”
In a way, I think, that’s the point! You never want to have style (or lack thereof), getting between the reader and the real substance of your writing. Even punctuation can either help or hurt the “cause”.
Compendium Blogware CEO Chris Baggott points out that blogging for business is about instant customer gratification. Well, whether I’m functioning as a freelance blog writer or providing business blogging assistance to business owners and their employees, I see grammar and punctuation as tools I can use to lead readers to exactly the information they need.
When Ted stubbornly maintains he values “substance over style,” Alice asks “How’s that working out?”, leaving the reader to arrive at the obvious answer I’ve been touting all along.
The “style” – layout, font, punctuation, grammar, vocabulary, tone – all those things matter. All are part and parcel of the “substance” you want to convey in your business blog writing!