Every business needs exposure. Advertising is the best way to reach large numbers of potential customers, as well as to remind current and former customers of your continued presence.
Your advertisement reflects you and your business. It needs to be catchy, truthful, accurate, and appealing. It does not need to be complicated. If it is being broadcast on television or circulated via the Internet, it does not need to be encumbered with eye-popping graphics or professional musical accompaniment. The text, however, does need to be clear and correctly written. Even though most people do not notice and do not care about errors in text, some mistakes do turn off potential customers.
I would like to concentrate on two common mistakes to avoid when writing advertising copy. They are the incorrect use of apostrophes and quotation marks.
Let us focus on apostrophes first. Some people who write their own advertising copy put together sentences such as We have the best price’s around. The apostrophe in that sentence is incorrect. The word prices is the plural of price. Apostrophes are not used when words are pluralized. Apostrophes are used only for contractions and for possession.
Let’s deal with contractions. They are, of course, combined words. For example, would not becomes wouldn’t. The apostrophe is in place of the deleted letter o. I will becomes I’ll. The apostrophe takes the place of the deleted letters wi.
Using apostrophes for possession involves placing an apostrophe after a noun to show that something belongs to that noun. Look at this example: Smith’s prices cannot be beat. Or take the example of a business name. It should be Brown’s Computer Outlet. The apostrophe indicates that the business is owned and operated by Brown.
In terms of quotation marks, if at all possible, avoid their use. There are several rules and quite a few complicated exceptions involved in the correct use of quotation marks. Simply put, quotation marks should never be used to emphasize text, as in “We have the largest inventory in the area.” They should not be used to express emotion, as in “Only three more days before a big price increase!” Quotation marks are used only to highlight someone’s exact words or for the titles of songs, stories, poems, etc.
If you write your own advertising copy, you can use your spell check function to help you to proofread it. If, however, you want to be completely assured that your advertisement is correctly written, you could use the services of a professional online editing and proofreading service, such as Proof-Reading.com.