We all learned the basic rules of grammar and good writing in our English classes from kindergarten to senior year of college. Whether we were English majors or not is irrelevant because those basic rules are set in stone. Irreversible. Unbreakable. Right? Well…maybe.
Content marketing has resulted in something of a grammar reset. Not to say that good grammar and literacy don’t matter, but that a more relaxed and conversational approach maybe needed to achieve the desired effect. For example, a Facebook post for a surf shop in Waikiki shouldn’t sound like it was written by 87 year-old Aunt Edna (for whom we have the utmost respect by the way) assuming that Aunt Edna isn’t that rare uber cool octogenarian who hangs ten while riding some gnarly pounders, in which case we say, “Right on Dudette!” But I digress.
A few rules have become subject to frequent breakage.
Fragments. We all know we should write in proper and complete sentences. Not always. There are often times in content marketing where we need a little emphasis. Like now. In which case fragments are okay.
Slang. Nothing causes a teacher to whip out the red pen faster than slang. Seriously Dude, there are times when it is totally chill to use slang. Like in the case of my bro’s surf shop. Always consider your audience when breaking this rule. Using slang for your financial planning clients probably won’t play out quite as well.
Conjunctions. You should never start a sentence with a conjunction. But while this is true for most serious essays, content marketing is really intended to set a more conversational tone. And we start sentences with conjunctions all the time.
End strong. Okay this is still a good rule to follow but in this glance-and-go society we live in, you need to start with a strong hook or you’ve lost your audience before you ever get to your strong ending.
Prepositions. Never end a sentence on a preposition. What was this rule for?
We do it all the time in our daily speech patterns. Now that being said, there’s a limit. A personal pet peeve is the saying, ‘Where you at?’ Not only does it end in a preposition, it sounds illiterate. However, if your target audience is the 13-18 year old demographic, then by all means go for it.
Ultimately the one rule of writing that applies above every other one: consider your audience. Style, voice, and compelling content are all being geared toward capturing your audience. Think like they do. Speak their language. Write their language.