Inevitably, it happens every summer. A company canvasses the neighborhood with handbills about their services. For a small business, especially one just starting, I can see the allure of getting the word out about the company this way. After all, it’s just a few minutes typing, a quick trip to a copy store and the promise of a few cold ones to the friends helping distribute.

It makes sense.

However, one error can take this efficient advertising campaign and sink it. And it’s usually an apostrophe that brings the whole thing down for me. I’m a writer—a word nerd, if you will. Nothing makes me happier than seeing clear, clean copy.

So, to help, I have a few ideas to make a better, and bigger impact, with your advertising dollars.

  1. Before committing to the print job, run your copy through a grammar check. Microsoft Word has one built in to the program. Or, ask a friend or two to read it over. The more eyes, the better.
  2. Stick with one or two fonts, max. Too many fonts make the page busy and the readers’ eyes won’t know where to land. Less is more.
  3. Go for clarity. The name of your business, the services you provide and contact information, including a phone number and a website, should all be there.
  4. If you’re printing in black and white, don’t use a photo. It won’t print clearly and will probably end up looking like a blob.
  5. Know your potential customers. If you own a landscaping company, don’t bother putting fliers on apartment doors. Keep in mind the general income of the area and the ability for people to pay for your services.

Little things really do make a difference when it comes to presenting your company or yourself in words. Whether you put fliers on doors, ads in local newspapers or something on a grander scale, choosing words carefully and with clarity will boost your visibility and hopefully your bottom line.

Rebecca Calappi is a freelance writer for Macomb Now. She has 20 years of writing experience for multimillion-dollar companies. Her website is