Proofreading your work is an extremely important step to take. A piece of work that is full of mistakes can really lower perceived credibility, no matter the topic. If you’re writing copy for your website, social media or similar, this is essentially your shop window – if people spot mistakes on this, it also affects how they perceive the quality of your work.
You might know that writing isn’t your forte but that you’re excellent at your job, but unfortunately, your potential customers haven’t learned this yet! Imagine if Rolls Royce had a website full of mistakes – would this affect the perceived worth of their cars? Yes!
Here are my five top tips for effectively proofreading your work!
Take a break before proofreading:
One common mistake many people make is proofreading immediately after finishing their work. Your mind is likely to be too familiar with the content, making it easier to overlook errors. Taking a break – whether it’s a few hours or a day – allows you to approach your writing with fresh eyes. This will help you spot mistakes more easily and improve the overall quality of your work.
Reading your work aloud is a powerful proofreading technique. When you read silently, your brain tends to fill in missing words or correct errors automatically. Did you know? As long as the first and last letter of a word are correct, your brain is so great at working out what the word should have been, that you can easily miss small mistakes! Reading aloud forces you to slow down and process each word individually. This helps you catch spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and awkward phrasing that you otherwise might not spot.
Use proofreading tools:
Don’t feel like proofreading has to be hard work! Leverage the power of technology by using proofreading tools to help you. They can help catch common errors and provide suggestions for improvement. Popular tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Microsoft Word’s built-in proofreading features can help identify spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. However, don’t rely solely on these tools, they’re not perfect!
Focus on one element at a time:
To avoid feeling overwhelmed during the proofreading process, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. Focus on one element at a time, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, or formatting. By concentrating on specific aspects, you can give each the attention it deserves. This methodical approach reduces the likelihood of overlooking errors and ensures thorough proofreading.
Print it out:
Having a hard copy of your work can make a significant difference in making your proofreading more effective. Printing out your work provides a fresh perspective and allows you to view your writing in a different format. Use a pen to mark any errors or areas that need improvement. The tactile experience of working with a hard copy can help you spot mistakes that might have been overlooked on a screen.
A bit like writing itself, you’ll find ways that suit you when it comes to proofreading, but the most important thing that you should take away from this is that it’s a step that must not be missed out.
Whether we are writing press releases, editorial, advertorial, social media or website copy, proofreading is something we are constantly doing as an agency. If you think your copywriting and proofreading could do with a boost, why not get in touch?