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Friday Digital Roundup

The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

We do love writing it, but clearly not as much as people like receiving it - just look at the response we got when a technical hitch meant it wasn’t sent out on time!

@roisinduffyVA @roisinduffyva

@Spaghetti_Jo
Coffee and the FDR is how I start my Friday.
Do not engage until I have devoured both

Meschi Consultants @MeschiConsult

When it comes to the end of the week, there is no better way to start a Friday than with a run around the internet with Todd and Jo in the FDR. Just don't let them know I do it from the loo!

Kathryn Lynch-Smith @KikikatSmith

@Spaghetti_Jo
My inbox is full of rubbish newsletters that Im constantly deleting😬 My VIP inbox is for 1 thing only- THE DIGITAL ROUNDUP🤠I dont read a Newspaper or the news online, I just wait for Fridays, when this lands in my inbox- then I know ‘The weekend has landed’🤗

Spaghetti Blog

Wednesday 28th July 2021

The Incredibly Useful Guide to Perfectly Proofreading Your Own Writing (With a Handy Checklist) ✍🏼

Mon 19th Jul 2021

The Incredibly Useful Guide to Perfectly Proofreading
Like it or not, the quality of the written material you produce reflects directly on you, your business, your brand, and your overall image. If the public face of your business isn’t polished, prospective customers will think that details don’t matter to you. A letter, email, brochure, or website that contains mistakes is embarrassing, and errors cost time and money to fix – especially when they’ve been printed.

Your writing is an immediate reflection of your business, in tone, style, and accuracy. Research shows that individuals are less likely to trust and interact with a business that makes spelling or grammatical mistakes. Why? Professionalism. The words written by your business are vital because they are your business’s public face. A good business carefully manages its appearance, because if it isn’t polished, it leaves a bad impression.

A lot of people still think that running an automatic spellcheck is all they need to do to find and fix their errors. I don’t blame them, but I’m here to tell you that there’s a lot more to it.

The role of a proofreader is to help you say exactly what you want to say, professionally and clearly. Proofreaders sharpen up your business communications by checking your grammar, spelling, and meaning. We also check that you’re clearly communicating your ideas to your audience – and yes, we really are better than spellcheck.

But not everyone has the time or budget to pass everything they write to a proofreader. So, what do you do?

Start with my incredibly useful guide and checklist, and soon you’ll be able to check your own work and feel satisfied that your business writing is relatively error-free.

Ready? Let’s go.

 

The Incredibly Useful Guide to Perfectly Proofreading Your Own Writing (With a Handy Checklist) ✍🏼

Tip 1: Write first, proofread later. Much later.

Writing and proofreading use completely different mental processes, and you should aim to write in flow, using your creativity. (For me, this means in the evening, ideally with gin. Maybe you’re better in the morning with coffee. There’s no judgment here.) Don’t faff with your writing until you’ve finished it. Let it rest for a while if you can.

 

Tip 2: Use fresh eyes.

Let’s assume you’re rested, fresh, and ready to proofread your writing. If you’re proofreading on-screen (which is MUCH more difficult), change the font to something like Courier, and increase the size. You can also increase the spacing and change the colour to help you spot errors you wouldn’t otherwise see.

 

Tip 3: Print if possible.

Your eyes will see things on paper that you’ll miss on-screen. Print it out and cover up the line below with something to prevent yourself from reading ahead too quickly. You could even go old school and point at each word as you read it, to slow yourself down. You’ll feel a bit odd, but it works.

 

Tip 4: Get some privacy.

Why? Because now you need to read it out loud. This will help you catch run-on sentences, disorganised thinking, and missing or duplicate words. If it sounds clumsy when you read it, change it. It might feel strange at first, but reading out loud is the absolute best way to pick up mistakes.

 

Tip 5: Go backwards.

To find typos, start at the end of the piece and read one sentence at a time, from end to beginning. Look for stray punctuation marks and odd grammar. Trust your ears and you’ll find bits that you stumble over, which means they need some attention.

 

Tip 6: Turn on some apps.

If you haven’t already, start using Grammarly and see what else you need to do to make your writing bold and clear. If you’re a bit rubbish with apostrophes, this should help you get them right. You could also paste what you’ve written into Hemingwayapp, which highlights any lengthy, complex sentences so you can fix them.

 

Tip 7: Do some fact checking.

Look for anything that could be factually incorrect, so names, dates, times, and numbers – especially phone numbers! Click through all hyperlinks to make sure they lead to where they’re meant to go. Whenever I forget to check the links in the Friday Digital Roundup and I miss something, I can guarantee people will notice and email to let me know.

 

Tip 8: Triple-check.

Things like titles, headings, and lists need close attention. Please avoid my pet hate – the comma splice. This is a specific kind of run-on sentence, where a comma is used between what could be two full sentences. Use a semi-colon or full stop instead, or add a word like ‘for’, ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘so’ after the comma. SO MANY PEOPLE DO THIS and it’s completely wrong.

 

Tip 9: Know when to stop.

If you follow my guidance, you’ll catch most of the errors that the average reader would notice. But re-reading your documents over and over when you’re not a natural proofreader is a waste of your valuable time, so if you know what you’re working on is going to be printed or it needs to meet high editorial standards, the next tip is for you.

 

Tip 10: Slide into my DMs.

Most of your content may not need the skills of a professional proofreader. Blogs and social media posts are written by humans, and errors are bound to creep in. But if you’re working on a leaflet, brochure, or homepage of your website, do consider using a professional.

Professional proofreaders polish your copy, leaving your readers with a memorable and lasting impression of your work.

If you want to attract the right kind of customers by demonstrating your high standards, get in touch with me and I’ll see if I can help.

 

Proofreading Checklist

✅ Have I written an enticing and appropriate title?

✅ Have I told the reader what’s in it for them?

✅ Does my content do what it’s meant to do?

✅ Is my tone consistent throughout?

✅ Do the paragraphs link and flow nicely?

✅ Have I included accurate, relevant, and convincing benefits?

✅ Do I avoid repetition and tangents?

✅ Are my paragraphs well developed, unified, and coherent?

✅ Have I included short, choppy sentences?

✅ Are my sentences varied in length and structure? Do I avoid monotony?

✅ Have I misused any of the commonly mixed homonyms such as there/their/they’re, or to/ too/two? (Please, for the love of God, don’t get ‘your/you’re’ wrong.)

✅ Does every sentence end with the correct punctuation mark?

✅ Have I checked the correct use of full stops, exclamation marks, semi-colons and colons, and question marks? Have I used quotation marks? Do testimonials have names/initials?

✅ Have I used apostrophes to show possession or to mark contractions?

✅ Have I included captions with any images?

✅ Do I have a strong call to action?


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