Proofreading might be seen as a little basic. You might be wondering why we’ve even written a blog post on the topic.
Well, the reason for that it proofreading is Important. With a capital I. Sure, it is a fairly obvious thing to do, and it’s not as hard as some of the topics we’ve covered – but if you don’t proofread, it could be harming communications with your audience.
This is something to do after you’ve drafted content, but before sending it. Make sure there are no obvious errors, because if your brand doesn’t seem grammatically correct online, it might hurt its online image. It might put people off. Because if you use the wrong “there” too many times, people notice.
It’s not something to panic about though. The odd typing error means you’re human. Proofreading is more a case of checking as much is right about content as possible. There are a few things you need to look out for.
It might sound a little obvious but you’d be surprised how many things contain typos – published novels and web pages for example. Sometimes spell check can’t pick everything up either – for example, if you’ve already added a word to the dictionary or used the wrong word in its place – e.g. typing it instead of at or there instead of their. Spelling just helps your work flow, because some people (myself included) really notice typos. It’s so easy to fix, why not?
Because Capital Letters Everywhere Is Annoying. See? They don’t need to be everywhere – just at the beginning of sentences and when using names.
Pesky apostrophes and commas being the main ones where this is concerned. Not just those, but putting them in the wrong places or forgetting them entirely doesn’t look the best. These aren’t so easy to notice as the previous two, but they’re still important. Another punctuation you need to check is brackets – if they’re opened, they need closing somewhere too.
Remember when I mentioned typos earlier? Well, there are a lot of grammatical typos around as well. You must know how bad it is to read sentences that don’t make sense. The message doesn’t get across for one thing. Which is alright when it’s you reading it, but when you’ve sent a message for customers to read and respond to? Not so much. Just read through and check it makes sense – but maybe not straight after you’ve written a message because you might not pick it up. Give it five minutes, do something else, then re-read your grammar.
Okay, so this might not be as important as spelling and grammar, but it’s still necessary to ensure your content doesn’t go on and on and on and on and kind of lose the customer’s interest a little because they’re a bit fed up of the sentence that just keeps on going….
See my point? Constant lengthy sentences don’t work. So the way to stop customers losing interest is to ensure that none of your sentences are massively long – or if they are it’s because they still sound okay. Vary it a bit. Sometimes a short sentence next to a long one helps to grab attention, or maybe it could improve your content a little. Don’t use too many commas either – one rule I usually use is to have no more than two in a sentence unless it’s for a good reason. If you’re listing things, or the sentence needs commas quite often, then occasionally it’s fine to do this. But check how comma-filled sentences sound before uploading content.
Facts and details
If there’s a sale and you think it starts next Tuesday, it’s best to double check if you’re not 100% sure. If you’re using a quote, or posting about something in your industry, check any facts too. It’s just in case someone sees it and knows that fact is wrong – it doesn’t help how your business comes across.
Alright, so this one isn’t so much a well-known fact, it’s just something I do when writing because I think it makes content sound a little better. I usually make sure I don’t repeat words in the same sentence – except for little ones such as I, at, the, etc (like I have in this one). Using a synonym of your word rather than the same word twice just seems to make things flow a little more – but it’s up to you.
There are a few things it’s important to do when creating content. This post may have sounded a little like an English lesson at times, but it’s one of those things which is necessary if you want your content to sound professional or authoritative. As I’ve already mentioned, it might be better to have a little break between drafting and proofreading when it’s comes to longer content like blog posts. Having a break away from it means you might be more likely to pick things up.
Another key idea might be to just check any opinions you’re posting – as sometimes your audience may not agree. Healthy debate about products is fine – but maybe stay away from an irrelevant news story.
That’s about all there is to proofreading. It’s just a case of making sure your posts are the best they can be for your audience – and in turn for your business.
Understand proofreading but a little stuck on creating content?
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