If you write blogs, client reports, tenders, newsletters or any written content then you need to ensure it is the best it can be and thus proof reading is key.
What a waste of time for you to spend hours writing all this amazing content only to publish it and people see spelling errors or formatting issues. It’s not a good look for anyone trying to run a professional business.
As a professional proof reader, I see so many simple mistakes in content that could have been picked up by a quick proof read or a decent edit. So, what’s the difference between proof reading and editing? Well, they can be similar and often I will do both for a client but basically, proof reading is simply focussing on spelling errors, punctuation, grammar, typos and formatting. Editing however, goes a little deeper and while editing usually involves proof reading as well, a good editor will look at the actual information on the page, how it is presented, the order of paragraphs or chapters and will make sure it reads well for the intended audience.
Here are my top five things to look out for if you are checking your own work:
- Headings – ensure all heading are consistent. On one page you have all CAPITALS and then on the next page you switch to Capitals only for the first letter.
- Bullet points. Keep them consistent: either a bullet point, tick or dash. And consistency with full stops too. The general rule is if each separate point has less than five words then you do not need a full stop.
- Single spaced or double spaced? Justified or left aligned.
- Shorthand and Acronyms. E.g or EG? New York Police Department or NYPD?
- Finally, spelling. Spell checks can’t pick up the difference between their and there, or to and too. So, go through one more time with a pen and really read each line carefully.
And as a bonus, here are my top three tips for ensuring great content:
- Think about VALUE for the reader. What value will the reader get from this content? Are you educating them on a particular issue? Are you advertising a new product or service? Are you commenting on a recent news story that is relevant to your business? The reader is the most important person here so think about them when you write.
- Read your work both on screen and in hard copy. It’s amazing what you pick up on when switching the format.
- Read your work out loud. It does work!