7 easy tips for maximizing your copy.
From cover letters and proposals to search-optimized content and trade-show booths, one misspelled word can ruin the credibility of the entire piece and maybe even your brand. Ensure your marketing materials deliver maximum impact by getting in these simple proofreading habits.
1. READ IT ALOUD.
Especially when you wrote the piece yourself, your brain will be biased and “autocomplete” sentences. Reading the copy out loud will help you catch not only grammatical mistakes but also phrases that could be said more simply.
2. ENLIST A SECOND SET OF EYES.
Speaking of a biased brain, getting another person’s perspective is a sure way to sharpen your writing. They’ll notice mistakes you may have glossed over and are more likely to recognize ideas that are not completely clear. The best part? You can ask them to help fix any issues that may arise!
3. PRINT IT OUT.
Simply outputting the copy or layout on paper can make a big difference in how your brain absorbs or critiques the content. Even get out a red pen if you’re old school and go to town marking it up like Zorro!
4. TAKE A BREAK.
If you can’t find a proofreading buddy, it’s always wise to break up writing and proofreading with an unrelated task. This will allow you to approach the piece refreshed and increase your likelihood of spotting odd-sounding phrases and opportunities for improvement.
5. TAKE YOUR TIME.
Don’t let a deadline make you careless. Rushing often only creates further delays and added expense.
6. FOLLOW BRANDING STANDARDS.
Consistency is key for both writing succinct copy and maintaining your brand’s voice. If you don’t have the luxury of established branding guidelines, reference past pieces. Note how sentences, including punctuation, were structured in earlier examples. If there are opportunities for improvement, such as using an Oxford comma for clarity or switching to an active voice for more poignancy, don’t be afraid to stray from the previous style—just be sure you’re consistent in the future.
7. USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
The truth is that spell check, while helpful, catches only about 90 percent of mistakes and only checks for spelling, not meaning, such as two, too, or to. It often will not recognize product names or common terms. Plus, ever forgot how to spell a word and even your attempts at Googling it yield no definitive answer? Ask Siri! Hit the microphone button, say the word, and find out how it’s actually spelled.
There you have it—seven easy ways to double-check and strengthen your copy and your brand. Want to learn more? Be sure to sign up for our quarterly newsletter below!