My daughter’s school sent home a newsletter last week with a few grammar and spelling errors. They were simple errors that anyone could have made. But it’s a little troublesome when the establishment responsible for educating your children doesn’t seem to take the time to proofread their work.
Am I being too judgmental? Maybe. But a Global Lingo study found that 59% of respondents wouldn’t work with a brand if they put out material with obvious grammar or spelling mistakes.
Have you double (and triple) checked everything on your website and blog? If you don’t know how to proofread a blog post or other marketing content, you could be turning away potential customers on a regular basis.
I catch mistakes in my blogs and content projects more than I would like to admit. There is a difference between a freelance writer and editor. But over the years I’ve come up with a few different proofreading methods to help reduce my mistakes and avoid the negative side effects of bad grammar. Give them a try the next time you’re about to post new content.
1. Take some time off
Even if you think you’ve just penned perfection, it’s best to take some time off before proofreading your content. Because your brain knows what you intended on writing, you’re more likely to miss small errors like “it’s” instead of “its” or a forgotten comma.
I always try to put at least 24 hours between writing and editing. I find that once I perform a heavy edit, proofreading is a breeze (and yes, there is a difference between editing and proofreading).
2. Get loud
Once it is time to start proofreading, read your content out loud. Read it as you normally would the first time around and then read it backwards. This will help stop your brain from subconsciously filling in any errors for you.
If you find your brain wandering when reading, have your software help you out. See if your word processor has a read aloud feature. If not, try naturalreaders.com. Listening to someone else read my content helps me catch errors I probably wouldn’t have on my own.
This is always my last step when proofreading. Because I’ve already edited, I don’t have to worry about flow, voice, or data. I’m simply listening for errors and following along with the voice. It takes a few extra minutes but it’s great reassurance.
Finally, if you find proofreading difficult, boring, or both, then it may be time to outsource this required task. Start with your employees. If you have one or two that have a gift for spotting grammar mistakes, hand them the job.
If you’re working solo or don’t feel you have an employee with the necessary skills to proofread for you, consider outsourcing the work. While it’s an additional cost, it’s an investment in the quality of your website and brand portrayal.
The content on your website is most people’s first impression of your business. One error is enough to turn off visitors from your site. That’s why learning how to proofread a blog is so important.
Don’t waste your resources by putting out sloppy content. Come up with a proofreading protocol to ensure your blogs and other pieces of content are flawless.