Many of us at LKCS are assigned more than one task in any given day. I might start my day designing a brochure, then write some social media content, proofread a catalog in the afternoon, and wind down my day writing my contribution to our blog. You may understand the feeling. Your job description may not include writing articles for marketing pieces, but that may be exactly what you are asked to do.
Aside from camera ready work, whenever a customer provides us with copy, I carefully check the proof and suggest edits when necessary. This is an extra service LKCS provides to ensure quality and increase the likelihood of catching a mistake before it goes to press. How can you avoid possible mistakes? Here are a few proofreading tips I suggest you use before sending in copy for a newsletter, postcard, website or marketing campaign.
- Does your copy communicate the intended message? If your headline or first few sentences fail to engage readers, you may lose them right from the start. I must admit, when I get a postcard in the mail I always read the headline and the bullet points and then decide if I want to read the rest.
- Print out what you have written. It’s much easier to find and correct mistakes on paper than on a computer screen. In addition, reading out loud may also help you realize a change needs to be made.
- It is important to spell check your document, but spell check can’t find every mistake. For instance, piece of mind vs. peace of mind; ensure/insure; advice/advise; these are all mistakes I find quite often. Even a misplaced comma can change the meaning of a sentence.
- Check every date in your document. If you highlight an event on Tuesday, August 1 – double check that August 1 is actually a Tuesday.
- Eliminate unnecessary words or sentences to make your copy as clear and precise as possible. If you can say the same thing with three words instead of five – use three.
- Does the style of your writing fit your branding? Look at your website or company brochures – are they formal, casual, or humorous? Make sure your writing is consistent with the tone of the company’s existing marketing pieces.
- If you are having writer’s block, stop and take a break and come back to it later. Proofreading and editing your document later in the day can make all the difference.
- Have someone else read it when you are done. A fresh pair of eyes may see mistakes or realize important facts you forgot to include.
- Always include a call to action. If you want your target audience to call, click or visit, end with instructions on how they can best reach you.
- Finally, check if you need to follow any compliance rules for your products or services. Include required logos or legal disclosures, and cite sources.
If you consider these tips, your copy should pass my inspection. Oh, but don’t worry! If you happen to miss something, I’ve got you covered!