2349632397_32dc09aea5_mOne thing our agency prides ourselves on is our proofreading and editing. We are not perfect 100% of the time, but over the years we have caught big mistakes that could have caused major problems for our clients and ultimately for our relationships with our clients. Whether you work for an agency or for an in-house marketing team, perfection in your marketing content is one of the best ways to represent your brand. Typos, spelling errors, and other easily avoidable errors can make your first impression negative.

With all of that in mind, we thought we would offer five tips today on how to make sure your proofreading and editing is up to snuff.

1. Read out loud

One of the easiest ways to catch a mistake is to read content slowly and out loud. Ideally, the person who is reading out loud will not be the person who wrote the content, because as we all know, when you have written content you will read it the way you intended it. Not only will this help catch spelling mistakes and typos but in longer-form content like a white paper it can help catch portions that won’t make sense to readers in general.

2. Use the buddy system

We have always conducted our proofreading in pairs. One person reads the finished product and the second person looks at the last version the client approved. Again, there are several advantages to this sort of system. A person who is reading out loud may not notice something that a person who is reading along does notice. The person reading out loud can concentrate on the copy while the person listening can concentrate on the big picture.

3. Look for inconsistencies

As you read, or even before or after you begin to read the content, eyeball the piece you are proofreading. A big part of proofreading marketing content is making sure that you are consistent. Does that brand name need a trade mark or a registration mark? Are certain words always capitalized? As you get used to proofreading and editing these kinds of details will pop out a lot more readily for you.

4. Learn the idiosyncrasies of the company for whom you’re proofreading

Whether it’s for a client or your own company, everyone has their own particular preferences when it comes to their marketing content. Certain phrases should or should not be used. Some clients are very picky about using or not using certain words. Even the choice of whether or not to abbreviate words can be up for discussion depending on the company. Part of proofreading is bearing these details in mind so that the client (especially if you are working for an agency) feels valued and feels that you are listening to them.

5. Proofreading also means looking at the layout

It is easy, when sitting down to proofread, to get caught up in the minor details and to miss obvious mistakes. It is essential that you make sure the image you are using in a print piece is a high-resolution image and that it is cropped properly. Avoiding widows at the end of lines is important. The average viewer may not be able to identify these kinds of mistakes but they may have a general sense that the piece looks unprofessional or unfinished. That can be death to the success of any campaign – and your brand.

There is a lot more that goes into proofreading and editing, of course, but these are some of the basics that we try to watch out for before anything leaves our agency. If you have any questions or need any assistance with these issues, let us know!

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nics_events/2349632397/ via Creative Commons