Proofreading your own writing is a vital skill for any writer. It’s the final stage of the writing process and consists of fixing spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and formatting issues. And, although tempting, you shouldn’t solely rely on your online spellchecker to fix these issues for you (they’re not 100% reliable!).
By taking the time to proofread properly, you’ll ensure that the work you share with your audience is coherent, consistent and of a high standard. So, we’re going to share our tips on how to improve your proofreading skills and create content that’s polished every time.
Why is Proofreading Important in Digital Marketing?
When it comes to written digital content, including social media posts, blog articles and email campaigns, effective proofreading is crucial. If the content that you share is riddled with silly mistakes, you’ll instantly create the impression of a brand that is lazy, unprofessional and lacking in authority. A piece of writing with too many errors is also unpleasant to read, and may cause the reader to quickly lose interest in what you have to say!
5 Proofreading Tips and Techniques
Tip 1: Take a Break
Proofreading your own writing can be especially challenging because you’ve probably spent hours, days or even weeks writing and editing the piece of work. This makes identifying small errors and inconsistencies trickier than usual. So, one of the best proofreading tips is to step away from the computer and take a break from the task at hand. Ideally, you should give yourself until the following day before you begin the proofreading process. But, if that’s not possible, leaving a gap of at least 30 to 60 minutes will prove effective.
Tip 2: Look for Common Mistakes
The second of our proofreading tips and techniques is to identify common writing errors. Jot down a list of common copywriting mistakes, and highlight the ones you fall victim to the most. By reminding yourself of the writing errors that are frequently overlooked, you’re much more likely to identify them in your own work. Over time, identifying and avoiding these mistakes will become second nature to you, so this is one of the best tips for how to improve your proofreading skills.
Tip 3: Use a Print Out
Tip number three is to print out your work and proofread on paper. Proofreading your own writing can be difficult, but there’s something about reading your work on a piece of paper that helps mistakes to jump off the page. Not only is this a great way to find errors you may have missed on the computer, but you’re giving your eyes and mind a break. With a printout, you can take your writing elsewhere to re-energise your brain and step away from the glare of the screen. Using print outs isn’t the most environmentally-friendly of our proofreading tips and techniques, so try to use scrap paper and be sure to recycle your waste.
Tip 4: Read it Aloud
One of our favourite proofreading tips and techniques is to read your writing out loud. It may feel embarrassing at first, but it’s one of the most effective methods for proofreading your own work. By reading your writing aloud, you’re more likely to recognise mistakes, overly-repetitive words and sentences that are too lengthy.
Tip 5: Focus on One Type of Error at a Time
Our final tip for how to improve your proofreading skills is to focus on one error at a time. For example, start by proofreading your own writing while focusing only on spelling errors. Then, proofread with a focus on grammatical mistakes. After that, read through it looking for formatting inconsistencies. This is a meticulous method that allows you to be super thorough while proofreading. It also helps to break the task into more manageable chunks, which means you’re less likely to overlook a mistake.
Accurate and effective proofreading is vital for any business with an online presence and a digital content strategy in place. So, we hope these five proofreading tips and techniques prove helpful when proofreading your own writing or the work of others. Just remember that there’s no right or wrong way to proofread, so experiment with various techniques to see which works best for you.
Looking for more content advice? Have a read of our blog!