10 Tips for Proofreading your Business Writing

Top 10 Tips for Proofreading your Business Writing

Laptop coffee cake on bed - tips for proofreading

Warning: careless typos and sloppy spelling can quickly reduce credibility for a business! 

The trouble is, business owners are often super busy! The tendency is to skip the scan for errors that may have crept into their work. It can also be tempting to rely on word processing spelling and grammar tools – but even these can be missed (especially if you’re trying to hastily schedule a social media post before you head out the door!)

Taking the time to carefully edit your newsletters, reports, emails, blog posts and marketing collateral will make all the difference. It will be worth the extra few minutes, trust us!

We have included some simple tips below on how to give your customers the best impression about your company’s competence and professionalism, with error-free copy.

Your proofreading checklistProofreading Tips

Incorporate these new habits into your routine to quickly improve your proofreading skills.

  1. Take breaks. It’s important to get up and stretch every 30 minutes. Set a timer so you don’t forget! Frequent breaks improve productivity and you will be much more likely to catch that missing bracket, repetitive phrase or extra comma. This applies to all areas of your work – not just marketing and proofreading!
  2. Minimize eyestrain. Do what you can to make it easy to read by adjusting to a larger font, ensuring your workspace has sufficient lighting and reducing the glare on your monitor.
  3. Slow down. Effective proofreading means reading letter for letter, word by word, line by line – at least twice – through the entire document. It is possible to “over-read” though, so if you think you have been looking at it for too long, ask someone else to read it for you (or send it this way!)
  4. Be on the lookout. Proofreading isn’t just about correcting poor grammar, spelling mistakes and typos. Be on the lookout for inconsistent fonts and headings that need adjusting, too.
  5. Brush up on Punctuation. Not sure when to use a semi-colon, single quotes – or em dashes? Give yourself a quick refresher course on punctuation rules to make the proofreading process quicker and simpler.
  6. Be consistent when choosing to use the serial comma, spelled out numbers, or a particular font. Develop a style guide that lays out preferred usage for your brand, to make it easy for employees to follow “house style” guidelines. This will also make your brand more recognisable from a customer perspective as well – consistency is key.
  7. Fact check your stats and cite your sources appropriately. Include live links for online copy and referenced footnotes for company reports, white paper or case studies.
  8. Don’t overlook details such as web addresses, phone numbers and links, which may need to be updated or removed if they’re out of date.
  9. Know your patterns. Most of us tend to repeat the same spelling and grammar mistakes – for instance, we might consistently misspell the same word, tend to fall into passive voice, or forget to use quotation marks. Keep a running list of your most common errors and use them to build a customized checklist you can refer to when proofreading any document.
  10. Use your computer’s spellchecker as a final proofreading tool to catch any final sneaky errors – after you’ve reviewed your document, beginning to end, at least twice.

Stack of Magazines & Pencils - Proofreading TipsFinal Thoughts

Some of us are naturally skilled at catching grammar and spelling errors; for others, it’s a dreaded chore that often gets ignored altogether.

If you fall into the latter category, it might be worthwhile to hire a professional proof-reader to take on your company’s larger projects.

You might also consider signing up for some of the latest online proofreading software, like Ginger or Grammarly, that can make the job of proofreading much easier and less time consuming.

Get in touch with The CloudSitters

Still need help with your proofreading, copywriting or coming up with content ideas? Send us a message! We offer a range of content creation and creative writing services and would be happy to help brainstorm your next amazing idea.

Get in touch with the friendly team here, or submit a form below.

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