Top tips for proofreading

This month we’ve asked our in-house proofreader to give us her top proofreading tips in a short blog…

Proofreading helps check to ensure your brochures, promotional material emails, blogs, website and social media posts are error free and without any silly typos. A lot of people underestimate the importance of proofreading and will often forget to do it when they are busy. However, typos and errors can affect your brand credibility. It’s important your work sounds and looks professional as it represents you and your business.

Here are some tips to help you better proofread your own content:

1. Don’t Rely on Spell Check

Be wary of relying on your spell check. Without a doubt use it first but remember it won’t pick up on everything. For example: ‘their’ instead of ‘there’, ‘compliment’ instead of ‘complement’. It won’t spot those homophones – words that sound the same but are spelt differently and ultimately mean something different.

Wait until you have finished writing your brochure copy. If you are still tweaking and editing it then don’t spend time proofreading until you have your final version.

If you are proofing a long article or a large brochure you are having produced then you might want to consider printing it off. This will help you notice mistakes which you might not see on screen. But ensure you recycle the paper afterwards though!

 

2. Spelling, Punctuation, Capital Letters and Grammar

Concentrate and take your time when you are proofreading. Look at:

  • Spelling – check everything is spelt correctly
  • Check your punctuation – your/you’re, its/it’s, they’re/their (these are really easy mistakes to make)
  • Check capitalisation of letters
  • Ensure your grammar is correct
  • Look out for misplaced words

3. Know your own mistakes

I have been proofreading for years but sometimes I struggle to proof my own writing. It’s tricky to spot your own typos, often you just don’t see them. Try making a list of the mistakes you usually make and then you can look out for them each time.

If you aren’t sure whether to use words such as affect or effect, practise or practice then look them up. You will usually find a good explanation when you use Google.

4. Try it backwards or read it out loud.

Try reading your copy backwards. This isn’t something I do but lots of people recommend doing this. It will allow you to focus on each sentence separately. This can be particularly good for spotting spelling errors.

Read it out loud. Sometimes things sound different when you read them out to yourself. This is a good way to spot any missing commas or sentences that might be too long. Remember if you are writing for the web or writing copy for a small flyer – keep those sentences short.

Top tip – while you are proofreading take out any unnecessary words. You want your copy clean and professional so don’t make it wordy. It’s harder for people to read – whether online or in a brochure.

 

5. Find a second pair of eyes.

I don’t think you can beat someone else proofreading your content – and even better pick someone who has a flair for spotting those mistakes! Obviously you can’t do this for everything you write but it’s a great idea for longer material such as leaflets and brochures.

Is it your first time putting a brochure together or just want some extra tips for creating an effective one? Our blog gives you all the information you need to make your next brochure the perfect marketing and sales tool.

 

Prontaprint in Coventry, Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon can offer you the full range of services to help you deliver marketing material that truly represents your business or organisation. We are not just printers. Our experienced marketers, copywriters and proofreaders can provide on-target content and marketing advice and our designers can pull together a brochure that will really stand out in a crowd.

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