No-one writes perfect copy first time, every time. Whether it’s an article, press release or product description, native speaker or not, everyone benefits from proofreading their work. Here are my five tips for how best to do it:
1. Just finished writing? Give yourself a break. Put the kettle on or take a walk – even five minutes away from the screen will help you look at your text with fresh eyes and see where it needs correcting or reworking. If you can leave it overnight and pick it up again in the morning, even better.
2. Read every word – ideally out loud. If it doesn’t read easily or you’re stumbling over words, your readers will too. Time for some tweaking.
3. Check for consistency. If you’re using US English, make sure no UK spellings have crept in there. Are you using serial commas? Are job titles always written the same way? Is your capitalisation consistent? Check each item individually, then check again.
4. Try reviewing backwards. Okay, I’ve asked my fellow copywriters here and it seems this one’s just me, but do give it a try – I find it really helps. When you know a document inside out and the structure is already perfect, reviewing backwards strips away the context and helps you notice those pesky details that need ironing out.
5. Ask for help! It’s easy to become blind to your own work. Pass it on – a fresh pair of eyes will spot any flaws much more easily. Tenfour is one of the few agencies that guarantees all its writing is reviewed by another experienced copywriter – even our editing work is thoroughly peer reviewed. However experienced the writer, we all benefit from a thorough review process – as our references will attest.
These tips should help make sure any errors jump out at you before they jump out at your readers. If you’d like to hear more about writing winning copy, leave us a comment or get in touch.
Want to know how to save time writing? The trick is in your head! Find out more in Brainstorming: a waste of time or just the opposite?