We can’t say it enough: reread through your copy—even set it aside for a while and then reread—before sending it off on the web, through email or on to the printer.
Another option is to have someone else read through what you’ve written, preferably someone who has not seen the copy before. They can use an objective eye to read through the document, including checking any calculations and calendar dates. When you are writing, it can be hard to look at your work objectively and you may overlook a few mistakes; you need someone who can take a step back and look at it. Using a spell checker is the best way to catch obvious errors in your writing, but it doesn’t catch everything. Homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings or are spelled differently, like their/they’re/there, you’re/your and its/it’s, will not always be marked by a spell checker. It’s best to have another person take a look at these tricky words.
You can also hire a professional proofreader to do exactly that. Proofreaders are trained to spot mistakes in spelling and grammar, and they take an objective look at your work. Most have an hourly rate, and all should be able to provide a quote of number of hours needed for a job ahead of time. Proofreaders can and should be used for anything from complex to simple text. They look at headlines, body copy and websites, test links and check emails and even take a look at graphical elements such as stray lines and missing page numbers. Proofreaders aren’t simply reading through your text — they’re proofreading.
Mistakes happen, even if you don’t intend for them to. It happens to the best of us.
You might think you don’t need a proofreader because there are plenty of books and resources online to use to double check your work. While this is true (and some resources we encourage you to use), some books or sites can be outdated or incorrect. For example, there are multiple websites where you can enter in the name of a book or website and it will produce a citation for you in your desired format. These are not always correct, so it is important to double check them to ensure they fit the right style.
Mistakes in your work can reduce your brand’s credibility, cost you money with reprints or even get you into legal trouble. It never hurts to have another set of eyes take a look at your work before it is published.
If you need help implementing proofreading into your work processes, contact the content management team at Conscious Branding.