What a great week for writers! A few days ago we had National Grammar Day– now we have National Proofreading Day. It’s a good time to learn new tips and refresh old ones. I believe that your writing is only as good as your proofreading skills. Your ideas and writing plans may be good, but proofreading is key to great content. Here are a few reasons why copywriters need to consistently practice proofreading:

  • Proofreading is the only way to polish your writing. 
  • Your content’s message will be more clear and interesting to read.
  • You will have more control over your content (and reduce editor markups). 

Four Simple Steps to Effective Proofreading

There are four simple, time-tested ways to proofread your articles, blogs, or any content. 

  1. The first is to read every single word. It is fine if you can read off your computer screen, but it can help to print it out if your eyes get tired. You need fresh eyes to help avoid grammar mistakes.
  2. Another way to proofread is to get another pair of eyes that you trust to review your writing. Just be sure to let that person know you are just asking for help with grammar and basic style, not a full rewrite or a lengthy critique. 
  3. Read your content out loud. This will help you feel the tone of your words. Keep revising until the content sounds clear, natural, conversational, etc. 
  4. Take a break. Sometimes you just need to walk away. Go back after a short while and you will be able to read with rested eyes. You will be surprised how many mistakes you can catch.

If it pains you to read your content, just imagine what your readers will think. It probably means that you need to revise a bit more. You need to feel that you did the best you possibly could. Otherwise you are cutting corners and it will show. Whatever is worth writing is worth doing great and that includes proofreading. Happy writing! And proofreading.