How Proofreading Can Add Value to Your Blog Content
August 8, 2017All
As a blogger or content marketer, you write to inform and educate your readers. Sometimes, you write to entertain. But, you don’t want the entertainment to be your poor writing. A misspelled word, incorrect grammar, or any other typo could spell disaster for you and your client. Not only could it affect business, but also your search engine rankings. This is why proofreading or having someone proofread your content for you is imperative.
The written word, available online and in print 24/7/365, engages, informs, and encourages your readers to take action. Your words can motivate a new customer to buy, to tell their friends about your business, or introduce your product or service. No matter what you write or to whom you write (your audience), your words should be clear, direct, and correct.
Take the Time
It takes time to research, write, and proofread content. However, sometimes short deadlines and heavy workloads make us feel like we don’t have time to proofread or edit our content. This is when it is even more important. Take the time to read over your content. Read it out loud. Read it backwards. Have a friend read it. As important as well-written content is, if it isn’t proofread, a silly mistake can cost you.
Just one slip-up (mistake) can take away from what you want to say. We all make mistakes; we’re human. But, with the abundance of social media platforms, error-free written content should be the norm (normal), not the exception. The more readers see well-written content, the more your reputation and those of your clients will build a brand your readers trust.
Don’t rush through proofreading. Take your time. Focus on the process and review several times before publishing your content.
Social media is a great platform to showcase your work. However, it is a double-edged sword (good and bad). While it can help you build your brand and grow your audience worldwide quickly. It also means, if you make a mistake, however small, everyone will know about it. Before you know it, negative feedback could have far-reaching implications.
It’s not just social media where your writing may be adversely affected. Proofreading your work can help you gain ground on Google page rankings. This is where both well-written content and SEO can help to grow your readership and attract customers to your client’s website. You’ve written your content and are ready to proofread. Below are some examples of what to look for.
I’ll admit it. While writing the last paragraph above, I wrote “customer’s to your client’s website”. MSWord didn’t catch my mistake. There was no red, blue, or other indication (example) telling me I should double check (proofread) my writing. I proofread. I got another pair of eyes to proofread it.
Incorrect: “customer’s to your client’s website” (‘s is possessive. The website belongs to your client.)
Correct: “customers to your client’s website” (“s” is plural – more than one customer)
Spelling is one of the most common mistakes. Especially when you consider all those words that sound the same and sometimes spelled the same. Some of the most common spelling mistakes are to/too/two or there/their/they’re.
Other spelling mistakes can simply be transposed (switched) letters such as from/form or on/no. English is a difficult language and not all English language variations are the same. Consider the differences between UK, US, and Australian English.
Sometimes your spellchecker might not catch mistakes. It didn’t catch mine above (customer’s vs customers). Because both words were spelled correctly, I had to proofread and realize which version I’d meant from the context of the sentence. While there are grammar-checking tools available online for free or a nominal (low) fee, nothing beats the human eye, and these tools very often miss major mistakes.
Whether you write in American English or British English, it’s important to stay consistent. While most words in both may be the same, the spelling can be different. British English uses “U” in words such as colour and favourite. American English does not. Additionally, UK English uses “ise” in spelling certain words whereas US English uses “ize”. For example: Customize (US) and Customise (UK) or Organize (US) and Organise (UK).
It’s not just important to stay consistent in your spellings, but in all you write. If you use bullet points in one area and numbers in another, this is inconsistency. Whether you choose to use numbers or bullet points, make sure to use them every time in your blog or article. Consistencies in the little things are just as important as in the text. For example, if you use a bold heading or sub-heading, do it throughout.
Lastly, consider your font style and size. If you use Calibri 11 make sure all the text is Calibri 11. If you use Times New Roman 12, then all your text should be Times New Roman 12. This will help your structure and format to stay consistent.
Be sure your spellings and tone of voice are consistent throughout your blog or article. Take into consideration not only spelling and voice, but also punctuation and capitalization of names, products, services, and terminology within your industry.
Have a Proofreading Plan as Part of Your Content Strategy
If you plan proofreading into your content strategy, you’re more likely to find time to proofread well. In addition, you’ll be able to have a friend or colleague proofread for you as they’ll be expecting your copy. Everyone is busy and in our ever-on-demand world, error-free content should be well thought out before pen is put to paper. Or rather, finger to keyboard. If you need some extra help making sure your content is perfect, check out Writesaver. We have highly educated native English speakers ready to edit your blog posts and make sure you make a great impression on your readers. Now, here are some tips to help you get organized.
No matter which vertical (specialty) you write about, it’s a good idea to research your topic thoroughly. Researching not only helps you understand your topic, but you have the opportunity to learn what others are saying about it. In this way, you’ll be able to write an objective blog or article objectively (all points of view). Your research not only informs readers about a product, service or event, it also educates. It is imperative (important) to make sure things are properly spelled including names and places as well as factual dates, data, and statistics to back up opinions.
References and Resources
In your research, you may come across (learn about) a number of resources. These resources and references add to your credibility. In other words, readers know you’re not writing fiction, you’ve got sources to back up (support) your claims.
Citing your references properly, whether for content, picture, or video, gives authority and credibility to your article. Not only will properly cited reputable sources give your article authority, but may also help raise your SEO results.
Do Sweat the Small Stuff
If you’ve never heard the term “don’t sweat the small stuff”, it means “don’t worry”. But, when proofreading your writing, “sweat the small stuff”. In other words, make sure you proofread thoroughly including titles, headlines, and footnotes. If your style guide calls for APA format, make sure your citations are in the appropriate format. If you’re unsure about something, check your references, research, and notes until you find the answer.
Whether you’re a content marketer or blogger, writing correctly is your livelihood (income), so it’s in your best interest to proofread your work. Before you hit “send” be sure to do a final look through. Things to make sure you do include:
Clear Your Mind
Step away from your writing for a few hours or overnight. Go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, meditate; it doesn’t matter. The point is to relax. Give your mind time to rest. Then, when your mind is clear, you’ll be able to return to your writing re-energized.
If you can, print what you’re writing. You’re more likely to catch mistakes on a printed page than you would online. Shut down all your open browser windows. Sign out of all social media, skype, and any other online accounts. Turn your phone off and put it in another room. Turn off any other distractions such as a TV or music listening device. Quiet your space and your mind. Then take a walk, even if it’s just around your backyard or block, then come back in to review your content.
Proofread Sentence by Sentence. Go Slowly.
When you’re proofreading, it’s important to focus on each sentence individually. This is not the time to read for flow. You want to make sure everything is spelled correctly, that sentences have proper grammar, and that punctuation is correct and consistent. Break each sentence apart. Analyze it. Make sure all spelling, grammar, syntax, and format are correct and error-free.
In Other Words…
Proofreading and editing is every bit as important as writing, perhaps more so. When you submit well written, error-free articles or blogs on behalf of your client, the benefit is two-fold. You gain their respect, trust, and more business and when their business is successful, so is yours.