Typos are like walking into your client’s office with untied shoes and a spot of spaghetti sauce on your collar. It doesn’t matter how hard or fast they thought you worked to get there—you still made a mess doing it.
The bathroom is that way, sweetie. You really should go clean up.
Every new set of eyes to your website or blog is a first date. If you’ve brought them this far, it means your SEO is working, your network is expanding, and your content strategy is on point. The last thing you want in this home stretch of conversion is a big pile of typos for them to slip on.
Having a proofing strategy is critical for any content creator, whether social media captions, e-books, publications, blogs, or website design. Effective writing is clear, concise, and professional within your tone guidelines. Typos have no place in your marketing, like a loose wire has no place in your home.
What follows are some of the proofing strategies I use so I can hit “publish” on my pages with confidence every time. No marinara involved.
Re-Read, Revise, Re-Write
This is the boring option, but it bears repeating. It’s not fun to act as your own critic—we do it in the mirror every day. Fortunately for us, writing fixes take a lot less time on the elliptical to correct.
Looking at your writing with a few hours or even a couple of days in between lets you examine it in a fresh light. What made sense to you at the time of writing may not land as hard now that you are unfamiliar with the mental context. Likewise, as you reach a writing flow and the words start flying, you may find yourself repeating words unintentionally or shifting styles mid-writing. These small details may not come across as proofreading, but the core principle is intact: making sure your writing is effective.
As the writer, you can fly through a typo in your work with “big-picture” eyes and not notice. Still, suppose your audience spends every third sentence going back and trying to work through what the paragraph or particular passage means in the piece’s context. In that case, there is a clear opportunity for improvement.
Re-writing is a drag, but it is often the best path to clearer, more effective writing.
The internet is full of hacks, some of them good, and some of them bad. We’ll focus on the good for now with two excellent browser tools that help deliver powerful messages: Hemingway and Grammarly.
Hemingway is a writing tool that allows you to copy in your document and grade it for comprehensibility. It also features colour-coded highlighting of phrases in your document that may be difficult to follow or even replaceable with more straightforward terms.
Grammarly integrates these features into a browser add-on compatible with most on-screen boxes you will find yourself typing in throughout the workday. It scans your document for typos, difficult passages, pronoun and adverb usage, as well as general readability.
The free version offers basic proofing and egregious errors, but if you are writing in any capacity during your day, a subscription package will provide you with instant value through improved writing strategies and a keen algorithmic eye.
These services help deliver effective writing, but nothing can beat taking your time and having a human reader take in your message and offering measured feedback.
This isn’t always a solution for small businesses, but if you can internally promote on-staff writers to proofreaders, you can establish an experienced gate that your writing must pass through before reaching your audience.
As proofers grow with you and your organization, they will learn the ins and outs of your voice as well as the tone of the business. They can gently nudge your work to be more effective in the context of performance. Submitting work to proofreaders also makes the process less intimate and takes any ego out of the process.
You’re not submitting your re-imagining to the Met—you’re submitting work into the hands of another professional. It’s nothing personal; it’s just business.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to go through your work. The written word is fixed in a way a face-to-face meeting isn’t and requires special care as a result.
Are you unsure of your skills as a communicator or worried that your copy starts your brand off on the wrong foot? Megan Killion Consulting is an experienced marketing team with the ability to simplify, strategize, and triple-check your written and published content. Book a chat today to get started on addressing your unique business needs and how we could help move your brand forward together.