January 17, 2018

5 Tips to help you get the most from proofreading

Spell check word concept cloud background - Content Proofreading, Content Marketing, Blogging

Anyone who produces written content, whether it is an article, a business proposal or an academic thesis, should bear in mind the importance of proofreading and more importantly, the dangers of not proofreading. Contrary to popular belief, content proofreading is not solely the job of an editor. Proofreading your writing is an essential and integral part of your writing or blogging process. But exactly how should you go about it, and what is it you should look for? Here you’ll find five tips to help you get the most from the proofreading process and ensure the quality of your writing reflects the effort you have made. 

Get a second opinion

Proofreading your content is fine to a certain extent, but independent feedback is also valuable. Sometimes, you may be too close to your writing and subject to spot errors. So, have someone you trust proofread your content. Many advisors say that you should get a friend or family member to do this, which is fine if you’re sure they will be able to spot errors. You need someone with an eye for detail and a sound knowledge of grammar and spelling. Encourage them to give you constructive criticism where they think they see errors, and not just to tell you that something is wrong without offering an opinion or a reason why.  

Find out the important quality checks that your content must go through here. 

Don’t go proofreading your content soon after writing it

Your mind tells you what you think you have written, and not necessarily what made onto the page. Most editors advise that you should do something else for at least a few hours before proofreading your content. This ensures your attention has been diverted and you’ve had time to drop the train of thought that you had while writing. In truth, it’s far better to put your writing away until at least the next day, possibly even a few days if you have the luxury of time. This will guarantee that you come back to it with a clear view or even just in a different mood. It’s much more likely that you will spot mistakes and areas for improvement. 

Make sure you read all the words on the page

Simple though it may sound, for many people this can be very difficult as their regular method of reading may be fast, almost skimming the text. This is not a suitable reading style for proofreading unless you have a great deal of experience on your side. To thoroughly proofread content, the editor needs to see, appreciate and digest every single word and its place in a sentence. If you want to improve your blogging skills, here are some tips that can help.  

Never rely on automated spelling and grammar tools entirely

These are no substitute for a seasoned human proof-reader. Make sure you fully understand the limitations of spelling and grammar checkers and what they are actually checking for you.  

Check for mistakes in context with the kind of writing you’re undertaking

For example, grammatical errors associated with the way you speak or even a regional dialect may be alright and might also add to the texture of a character if included in the dialogue.  If, on the other hand, you’re writing a guide on the importance of perfect grammar, you will probably want to be much stricter with your language. 

You can also create a guideline of proofreading checks through which you must put your writing. Follow these tips meticulously, and your written content could be close to flawless. Do you have any proofreading tips or tricks of your own? Tell us in the comments below.