Carefully crafted content marketing campaigns can establish reputation or expertise, promote brand awareness, and create momentum. So it’s no wonder that many businesses have invested heavily in content marketing processes and systems. Yet some still struggle to rank well on search engine results pages. The secret to creating impactful content marketing that leaves a lasting impression is creating accurate content, and the way to do that is to edit and proofread.
You might be wondering why it’s so important for you to edit and proofread. You’re not a writer, after all! But the truth is that people will lose trust in your work if it’s riddled with grammatical or spelling mistakes. Mistakes show that you don’t care about the content you are producing, and with so many options out there, why would potential customers choose to read the blog of someone they perceive doesn’t care enough to undertake a basic proofread?
Perhaps the most famous example of a proofread that could have benefited the creators enormously is The Wicked Bible. In 1631, a London printer distributed 1,000 copies of the Bible but made a mistake in the Ten Commandments. The printer omitted “not” from the seventh commandment, telling readers, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” A furious King Charles I demanded that all the copies be burned, but unfortunately for him (and fortunately for us), seven copies survived. Now, the blunder serves as a warning against skipping proofreading.
Taking the time to proofread and edit will also save you money in the long run. Releasing a blog post that contains factual or grammatical errors and then taking it down to correct it costs money, a resource we’re sure you don’t want to deplete more than necessary. If you search the internet, you’ll find horror stories about how much money companies lost because of a typo.
We know you probably feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day, so anything that speeds up your content production process is a massive benefit. Before it implemented a workflow, Lucid Advertising, a marketing and advertising agency, was struggling to produce top-quality content because it had no consistent editing and proofreading process, a problem that was impacting the company’s reputation.
Lucid reached out to Proofed, and we created a bespoke style guide and put together a team of experienced editors dedicated to Lucid’s content. As a result, Lucid cut its turnaround time by 50%, freeing up staff to undertake more pressing tasks. Creating a process that includes editing and proofreading will streamline your workload and take some of the stress out of content creation.
Lapses in proofreading can cause embarrassment. Take this example from the East Oregonian newspaper. An unfortunate proofreading error made pitcher Pat Venditte able to exist underwater. Presumably, the writer meant that Venditte was ambidextrous, meaning that he could pitch with both hands, but what they actually wrote was that he was amphibious, meaning he could live on land and in water. Many people found the funny side, but in more serious pieces, this kind of error can cause issues – and result in a lot of red faces.
The lessons we may derive from the anecdotes above are all very well, but how do you efficiently edit and proofread to set yourself up for success?
We recommend that you take a break between writing and editing and again between editing and proofreading. When we do these steps back-to-back and without a lengthy pause, we don’t see what’s actually there; we see what we think is there. Ideally, you should have different people perform the distinct tasks because proofreading, in particular, needs a fresh, objective set of eyes. Having another person to help you isn’t always possible, so be sure you take a break between the content creation steps.
When we’re reading silently, our brains often skip words and fill in gaps with what we expect to be there. But when we read aloud, our brains have to slow down and speak every word. This activity helps us spot grammatical mistakes, awkward phrasing, and holes in logic or arguments. At first, you might feel silly reading aloud, but doing so is worth the effort because it stops you from publishing mistakes.
Having a style guide from which your writers and editors can work is a great way to promote consistency across all your written (and visual) media. In such a style guide, you can include preferences on dialect, word choice, the serial comma, and heading structure. With everyone on the same page, you can spend less time clarifying queries and more time actually marketing. If you need help, we have a blog on creating a brand style guide.
No one can proofread under pressure. If you have a deadline breathing down your neck, you’ll undoubtedly miss things. On average, proofreaders take about one hour to proofread 2,000 words, yet the average reading speed is about 12,000 to 18,000 words per hour, according to Speechify. So slow down and take the time to make sure your writing is error-free.
The above are just some of the ways you can make the most of your editing and proofreading, but if you’d like more help, check out our tips on editing and proofreading.
The secret to great content marketing is really not a secret at all. Editing and proofreading should be vital steps in your content creation process because they maintain your reputation, save money, cut your turnaround time, and prevent embarrassment. Take a break between the stages of your content production process so you can return to it with more objectivity. Reading aloud can help you spot mistakes that you miss when reading silently. To improve consistency, create a style guide that all your writers, editors, and proofreaders have access to. And finally, take your time because, as the old proverb says, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Why not remove the stress of editing and proofreading altogether? At Proofed, we’ve helped more than 1,000 businesses create engaging, accurate content. We can help you weed out the grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors that can harm your reputation. Find out here what Proofed can do for you.
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