It happens to the best of us: you’ve put the work in, re-written and re-read your promotional piece at least twice and sent 500 snazzy new flyers to print. Then, lo and behold, you’re handing them out eagerly to your pals and your friend points out a typo.
No seriously, right there in the third line.
It’s a horrible feeling and we’ve all been there. Even professional copywriters get their work proofread as it is so hard to spot your own errors. You know what you want to say, so you read what you think you’ve typed. It’s completely normal, no matter how good a writer you are.
Time to focus on your business
But maybe you’ve acknowledged that writing isn’t your strong point. And that’s cool. We’ve all got our strengths and weaknesses. Tax blows my mind. I just can’t get my head around it. So I employ an accountant. I could probably muddle through the tax returns myself but it would be an uphill struggle. Which takes time. Time I could be spending working on my business. Because that’s what I’m good at. So, instead of muddling through with your content writing – whether it’s for your website, mail shots, blog posts, or flyers – employing a copyeditor will reap rewards.
Proofread or copyedit?
Getting a freelance copyeditor to give your content the once-over will give you the confidence that your words are serving you well.
Many writers and editors offer different levels of service, so you can choose what works for you and your budget. You might be a fairly proficient writer and feel like you’ve nailed your brand voice, in which case a proofread is probably all you need. Just to check for any pesky typos or punctuation mistakes.
Or, you might feel like your writing is ok, but could do with a bit more of a tweak to make sure it reads nicely and has maximum impact. For that, you’ll need a copyeditor who will proofread your work but also give you suggestions for any amendments that might improve the flow of your writing.
If you feel like you know what you want to say but just can’t find the words then you need a copywriter. And that’s a different blog post for another time.
Give your readers confidence
Written content that is full of errors is not a good look. It can be an instant turn-off for some readers. And that means they will probably go elsewhere for your product or service. Error-free copy gives your readers confidence that you mean business. But, more than that, it shows that you’ve taken the time and effort to get it right or get it checked.
Spell-checker is not your friend
Of course, we all have the benefit of a spell-check facility on our word processor of choice. But this doesn’t help when you type now instead of not as they are both legitimate words. And using the wrong one can change the whole meaning of your sentence. Check out my Instagram top tips for more on this.
Similarly, most commonly mixed up words won’t be highlighted by the spell-checker so you might end up writing to someone “bare with me” when you should have used bear. Bare means naked or plain. So you’ve basically just asked someone to get naked with you. Awkward.
Check yourself – top-tips
If your budget simply won’t allow you to employ an editor for a particular piece of writing and you need to make sure it’s on-point, here are my top-tips for self-editing:
Change the font. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to your eyeballs and could shine a spotlight on any major errors.
Leave as much time as possible between finishing writing and going back to check it. I’m not talking days, necessarily, but a good few hours will make all the difference. Better still, sleep on it.
Read it aloud. If you’re stumbling over words or it doesn’t flow nicely, it will probably benefit from a bit of re-jigging.
If there are words that you know regularly trip you up, make a list. Be sure to double-check your work if you’ve used any of those words which you know you sometimes get mixed up. I have to think about stationery/stationary every time. I’ve done an Instagram guide for that too.
Get a chum to read it for you. A fresh pair of eyes is always a good idea, even if they’re not a professional editor. They’ll be able to pick out any glaring errors or let you know if something you’ve written isn’t entirely clear.
So there you have it. And if you need any more information on what a copyeditor actually does, just get in touch. It might not cost as much as you think to give your content the once over, but it will add so much value.