Make your voice heard
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Once you’ve edited your blog, newsletter or web content and you’re happy with how it reads, you need to proofread it for surface errors such as spelling, grammar and punctuation.

You may have already touched on this in your editing process, but a final check – after a break – is critical in producing a professional piece of written communication.

Most people devote only a few minutes to proofreading in the hope of catching a glaring error. But a quick read after you’ve worked hard to get the right words could very well miss that cringe-worthy mistake.

How many times have you spotted a typo or a mistake in a magazine? It’s so easily done, but so hard to rectify! The average proofreading process for a quality magazine involves between four and seven writing experts meticulously making their way through each word of each article – and that’s after a thorough edit by at least three people.

To be fair to yourself – and your brand – spend a little extra time on the proofread, searching systematically for errors. It might take a little extra time, but it does pay off.

Take a break before starting. If your eyes are tired or your content is too familiar, you could skip over an error. Clear your head or, if you can, give it to someone else to read – someone with fresh eyes.

Which medium allows you to proofread most carefully? You may like to work on the computer  or to sit back in the beanbag with a printed copy that you can mark up as you read. Do it where you can concentrate and avoid distractions.

Spell check
Word’s spell check can be useful but it won’t catch a misspelling that forms another valid word, for example, ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, ‘to’ instead of ‘too’, or ‘complementary’ instead of ‘complimentary’.

The grammar check can present similar issues, so you make sure you question and evaluate the feedback it provides.

You could proofread for one type of error at a time. It’s easier to catch grammatical errors if you aren’t checking punctuation and spelling at the same time.

Read slowly, and read every word. You could read aloud so you can hear how the words sound together.

You could circle every punctuation mark. This ensures you look at and question each one.

The proofreading process becomes more efficient as you develop and practise your strategy. You’ll identify specific areas of your writing that need more attention. Knowing you have a sound method for finding errors will help you focus on developing your ideas while you draft the piece of communication.

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