Reckoning of Proofreading, a practice in self-scrutiny and disruptive personal development.
It’s not like only Editors, Sub-Editors and Content Managers are equipped with some special powers to proofread the content for campaigns. Revising your answers while writing an exam and proofreading your content before running a campaign are most relatable in every context. It’s like making sure that no points are taken, because of perceived differences “after all who has ever answered wrong in exams, it’s always the examiner or the checker at fault”.
Proofreading’s important, not because it makes your content look good and because it checks some points on the compliance sheets. It’s important because the audience that you’re serving puts their deep trust in your cognitive abilities while visiting your content. To find anything that doesn’t ring a bell, or resonates with either what they need or what they want is how content loses the marketing battle.
As my Hindi professor used to say “A small mishap with content can lead to grave misinterpretations…
“इस दुकान को सोमवार, बंद रखा जाता है।” Translates to “This shop is kept closed on Mondays”
A tiny glitch in proofreading the content while writing the final copy can lead to…
“इस दुकान को सोमवार, बंदर खा जाता है।” which translates to “This shop is eaten by a Monkey on Mondays”
Seems now that one might always want to take some extra care while proofreading after this…
But how to organize Proofreading, how to make it fool-proof and how to know that the content doesn’t need another round of proofreading? With enough poise and experience in formulating content, one can ingest business standardization practices like Six Sigma and Lean into small processes like Proofreading as well. One just needs to visit the roots of content back to its basics and identify how one formulates it.
Following are some insights that we’ve been able to identify in our half a decade’s experience in Content Concierge roles. Practice well before implementing, a piece of content is as explosive as a grenade when handled without caution. Share if you like our ideas, ask us for more details and if you have some insight that we can cherish, by all means, collaborate. Here we go…
Standardization of Proofreading in Business and Marketing Content
1. Not without a Hard Copy: A pen is for Writers, keyboards are for Programmers
You can’t scribble on your Laptop screen for errors, not if you’re a content writer at least (pun intended). Free flow of content is something that a writer appreciates more than anyone, and being able to scribble it down on a hard copy is the biggest asset which any digital screen cannot provide.
One often tends to glaze over the content on the computer screen just because of optical aids and ease of editing. Sometimes ease of editing is recursive. You miss the details which otherwise would have captured more ‘average-reconsideration-time-span’ per portion. Take a hard copy in print of any content no matter if it’s an A2 size sheet or hoarding and make a mess of it while proofreading.
Content is not just words and grammar, it’s information which people dedicated consumers take in with a high value. Take more time in making the final hard copy, your content owes that kind of introspection.
2. Check-testing 1,2,3… Checking Content for Content
Moving back to the basics, the most obvious checking phase involves checking for that which is evidently being said. Checking for informational sanctity is something that determines if the content is going to uphold the promise of what is being expected. But how to go about it in an organized manner.
According to our half a decade experience in the Content Industry, go with the Check Testing 1,2,3… approach as an emcee would:-
- Truth: authenticated information, verified sources, premise-core-conclusion, know that what goes in the copy, defines who you are for the reader (even if for the moment)
- Check for factual errors, data errors and quotations’ error.
- Not the disseminator body of the content. Content has less to do with Branding, while it’s being read (before being read and after being read is an altogether different story)
- Organisation, in the sense of cohesiveness and order of ideas.
- Structure, that would imbibe the value as destined from the content.
- Check for Idea flow, transitional characteristics, and deviations.
- Are you thinking what I need you to think? Inculcating the right interpretation
- Clarity of message.
- Creating space for your intellect to level with that of the consumer
- Check for demographical, contextual and ethical concerns.
3. Hail Grammar! Hard Errors
Do not design your content, for-profit content is not meant for aesthetic pleasure, it’s meant for intellectual one. Besides Grammar and other mechanical hotspots of your content are not figures of beautification. One doesn’t write good grammar because it looks good to the consumer, its the becoming of organized writing.
- The Knitty-Gritty Errors
- Grammar: check for your target audience, how does it perceive grammar. Some regional inclinations are more profound than best practices. We’re not suggesting to give up on your Grammatical Integrity, just opt the best version of grammar within the rules that also satisfies the local narrative.
- Punctuation: spaces (like the monkey eats shop case), commas etc. Placing punctuations has become a style. Everyone knows where it’s necessary, you can excel by knowing where it’s sufficient.
- Formats and Off-Body content: Don’t proofread the main content only. Check for off-body content. Banner, Header, Footer, Borders etc. mechanical errors are not only about grammar you see…
4. Round Three: Proofread the 3rd Time
Check for complexity and routine of the content. If the content is sensitive you might not want to take any chances with dynamic possibilities. A B-Plan has to appear beyond grammar and facts, it has to be just the right blend of dynamism and realism, both of which cannot be scheduled under any content writing rule.
Some hacks and tactics to check if your content is nonroutine or complex:-
- Read from right to left, taking more time and emphasis on each word. If the document demands it, sensitivity should be maintained in the most diligent manner.
- Better read the content to someone whom you trust and have them punch holes into it for comprehension lags.
- Alter your speed while reading one complete piece, helps you know where the linkages are shaky.
5. Schematics: Dress your content well
“There are dinner jackets and DINNER JACKETS, this one’s the latter” I absolutely love the smirk Eva Green had on her face while calling out Daniel Craig as he complained about a tailored suit in James Bond: Casino Royale (2006)
- Format towards compliance of a conventional look, one that includes all essential portions necessary for the content to appear complete. Salutations, Indents, Spacing, dates, enclosures, captions, etc. Assume as if you’re writing that letter to principal for leave application from school and modulate it later based on dynamic requirements.
- Order of matter is important. In the context of lists, numbered and bullet points; sometimes things are perceived to follow a certain order, and sometimes they make better sense in a certain order. make sure you either follow or lay emphasis in that way.
6. The Spelling Bee feature: Check for Keying errors | Soft Errors
The last and another vital part of excellent proofreading is spellcheck and repeated word check. Most often it happens that having gone through document repeatedly makes the document change so much from the original copy that the words and spellings just stop making sense.
It also happens when a contextually proofread content is ignored for basic errors (We’ve all been there). Check for spellings and common errors at last because only then do you have the document which won’t demand any further change.
Stop when done: final rule of Proofreading
Any further proofreading is not at all required for any kind of content (even if it’s meant for Wikileaks or alien transmission). Checking your content more than required is another foul habit that has led to more disaster than good.
Proofreading as a Boon
The key to the marketing business of content is rewriting and revising. A copy not optimized for the audience enough virtually holds the potential of eliminating the previous efforts of a brand. Please don’t consider proofreading as a task, it’s fun knowing that your competition is not with others but with yourself. Knowing that you’ve gone beyond the reach of external comparison. Inculcate the feeling in your work and it’ll reflect in your habits/culture.
Wit Write Creative Solutions is a Content Concierge for your marketing requirements. With its experience in all forms of content and a concentrated approach towards Content-only services, WWC has been serving industry giants and prominent authors for the previous half-decade. Wit Write Creative Solutions brings in the practices of Business Standardization into content for spearheading a crusade which relies on the truthfulness of its chant “Only the right words would do”. You can reach out via following channels for discussion your unique content requirement and have a customized solution within 24 hours.
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