If you’re a creative online in any capacity then I am sure that you have written copy before, whether that be for your website, Etsy sales page or even blog posts. But do you always take the time to make sure all of those little copy-hiccups are corrected? I know myself how tempting it is to sit down, write some copy and then, desperate for a cup of tea, hit publish, dashing to the kettle before you have really double checked your work for errors.
So here are some helpful little ways to make sure that your copy always looks nice and sparkly for your readers. Sadly there is no magic wand (unless you count spell check) so here are some pointers to get you going in the right direction.
1. Read your copy one more time – So I might have OCD, but I will read my writing at least three times before hitting publish. My aim is that the last time I read my copy, I want it to be perfect. No errors to correct, nothing. Perfect. This is because when you make a correction or change your work you may have altered another aspect of your copy inadvertently. So keep reading until you don’t spot any errors at all. If you can!
2. Get someone else to do the dirty work – That’s right you can get someone else to proof your work. The human eye can little be trusted as your mind will always want to work things out for you. That “mising” letter or the wrong “your” will often slip into your writing mischievously. No matter how hard you try. Asking another brain to take a look should weedle out any little issues. It must be said that even proofreaders sometimes need proofreaders.
3. Once you spot an error, go back and read again – Once more, that mind of yours will do its utmost to mislead you. Once you spot something that needs correcting it is very tempting to pat yourself on the back at this point and move on. The eye is distracted and already looking to the next sentence. It is then difficult to spot the other error sitting right next to the first. One error is enough to sit up and pay attention.
4. Repeated words or phrases – Ok, so this might be less to do with grammatical errors but still vital in ensuring that your copy has a polished and professional finish. Using the word “excellent” more than once in the same paragraph looks lazy. Unless you have a good reason to do so, I would advise staying well clear. Equally, allowing repeated words to stack up from one line to the next is also to be avoided, as in the example below:
The repeated text draws the eye and can take away from that punchy line that you have worked so hard to create.
5. Print out and read out – Reading your work out loud can be one of the most helpful tools the box. Having to read your work out-loud really makes you stand still and listen to how your copy sounds to others. Printing out your work and looking at it on paper and not just on the screen can make for a more relaxing process and once again give you the space to truly read and soak up what you have written.
Now time to proofread my own work! You can tell me if I have missed any mistakes!