Proofreading. Not the most exciting job in the world, but an absolutely necessary one.
We've covered before what happens when you miss a typo (that's right, the errorists win). Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any easier to turn out entirely perfect copy. And if you work for a marketing agency, delivering clumsy copy to a client reflects badly on both you and your copywriters.
Why you need a proofreading checklist
Randall Davidson wrote on here about the five secrets of better proofreading, but a lot of people tend to get stuck at number one: create a checklist. He's not the only one to put it atop the list, and with good reason. If you don't know what you're looking for, how can you expect to find it?
Proofreading isn't just about spotting spelling mistakes or dodgy grammar: it's about that final chance to make the copy shine a little brighter and the headlines punch a little harder.
What to look for as you read
Our single-page cheat sheet is divided into headings that cover different topics to focus on each time you read through your copy. (Yes, you most certainly have to read through it more than once). We also cover some basic techniques for making proofreading that little bit easier.
The following are the areas where we prioritise our proofreading:
- Consistency checks
- Words to avoid
- Headline tips
- Sharpen up
Each topic has a subset of specific things for you to look for or eliminate so that you end up with truly outstanding copy.
And no, you can't just rely on spellchecker...
...and this wonderful poem explains why.