In today’s digital world, every business is a publisher and by default expected to produce a constant flow of flawless content. From search optimisation and social media to lead generation and email marketing, the demand for fresh content never seems to end – and the expectation that every piece should be 100% accurate is ever present.
For established publishers, this shouldn’t pose a problem, but how do companies specialising in roof trusses, product packaging or legal services meet the publishing demands of modern marketing/business?
Quality content starts with strategy, but it ends with editing and proofreading.
13 steps to flawless content
Flawless content isn’t created by individuals; it’s created by entire teams. Great writers specialise in writing, not content strategy, keyword research or landing page design. Likewise, the best writers know the work they produce will always be improved by expert editors and proofreaders who can spot the mistakes they are too close to see.
If you want error-free writing every time, your proofreading process should look something like this:
- Get professional proofreading services: The fastest, simplest and most cost-effective way to implement a full proofreading system is to call in the pros.
- Hire in-house proofreaders: Alternatively, you could build an in-house team of proofreaders.
- Swap work: At the very least, have your writers proofread each other’s work, not their own.
- Have a style guide: You want consistency across every piece of content (e.g. British English vs. international, formatting guidelines, etc.).
- Read it out aloud: Have your proofreaders read content aloud as this makes mistakes more obvious.
- Remove unnecessary words: Aside from general errors, your team should also remove unnecessary words so your content is as concise as possible.
- Remove jargon and buzzwords: Jargon terms can be confusing and buzzwords verge on clichés, neither of which offer valuable info.
- Check for homonyms: Common misuses of words, such as accept instead of except or misusing there, their and they’re.
- Check for repeated words: Repeating the same words or phrases throughout the same document, paragraphs or sentences.
- Check apostrophes: This is one of the most common punctuation errors and a real giveaway that you haven’t proofread your content.
- Remove unnecessary commas: This is another common mistake that kills the flow of your text and makes content harder to read.
- Verify names, facts, dates, etc.: If you want people to trust your brand/content, make sure you verify your names, facts, dates and other key pieces of info.
- Use proofreading software: Tools like Grammarly should never replace human proofreaders, but they can help your team spot more mistakes, faster.
Follow these steps and creating flawless content consistently should become a natural process for your team. Of course, not every business is in the position to have a team of writers and editors so we have still got space for a couple more proofreading tips for smaller businesses.
How to master small business proofreading
Sadly, being a small business does not make the demands of your readers, search engines or other platforms any more flexible. Businesses of all sizes need to achieve the same quality of major publishers in today’s landscape and this is a real challenge if you don’t have the necessary content/writing talent on board.
If this sounds like your business, there are two things you need to do:
- Outsource: Whatever you can’t do in-house, outsource to those who can – writers, proofreaders, social media posters and whoever else.
- Make no compromises: Don’t fall into the trap of taking shortcuts, because you will end up wasting more time or money in the long run. It is better to create a lower volume of flawless content than a higher volume of flawed content.
Those last two tips apply to businesses of all sizes but they are especially important for smaller companies who don’t have the in-house ability to produce and proofread content on a consistent basis. With more than 4 million blog posts being published every day, only the best pieces of content are going to get the kind of results you need from your target audiences.
Proofreading is a minimum requirement in a digital age where every brand is expected to produce 100% error-free content.