KEEP CLAM AND PROOF READ

Proofreading: Ten Quick Tips

Proofreading is incredibly important, as we all know, because there is nothing as cringeworthy as looking back at something in print and seeing glaringly obvious mistakes. In fact, it’s downright embarrassing – particularly when the mistake was yours!

We can laugh at these examples, sure, but only because someone else made them. It’s not funny at all when it happens to you. It can make members of staff look bad and, more importantly, it can reflect very poorly on your business.

But with stellar proofreading skills you can go a long way to avoiding all of that.  Here are ten quick proofreading tips that have always served me well:

  1. It may sound weird but read your article backwards. Instead of skimming through what you’ve written, which you’re already very familiar with, go back. That way, you check each word, without the distraction of what follows next.
  2. Go and take a break. Put your feet up for a while and come back to your copy. Brilliant. Taking time away from your content will make errors and issues much clearer and easier to spot.
  3. Get a colleague to read it through, second opinions are worth their weight in gold.
  4. Double check those common errors, ones like “your” and “you’re”. Yes, those old beauties often catch us out, but they are VERY important to get right. For example, if you state “we can help you’re business” on a flyer… well, you might as well write “please don’t give me any work!”
  5. Just like journalists do, think about getting your facts right. They are crucial. So double and triple check any business facts, figures and especially names. Getting someone’s name wrong is, in football commentator parlance, a schoolboy error – especially when it’s your CEO.
  6. Read your text aloud – you may feel like a child at school, but it definitely works. It’s brilliant for checking how your copy flows too.
  7. Setting it Straight
    The Sentinel

    Use a spellchecker. May seem the cheaters way out but sometimes the machines do find things that we miss. Especially often hard to see things like single quotes (‘).

  8. Be old fashioned and print a hard copy. Even though we are encouraged against too much printing, to help the environment, nothing beats getting that red pen out and finding errors.
  9. Use a thesaurus to prevent yourself from repeating the same word too much. An overused word can get mighty annoying for readers and suggests you probably don’t have a good enough command of the English language to be writing this copy in the first place.  The result?  You appear amateurish, and you don’t want that!
  10. Make a list of those common words (like your/you’re, there/their, its/it’s) and look out for them in your copy. They are the ones that are the most common for making people and businesses look a little bit silly. So just check them over!
  11. Here’s a bonus tip – if you’re referring to a business in your copy, make sure you stay singular.  For instance, “CWDmedia has published a blog on proofreading tips” is correct.  CWDmedia is a single entity, not a collective.  “CWDmedia have published…” would be incorrect.  “Is/has” = good.  “Are/have” = bad!

Checking allows you to be confident in your copy so just do the right thing, proofread away!

Got any tips of your own that you don’t see listed above?  Why not share them below?

Welcome to the new look CWDmedia

As the saying goes, “New Year, New You”.  Well, in addition to mentally committing to get fitter, eat cleaner and rid myself of my bad habits, I thought I’d give the CWDmedia site something of a makeover ahead of what I hope will be a busy year on the freelancing front.

Besides the facelift, you probably won’t notice an awful lot different with CWDmedia save for the introduction of a blog, in which I intend to provide straightforward and practical advice, ideas and tips on all things graphic design, photography, copywriting and marketing.  There’s already a few posts – feel free to browse and, if you’ve something positive to add to any, leave a comment!

 

CWDmedia copywriting tips

Finding Your Voice – Why Copywriting is Crucial to Business Success

The idea of hiring a copywriter can seem a little weird. Because why would you hire someone else to write about your business? After all it’s you who knows it better than anyone else! But great copywriting can really add something extra to your marketing material.

Your voice

You want to get across the true message of what your business offers but you cannot do that without a voice.
You want to come across as:

  • Professional
  • Approachable
  • Different from all the rest

The tone in your copy gives your business added depth. Your clients want to feel connected to you in some way and so you need to have a consistent voice for them to identify with.

Impartiality

When it comes to creating promotional material it is good to think outside of the box. That’s where a second viewpoint can become really valuable.

Because when you’re working for a company you’re passionate about, it can be hard to think of reasons why a client wouldn’t want to pick you for the job. Forget about statistics and how everyone else is working for a moment and focus purely on the client’s point of view.

New Ideas

It’s also imperative to look beyond the main service areas of your business, because even though they are your main selling points, it’s good to think about the other lesser-known features/values/procedures of your business that really set you apart from the rest.

The So What Test (popular with Metallica & Anti-Nowhere League fans, allegedly…)

The most useful tool you can use when putting marketing material together is the famous ‘So What?’ test.

The bike you’re selling has 21 gears instead of 18. So what? There’s no point listing all of those impressive facets, or the services you offer, without explaining why they are so unique. So don’t be afraid to go into detail. It’s not too wordy, it’s helpful to your customers.  Sell the benefits, not the product or service. Your customers’ biggest question is ‘how is it going to help me?’.

SEO

You will already understand the importance of Search Engine Optimisation to your business. Well, getting this kind of written formula correct in your copy, can increase your site’s traffic and therefore sales tenfold.

Why copywriting is crucial to business success…

If you want to see significant growth in your business then you need to truly connect with your client.

Be personable, care about your audience, find out what they want and explain how you can give it to them. Then you will see your business happily grow.

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