When proofreading a piece of work, whether it’s a brochure or a single email, I find it helps to have a checklist of items to tick off as you go through – that way you know you haven’t missed anything out. Spelling mistakes are the very obvious things to check for so I’ve compiled a proofreading checklist for you of the top five other things which need to be looked at when editing any marketing materials:
1.Using the right words
No spellchecker will pick up if you have used the wrong version of their/there, or if you have typed sea instead of see, or the very common weather instead of whether. This is where you need a person to proofread and check, not only that the spelling is correct, but that the words used are also correct. It is so easy to mis-type from as form, but it’s not a spelling error so won’t be picked up by the computer necessarily. The best way to check at this level is actually to read the text out loud to yourself. You would be amazed how much you spot by going through that process.
2. Checking for accuracy
Another area which is really important is to check the facts in the text for accuracy. If the text includes product information like weight, size, height, performance levels – are the facts correct and accurate? Are any claims made about the product correct and accurate? If you are making claims which aren’t true, then this could lead to serious problems and legal issues so make sure the facts and figures are all accurate.
3. Check logos and images
As well as the text, it’s important to check the logos and images are all correct. Do you have the right permissions to use the images and are they in line with branding guidelines? Has your logo been used in the right way, with the right colours and spacing around it? Does your logo appear on every page if it needs to? These are all vital elements for your business branding which need to be checked. The other aspect is the quality of the photos – are they high enough resolution if the piece is going to be printed?
4. Check all the links are working
If it’s an electronic communication you are checking, then it’s important to click onto every single link to make sure it’s working, and that it’s linking through to the right place. If you are checking an email template which is used regularly, then hover over every single link and check it to make sure there are no older links which have accidentally been copied over into the newer version. The last thing you want is to send out an email to customers which links to the wrong place, or goes to an error page.
5. Check numbers as well as words
Another area which sometimes gets overlooked is proofreading all of the numbers in a document as it’s easy to mis-type numbers too. Make sure no extra 000’s have been added into pricing, and that all pricing or measures are correct. Check all the dates to make sure no errors have sneaked in and last year’s date hasn’t crept in by accident. Double-check tables or lists of figures to make sure they are all correct.
I hope this proofreading checklist has proven helpful to you and will be a useful guide next time you have a document which someone asks you to “just cast your eyes over.”
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