8 Steps to Proofreading like a PRO

8 Steps to Proofreading like a PRO

Proofreading can be tiresome, repetitive, and overwhelming but, if your profession requires you to read, write, or design, proofreading is an essential skill. Like many other essential tasks, the goal is (or should be) to develop a two-pronged strategy; that is low cost and high reward. For proofreading you want to achieve low duration and high accuracy. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our top tips for effective proofreading.

1. Choose the right location

You’ll do your best proofing in a distraction-free zone – okay so there are always distractions, but choosing a tidy, quiet space with good lighting will give you a better chance of concentrating.

2. Take breaks (yay!)

You’ll be most effective if you proofread in short blocks of time; read for thirty minutes then get a drink or take five minutes to walk around the office. You’ll come back with renewed energy and a clear mind, just perfect for picking up those pesky little errors.

3. Order

Start with the body of the text, then move on to headings (they often slip through the cracks), then style, spacing, fonts etc.

4. Focus 

Proofreading is systematic; so direct your focus to one problem at a time (spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, sentence structure). If you're looking for everything and anything, you’re bound to miss things.

To write is human, to edit is divine.
— Stephen King

5. Read aloud

It might feel silly to begin with, but trust us – reading aloud will reveal errors that would otherwise go unnoticed.

6. Spell check

Spell check is great- it will pick up those little typos, but you absolutely cannot rely on it! Think of spell check as an initial screening tool rather than a catchall.

7. Read backwards (say what?)

Reading backwards word-by-word will let you focus on spelling and word choice without your brain subconsciously filling in the gaps (you can start at the end of the document or just the end of a paragraph).

Just when you thought you were done….

8. Do it all over again

That’s right, you’ll need to check back over your work again, and again, and again. After that, have a colleague take a look too – you’ll be surprised what a fresh pair of eyes will pick up!

Proofreading not for you? Luckily our eagle-eyed Marketing Concierge team are ready (red pens in hand!) to proofread your supplied content today. Copywriting not your thing either? Never fear - our highly skilled Marketing Concierge team are ready to write too! Contact us today and get your content underway!