Proofreading Tips for Content Marketing Managers
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of copyediting and proofreading for one big client, something that’s a nice break from freelance copywriting because it gives me a chance to pick on someone else’s writing for a change! (Disclaimer here: I do not market myself as a proofreader or editor, but it is a service I provide to my regular copywriting clients.)
For some reason, I seem to have a knack for proofreading and that gets more projects sent my way. Not that you’d know it reading through my marketing blog posts full of typos! But then no one pays me to proofread my own material so it just doesn’t get done. But I do have an eagle eye, it seems, or is it just that I know what I am doing?
I thought with all the content being generated by content marketing managers out there, it might be helpful to help you know what you’re doing too, with some tips to make you a better proofreader. Because you still want all that content to be quality, not just quantity, right? So these are my proofreading tips for content marketing managers. Copyediting tips I can’t provide, because that is truly a learned skill, sorry…
First of all, print it out! I don’t care what it is, you simply cannot thoroughly proofread something on a screen. You can do it, but you can’t do it well. Proofread it on paper with a pen in hand.
Second, you’re not only looking for typos, but looking for any inconsistencies. This includes formatting and spacing too. Some examples of errors I have found lately include:
- Chapter numbers in different size fonts, with chapter 1 small, and chapter 2 big, etc.
- A “Continued on page X” line that was even with the last line of text on one page, but lower on another
- Different spacing after a paragraph or heading
- Missing punctuation, like the period at the end of a paragraph
- Double punctuation, like two periods at the end of a sentence
- Subheadings, etc., not all capitalized the same: if it’s sentence capitalized in one place and title capitalized in another, make them the same
- Different fonts used in different places
- Ditto for font sizes
- Headings worded one way in one place, like a table of contents, and then worded differently somewhere else
Third, you’re not copyediting. This is a hard one for me to adhere to! But by the time something gets to me for proofreading, it should have already been through a copyedit stage. I shouldn’t have to correct any grammar or poor English or punctuation. That said, if the error is there, fix it! Just don’t set out with a red pen to mark up the document, that’s all.
Fourth, proofread everything, from the title on the cover to the captions under the photos to the footnotes. And I mean everything, even the URLs and the photo credits.
Does this sound anal? Yes, I am sure it does. But that’s the proofreader’s job! If you’re content marketing manager and your eyes are the last set of eyes to look over something before it goes live, then be prepared to be anal on occasion.
Oh, and use a red pen. Blue or black ink is too easy to overlook.
Now, I hope those tips help you get some better quality content marketing generated.