Just ask NASA.
In 1962, they were forced to explode the Mariner I space shuttle over the Atlantic Ocean. Shortly after launching the ill-fated rocket, NASA scientists realized it was on a trajectory to crash land on a populated area of Earth, all because of a missing hyphen.
Some content-related gaffs, like NASA’s, are more severe than others. That’s why you have to rely on your wits to catch red flags when editing marketing copy until tools (like spellcheck in Word and Google Docs) or free proofreading services (like Grammarly) get better at thinking critically.
You want your target audience to pay attention to the message that you’re trying to convey, not your mistakes. Keep reading to learn how to save yourself from potential proofreading horrors with our editing tips.
1. Ask questions and aim for accuracyDoes any statement in the piece you’re proofreading seem a little off or like it’s the belief of the writer? Is anything just hearsay or innuendo? Readers will find the marketing copy more trustworthy if bias is limited and your sources aren’t biased.
Remove instances of hyperbole, like “most unique” or “best ever,” but add specificity when there are broad generalizations. Infuse your writing with imagery that will resonate—authentically—with your target audience.
If the writer is not writing an opinion column, ask them to back-up any assertions with reputable references/attribution.
Fact-checkPhone numbers, URLs, email addresses, company names, locations—always take time to double-check crucial basic information to make sure you’ve gotten it right in the marketing copy.
Point out cherrypickingDo any of the stats seem a little off? Does anything not ring true? If a quoted number or percentage looks too big or a statistic comes off as too unusual, ask the writer to provide sources for verification. When you’re in doubt, don’t trust your memory!
2. Go over the copy carefully—twiceStart by reading the piece as someone who might be in your target audience and consider the following questions from their point of view:
- Is the copy engaging?
- Are keywords added in a way that doesn’t disrupt the reader?
- Are there places that bore you?
- Is there any wording that trips you up or confuses you?
- Does the copy answer a question you have?
- Does the copy provide a solution to a pain point?
Reread the copy as an editor and look for broken links, typos, grammatical errors, brand voice/style problems, and spelling mistakes. Don’t forget to recalculate any math and double-check dates.
3. Clean-up formattingCheck for little things that the writer might have missed, like removing double-spaces between sentences. Make sure that you have a templated way to accommodate any copy that requires special formatting (e.g., tables with data).
If your copy is appearing online, remember short paragraphs, subheads, and bulleted lists (when appropriate) are a reader’s friend, especially on mobile.
Is your website’s copy engaging? Do your customers open your emails? Are leads clicking on your paid ads? If you need help, TBH Creative can help you assess where you are today and what you need to do to optimize your company’s content strategy to get the best results in this customer-centric world.
Set up a content strategy consultation
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