Proofreading Made Easy: A Step-By-Step Guide 2021

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Whether you write your own content or you’re a professional copywriter, everyone finds proofing anything they’ve written themselves difficult.

After a few years in the game, I’ve found a few ways to make the proofreading process easy and effective.

So let’s get cracking.

Step 1: Use Technology To Help

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Grammarly

First, you’re going to run your work through Grammarly. 

Grammarly is free, and a good place to start before you go through your work with a fine-tooth comb.

It won’t spot everything (and will try and change everything you write into American English), but it will certainly give you a heads up.

Hemmingway Editor

Next, you’re going to copy and paste your work from Grammarly into Hemmingway App. 

Hemmingway App is free too, and will help you spot any clunky sentences, plus your overuse of passive voice and adverbs.

I also find that your writing looks and feels different in Hemmingway. As if someone else has written it. And that’s exactly what we want.

Spotting your own mistakes is difficult. We want to try and make your writing feel less like you as possible.

Natural Reader

This has been a game changer for me recently. 

Once I’ve ran my writing through Grammarly and Hemmingway, the next step in my proofreading process is to copy and paste the text into Natural Reader.

If you’ve ever used Word’s attempt at a text reader, you’ll know how sh*t it is. Natural Reader is a whole different kettle of fish, my friend.

Paste your work into the programme and, most importantly, close/hide the web page and any word documents with your work open. If you keep the text open, you’ll end up reading ahead instead of listening to the nice lady robot read out your amazing words.

It’s not perfect (she pronounces ‘headteacher’ more like ‘heedteacher’) but it should help you spot any silly mistakes or typos.

Step 2: Take a Break

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As long a break as possible. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes leaving your work over the weekend and coming back to it with fresh eyes makes.

I know this isn’t always possible, so at least leave it overnight.

Step 3: Your Turn To Do Some Work

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So far all I’ve asked you to do is copy your work into a few web applications and take a break. 

Now you’ve got to put some graft in.

Change the colour and font

Before you do your first manual proofread, I want you to change the colour and font of the text. Why? Because it’ll make your writing look less like your writing.

As we’ve covered, proofreading your own work is reaaaaaaally hard. So the more it doesn’t look like your work, the better.

Note – You can change it into Webdings if you want, but that’s on you…

Print it off

Up to now you’ve been fussing over your masterpiece on a screen. Printing it off gives you a different perspective.

Record yourself reading it aloud

Now you’ve got your writing printed off in a font and colour you’re not used to, record yourself reading it aloud.

Step 4: Ask a Favour

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Nobody can proofread their own work as well as you can proofread someone else’s, so call in a favour and ask someone to read your work for you.

I have an arrangement with other top copywriters where I proofread their work in exchange for them proofreading mine.

That means our clients are getting the best possible end product, and I get to read other copywriters work and see their mistakes which makes me feel better 😉

Step 5: Send it!

If you’ve completed every step so far, you’ve done all you can to proofread your work.

It’s in the hands of the writing gods now.

So get it sent, move on and forget about it. It’ll be fine.

And if you’re thinking ‘I bet he doesn’t really do all this’…

I do. Honest.

Is it a pain? Aye.

Do I hate it? Oh, absolutely.

Is it necessary? Even more so.

It’s worth putting in the effort to get it right because there’s nothing worse than someone pointing out a typo in your work.

And it’d be an absolute travesty if you found one other than the one I’ve deliberately placed in this article ;).

If the above sounds like your worst nightmare, my copyediting and proofreading package starts at £250 per 1000-word blog. And if that sounds reasonable, email me now at alex@actcopywriting.co.uk

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