Your Shrewd Ideas To Have Sparkling Equestrian Business Marketing Copy
Proofreading your writing, whether it’s on your social media, website, products or brochures will give it a final polish that will add to its professionalism and help make a good impression. It also enables readers to focus on the message without being distracted. Lots of mistakes can also detract from your credibility.
So now that you know how it benefits you, you probably want some advice on how to do it, right?
Before we get going, I have a small caveat. Our brains are wonderful things. They save us time when reading by skipping over things and seeing what they think should be there. If the writing is your own, your brain will think it knows a lot of what’s there. Sadly, that means it’s very hard for us to proofread our own writing properly. Even proofreaders are advised not to!
That said, it’s way better than nothing. And social media posts and emails that aren’t part of a mailing list aren’t worth paying to have proofread anyway, although some people do. Be extremely careful with your social graphics, though, as mistakes there stand out more than those in a body of text and are harder to fix.
With that out of the way, let’s get going!
- Make sure you have a good knowledge of punctuation and grammar
If you don’t know when something’s wrong, you won’t be able to correct it. Look up anything you’re unsure of.
- Take a break
Writing is creative and proofreading (and editing) is analytical. If you try to mix them, both suffer. Besides that, our brains fill in what they expect to see. Be sure to take decent break between finishing your writing and proofreading it.
- Proofread when your mind is alert
It’s hard to concentrate properly when you’re tired and you’re much more likely to overlook errors.
- Don’t proofread when you’re rushed
You’re more likely to skim and miss things.
- Remove distractions
You can’t do a good job if you keep getting distracted. You know best what distracts you, whether it’s social media or your pet. Wait for a distraction-free time and close social media and anything else that has the potential to take your attention away from the task at hand.
- Look for one type of error at a time
When I started proofreading, this was where I went wrong. You may be confident you can multitask, but it just doesn’t work. Look for spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting and so on in different passes.
- Read one word at a time
This is a more difficult skill to develop than you’d think. We naturally take in a few words at once when reading and skip some and fill in the gaps with our brain. This is not the best way to spot things that are wrong. Mistakes like pubic
instead of public
happen and can be embarrassing, and anything can distract the reader from what you’re saying.
- Place a ruler under each line
This helps to keep your brain from jumping ahead.
- Read it backwards
This prevents your brain from filling in what it expects to see. It would be good to combine with your pass looking for misspelled words.
- Read it out loud
It’s surprising how many more errors you find when you do this. It also helps to check everything flows well and you haven’t used the same word too much in one area.
- Change your margin width
This is another thing that makes a big difference. Use a different margin width for every pass. Changing font size has the same effect.
- Print it out
Although it’s not always reasonable, everyone agrees that it’s much easier to spot errors on paper.
- Know your common mistakes
Everyone has mistakes that they’re prone to. Be aware of what these are for you and check for each one.
- Use your word-processor’s spellchecker, but wisely
Spellcheckers can be quite good at finding typing mistakes. However, they’re not human and cannot judge based on context. If a suggestion seems odd or wrong, do some research. Not all words will be in the spellchecker’s dictionary. I’ve had to add horse breeds to Word’s dictionary many times, as well as some equestrian terms. I have to say, Word’s grammar and punctuation suggestions usually leave much to be desired.
- Check for consistency
This may not be as obvious as spelling, grammar and punctuation, but it’s very important. Readers will notice inconsistency, and even if they don’t, they’ll likely notice that something is off or get an impression of unprofessionalism. Make sure your formatting is consistent, as well as whether or not you use an Oxford (aka serial) comma, whether or not you use full stops in abbreviations like eg
and how you capitalize horse breeds (less straight-forward than with dogs). Don’t have Shetland pony
in one place and Shetland Pony
in another. And don’t use keep switching between alternative names for horse or dog breeds – for example, using both Alsatian and German Shepherd.Conclusion
Now that you’re armed with these tips, you can go ahead and improve your writing. It’s something like get a horse ready for a class at a show where turnout is important.About The Author
Emily Haag is a proofreader for equine and pet businesses, helping them to feel confident about their written words and saving them from spending time head-scratching.https://polishedpeneditorial.co.uk