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Proofreading: Your 14-Point Email Copy Checklist

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Raise your hand if you enjoy proofreading.


Yeah, proofreading isn’t much fun; however, doing it carefully is critical to finalizing accurate and effective email marketing copy. Below are 14 useful tips to help you find those typos before you hit “send.”

1. Shift into reverse

“Catching errors can be challenging if you’ve read the document a few times already,” writes The Expert Editor. “That’s because your mind knows what’s coming next (or at least, what your brain thinks comes next). A trick to find a fresh perspective and see sentences anew is to reverse the order: read the last sentence, then the second-to-last sentence, then the third-to-last sentence, and so on.”

2. Take a break

“Especially if you’re proofreading your own work, give yourself a day (if possible) between when you finish writing and when you begin to proofread,” suggests the GrammarPhile blog. “That time will not only give your eyes a chance to rest but will give you some distance from – and, ideally, a more objective perspective on – your work.”

3. Check contractions/apostrophes

“People often mix their and they’re, its and it’s, your and you’re and so on,” according to Daily Writing Tips. “If there something that can hurt the credibility of your text, it is a similar mistake. Also, remember that the apostrophe is never used to form plurals.”

4. Hunt for your common mistakes

“Use the search function of the computer to find mistakes you’re likely to make,” suggests The Writing Center of the University of Wisconsin. “Search for ‘it,’ for instance, if you confuse ‘its’ and ‘it’s;’ for ‘-ing’ if dangling modifiers are a problem; for opening parentheses or quote marks if you tend to leave out the closing ones.”

5. Zero in on one writing element per pass

“When you’re proofreading, choose one focus at a time,” advises Business 2 Community. “For example, focus only on formatting or only on grammar. By focusing on one element at a time, you can ensure that you find and fix every error in that area.”

6. Eliminate distractions and interruptions

“Shut down email and social media, hide the cell phone, shut off the TV, radio, or music, and close the door,” recommends WritetoDone.

7. Print it

“Print out your text and review it line by line: rereading your work in a different format may help you catch errors that you previously missed,” advises ThoughtCo.

8. Make it bigger

“View the text at 125 or 150 percent — or even at a larger size if you can do so comfortably on your screen,” suggests the GrammarPhile blog. “Using a 32-inch monitor (yes, it’s huge) with the text enlarged to 150 or 200 percent not only makes the text easier to see, but it has the effect of slowing my reading because my eyes can’t so easily skim the page.”

9. Allow plenty of time

“If you are trying to proofread a long article in one go, you are going to be left with some errors,” advises Just Publishing Advice. “Give yourself ample time to work through every common grammar and/or spelling mistake. Be sure to work enough time into your schedule when you are planning your days.”

10. Pay attention to the important ‘little things’

“Think about what the omission of one zero in a price could cost you,” suggests Paper Specs. “Your call-to-action is usually the most important thing that will be read. But how many times have you merely skimmed your phone number, web address and email? All it takes is one transposed number or letter, and all your efforts are for naught.”

11. Ask for help

“The beauty of most email marketing platforms is they offer the ability to preview your email before sending – and pointing out some possible mistakes!” writes Girlilla Marketing. “When in doubt, send to a colleague to take a look as a fresh pair of eyes.”

12. Re-check sentences or paragraphs after you make a change

“You know how when you paint a room in your home, the furniture looks shabby all of a sudden?” asks Super Copy Editors. “If you make a last-minute change to a sentence, double-check the sentence and maybe even the entire paragraph. That seemingly small change you made could have thrown off the flow of your work.”

13. Read your work out loud

“Reading out loud forces you to say (and hear) each word,” advises Poynter. “You’ll see whether you wrote ‘if’ rather than ‘is’ or ‘of.’ Or that you typed the word ‘and’ twice in a row.”

14. Double check your facts (and everything else!)

“Look up facts, figures, proper names, Twitter handles, website URLs, and anything else that you just ‘know for sure’ is right, because sometimes your memory isn’t what you think it is,” suggests Right Source Marketing.

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