No one has ever produced a successful article without proofreading it first. No marketing email that is riddled with mistakes has ever worked. And no incomprehensible product description has ever led to a sale.
This is why proofreading is such an essential process for successful copywriting - without it, your copy would fail. You would hinder your credibility as a writer, reduce client trust, and decrease readership.
In this article, we’ll explore everything there is to know about proofreading and its importance in the copywriting world. You’ll learn what proofreading entails, why it matters so much, and the best tools to use during your quality assurance process.
What is Proofreading?
Proofreading is the process of going back over your work, identifying any undue errors, and correcting them accordingly. Since everyone is prone to mistakes - that being the nature of human error - proofreading is a highly necessary process.
Contrary to popular belief, copy editing and proofreading are not the same thing. Where copy editing concerns stylistic choices and wording, proofreading mainly focuses on spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Here’s a list of what a proofreader may identify and fix during the process:
General sentence cohesion.
You can use these points to develop a proofreading checklist for your copy and ensure you spot every little mistake in your work.
After you or someone else has proofread your work, it should be ready for publication. To this end, proofreading is the final stage in the copywriting process, as it essentially constitutes the final quality assurance before the copy is published or sent to a client.
Why is Proofreading so Important?
The benefits of proofreading are overwhelming, as it provides so much value that you’d be a fool to not include it as part of your copywriting process. Proofreading constitutes a crucial stage of writing, since it ensures clarity, credibility, and functionality in your text.
Read on to discover more about the benefits of proofreading and why it’s such a vital part of copywriting.
Reduce Mistakes in Your Work
The most obvious advantage of proofreading your work is to reduce the amount of errors you make and produce a better-written piece.
It’s natural for copywriters of all levels to make mistakes, whether you’re just beginning to form your career or you’ve been in the business for decades, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re constantly finding mistakes.
The main thing is that you take the time to identify those mistakes and correct them accordingly. After all, it’s the final piece that you’ll be judged on - not your drafts. You wouldn’t judge Da Vinci on a half-finished Mona Lisa, now, would you?
Improve the Clarity of Your Message
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors - however small - can lead to surprisingly monumental lapses in understanding between the writer and the reader.
The design of the English language - or any language for that matter - means that words with completely different meanings are often only a single letter away. Checking for commas is not the same as checking for comas, for instance.
Speaking of which, adding or omitting something as simple as a punctuation mark can lead to drastic consequences for the meaning of your writing. I’m sure you’ve all heard the example of “Let’s eat, Grandma” vs “Let’s eat Grandma” - two very different exclamations.
As a result, it’s hugely beneficial to the clarity of your copy if you proofread your work.
Ensure Credibility in Your Work
The impact of proofreading on your reputation is irrefutable. Well-written pieces increase the legitimacy, credibility, and authority of you as a copywriter and enhance your business’ or brand’s overall image.
Copy riddled with spelling errors massively hinders your reputation and will cause a notable reduction in readership. This, in turn, leads to unfulfilled promises to your clients, as your copy will not improve their traffic, nor enhance sales, nor foster subject authority.
To build trust among your readers and promote your credibility as a copywriter, you have to proofread your work and minimise any avoidable mistakes.
Optimise Your Text for SEO
SEO optimisation is typically performed during the writing and editing stages, but it can also find its way into the proofreading phase, too. Here, you should make sure that all the relevant keywords are included and the structure of your copy is appropriate.
Using correct headers and subheaders is one way to ensure your content is optimised for search engines. You may also want to adjust the layout and format to target things like featured snippets and the “People Also Ask” section of Google (a great tool for focussing on this section is Also Asked - ideal for optimising your FAQs).
Build Trust Among Clients
Finally, it’s not just your readers you have to build trust with - your clients also need reassurance that you’re the right person for the job.
Providing client value is essential for any copywriter, so you must ensure your writing is as good as it can be to demonstrate your ability and value as a writer. That way, your clients will trust your quality and will continue to offer you work.
Proofreading is a major part of quality assurance, which is itself a necessary part of building trust among clients. You need to be able to prove that your work will contain as few errors as possible, which is why most businesses you work with will assume that proofreading is part of your process.
Do Copywriters Need Proofreaders?
Since copywriting and proofreading are two different processes, it can sometimes make sense for each one to be handled by a different person. In this instance, a copywriter will work alongside a proofreader to ensure their work is optimised for publication.
The benefits of this largely come from a second pair of eyes. All too often, writers miss obvious mistakes because they gloss over their own writing or they simply don’t notice that what they’re doing is incorrect.
As such, having someone else proofread your work can be very valuable, as they’ll be able to find mistakes that you won’t.
On the other hand, it can be time-consuming and expensive employing two different people to write and to proofread. As a result, if you’re working for an agency or as an in-house copywriter, you’re often expected to perform both tasks yourself.
The best copywriters will also be adept proofreaders, but even they may miss things from time to time. That’s why it’s also great to use any AI proofreading tools - such as ProWritingAid - to reduce the risk of human error.
The Best Proofreading Tools for Quality Copy
Every copywriter needs a trove of digital tools that they trust to help them deliver top-quality content. Here’s a selection of three of the best proofreading tools you can use to improve your writing:
Grammarly is one of the best tools out there for proofreading, since it offers a range of incredible features that are perfect for copywriters. It goes beyond simply identifying spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, as it also assesses your writing for clarity and engagement.
This means you can produce high-quality writing and minimise your mistakes, giving your clients and readers the reassurance they need to continue coming back.
Another excellent tool for copywriters, StackEdit can run quick spell checks on your work in-browser, so you won’t have to download a separate tool or switch to a different application to proofread your work. You can even use the tool offline - ideal if you’re writing on the go if you have a remote job.
For bloggers and website builders out there, Yoast is the ideal proofreading plugin for WordPress. Aside from the classic editing functions, you can also use features like the keyword density indicator and linking suggestions to optimise your content for SEO.
What’s more, it’s one of the best tools for creating and adding meta tags, such as titles and descriptions, to make your copy perform better in search engines.
Proofreading is one of the most crucial things you’ll do as a copywriter. Its significance in terms of credibility, clarity, and optimisation means that it may even be just as important as the actual writing itself.
Fine-tuning your work shouldn’t be offered as a luxury, either. Clients expect your work to be proofread, even if it’s just by yourself and not a specialist proofreader since this ensures the highest standards and demonstrates your value as a copywriter.
If you make sure to proofread your work consistently, you’ll find yourself attracting more clients, increasing your readership figures, and improving the overall quality of your writing.