By Thomas Clifford published May 16, 2011

5 Reasons Why EVERY Content Marketer Needs a Professional Proofreader

If you’re publishing content these days, you’re, um, a publisher.

And publishers use professional proofreaders to review and correct copy. So as a publisher, you could benefit from having a professional proofreader.

For instance, you may need help editing for logic, structure or flow.

Or your copy may need simple proofreading for grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes.

Pay professional proofreaders? No, thank you

Hey, if you’re like me, you probably can’t imagine paying someone to proofread your copy. Why pay a professional proofreader when someone else will do it for free?

Perhaps you have a colleague who proofs your content.

Or maybe your computer is configured to check grammar.

Or possibly a friend gives your copy a look-see over lunch.

Things are good enough, thank you

Sure, sometimes free is good enough. But when you want to get past “good enough” (and your friends want you to stop bugging them!), then it’s time to hire a professional proofreader.

Professional proofreaders polish your copy, leaving your readers with a memorable and lasting impression of your work.

Why bother paying a professional proofreader?

Here are five overlooked benefits professional proofreading can bring to your content:

  1. Frees you from worrying about being correct (and boosts your creativity)
  2. Ensures that readers will understand your copy
  3. Boosts your inner (and outer) confidence
  4. Frees you from depending on your network
  5. Increases your knowledge about copywriting

Let’s explore each of these reasons a little more.

1) Frees you from worrying about being correct (and boosts your creativity)

Your internal editor tries to prevent mistakes, but mostly delights in telling you, “That stinks.”

But when you know before you even begin writing that your copy will be professionally proofed, you can tell your inner editor to go pound sand. You’ll write the way you think, get the ideas out of your head quickly and experience creativity in a new way.

2) Ensures that readers will understand your copy

Our brains know what we want to say, but we can’t always express it flawlessly. Another set of eyes ensures that your audience will get it.

Some professional proofreading services have more than one set of eyes check your work; sometimes two or three proofreaders read your copy.

And that takes us to the third benefit of professional proofreading.

3) Boosts your inner (and outer) confidence

Do you ever cross your fingers hoping and praying that your messages are clear? If so, then you’ll love having a professional proofreader check your copy. Seeing your work professionally polished boosts your inner confidence as a communicator, thereby motivating you to promote and share your content with others. As a result, you’ll exude confidence.

4) Frees you from depending on your network

Under a tight deadline? Hoping your friend has time to check your copy and meet your deadline? Sure, having a friend read your work is good – don’t get me wrong. But you don’t want to be a burden on a friend by taking advantage of his or her good will and proofreading prowess.

Step away from your network and use a proofreading service. They have proofreaders available for you – and your deadlines – anytime.

5) Increases your knowledge about copywriting

Using a professional proofreading service is an enjoyable learning experience. Study your original copy and compare it to the suggested changes. (You can, of course, accept or reject the changes as you see fit.)

If you continue to use the same service, over time you’ll develop a relationship with your proofreaders; they will learn your style, and you will hone your communication and writing skills.

But it’s still an additional cost

Some proofreading services offer different levels of services. So if you’re not quite ready to pay for premium editing services, start by having your copy proofread for grammar, spelling, punctuation and typos.

If you find this basic level of service valuable, consider submitting a project for an expanded level of editing. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. I find that the monetary cost for professional proofreading and editing of my copy far outweighs the cost of not having it proofread.

No time for professional proofreading?

It happens. A deadline looms and there isn’t enough time for someone to proofread your work. So when you’re short for time, use these three steps to proofread your copy:

  1. Print it.
  2. Read it aloud.
  3. Read it backward.

It’s not a perfect system, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Summary

Get past “good enough.” Consider hiring a professional proofreader to polish your work, ensuring that your message leaves readers with a lasting, memorable impression.

Over to you

  • What proofreading tricks do you use?
  • When do you proofread – before or after clients review copy?
  • What other benefits of proofreading did I miss?
  • Why wouldn’t you use a professional proofreader?

Author: Thomas Clifford

Thomas Clifford is a B2B content marketing writer and certified copywriter. He helps companies generate and nurture high quality leads through eNewsletters, blog articles and free special download reports. Tom has 25 years under his belt as an award-winning B2B filmmaker. He's produced hundreds of marketing-branding films and brings his street-level interviewing experience to every project. Tom is featured in the book “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business." He has also written dozens of articles as an “Expert Blogger” for FastCompany.com. You can follow Tom on Twitter at @ThomasClifford. His blog, "Humanizing Business Communications," is packed with new media business communication tips and writing strategies. His eBook "5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier" is free to new subscribers.

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