Avoid the Red Ink

Ten Proofreading Tips to Catch More Mistakes

For those of us working in communications, public relations or marketing, our ability to craft clear messaging is crucial to audience and client confidence and delivering great, error-free work is imperative. You don’t have to work in this field long to know what it’s like to receive your copy back with red marks and tracked changes.

In celebration of National Proofreading Day, we asked our team for their best tips and tricks to ensure your messages are error-free. Here’s what they had to say:

Reread it, read it aloud and have it read to you:

“I usually like to go section by section. I will read/edit one paragraph and then go through and re-read it before moving on to the next paragraph. It keeps me from getting overwhelmed if it's a large document.” — Kassidy Stricklett, Account Executive

“I use Microsoft Word to read documents aloud to me.” — Alex Malone, Digital Strategy and Content Specialist

“The two-minute rule! You always have two minutes to go back and reread your work before hitting send.” — Chris Piedmont, Director of Communications and Insights

“I read out loud, to myself or to others, to make sure everything flows.” — Kat Ricketts, Senior Account Executive

Get a second set of eyes on it:

“I like to use the buddy system — sometimes you are too close to a project and need a second set of eyes.” — Valerie Wunder, Director

“I run almost everything through both Google Docs and Word. It helps to catch any mistakes that one system may miss. I also like to get an outside look for general wording and formatting — rather than grammatical — where possible.” — Brandon Mullins, Account Associate

“​​I typically put everything directly into Grammarly for a second pair of ‘eyes’.” — Kassidy Stricklett, Account Executive

Double-check the details:

“I always go back through the document and double check any company, brand or personal names for spelling — it's so easy to misspell someone's name, which can be embarrassing. I usually pull up their website bio or LinkedIn if I need to refresh my brain.” — Sarah Fogel, Account Manager

Find the little tricks that work for you:

“I always go through and ctrl + f for any extra spaces I may have missed. Then, I also like to make the font really big, so any errors are glaring.”  — Kat Ricketts, Senior Account Executive

“I will sometimes put on an announcer voice or random accent in my head as I read things. It helps keep the material fresh, even if it’s the fourth time I’ve read it.” — Brandon Mullins, Account Associate

Having a piece returned with some red ink is a natural part of working in a PR/Communications role, especially as you learn the tone of voice and preferences of your audience (or client). However, if you keep these tips in mind you will continue to grow that writing muscle and make your next piece shine - with a little less red ink!