After you and/or your team of writers create multiple drafts, you don’t always have the time to check that your documents make sense to someone who isn’t part of your company’s inner circle.
How will your target audience interpret your copy? Did you miss something? Will your writing make you look bad?
Even though many small businesses don’t employ full-time proofreaders, the luxury of having a professional catch your mistakes and improve the clarity of your writing is not reserved for the big guys.
Instead of losing sleep over potential business writing blunders, a reliable online proofreader is just a few clicks away.
Hire a freelance proofreader to correct your writing and remove the 20 fears that make up the Four M’s of Small Business Document Anxiety.
1. Grammar. After you communicate your ideas, a freelance proofreader will make sure that they’re grammatically sound.
2. Passive voice. While the passive voice can work, use the active voice in professional documents whenever possible.
3. Punctuation. Did you use that semicolon correctly? Is there a comma splice instead of two or more sentences?
4. Capitalization. It’s not just for the first word in a sentence or proper names. If you mention “WalMart,” spell it as such throughout your text (not Walmart or Wal-Mart).
5. Spelling. Unless your target audience is a spell check application, it’s smart to have a person review your text.
6. Style. Give your freelance proofreader your company’s style guide so that she can point out when you accidentally break your own rules.
7. Broken or incorrect hyperlinks. Send your readers to the appropriate Web sites.
8. Missing or repeated text. Have you left out a word? An entire section? Copy and paste errors can also produce missing or repeated text.
9. Formatting. The Table of Contents should match the headings in the remainder of the document. Each section should contain the information it promises. Certain words may need quotation marks.
10. Typos. They happen to the best off us. (Ha! See? Spell check would not highlight that error.)
11. Inconsistencies. If you use the word “proofreader,” subsequent mentions in your document should not be “proof reader,” or “proof-reader.”
12. Succinct phrasing. A freelance proofreader makes your ideas clear, concise, and reader-friendly.
13. Word choice. You may use a word incorrectly, or there may be another word or phrase that more accurately describes what you intend to convey.
14. Terminology. Are the words that you use appropriate for your audience? Are they too sophisticated? Not sophisticated enough?
15. Layout. The reader may comprehend your message better if you use shorter paragraphs, bullet points, or graphics/tables to illustrate your points.
16. Explicit branding. Everything that you write should reflect your company’s mission statement. What is your perspective? How will a prospective client distinguish you from your competition?
17. Additional evidence. If your freelance proofreader also provides editorial consulting, she’ll point out when you need more evidence in your text to support your point, clarify your message, and persuade the reader.
18. Tone. Is it too formal, not formal enough, or just right?
19. Solid explanations. Make definitive points. Avoid ambiguous or weak language.
20. Audience engagement. Will the information that you provide satisfy readers? Do you need to revise your text to make a connection with your audience?
Move over, Ambien. A freelance proofreader is the new prescription for anxious small business owners, company managers, and entrepreneurs.
Stefanie Flaxman created Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services with your editing needs in mind.
Follow @RevisionFairy and take a free copy of Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing.