the importance of copyediting and proofreading

The Importance of Copyediting and Proofreading

We all know that feeling of relief when you write the last sentence in a long assignment or essay – finally, you can be done and not have to look at those words ever again! That is unless you listened to your teachers and professors with their repetitive chant, make sure you check your work.

For organizations especially, it is still important to review and edit any copy before publishing on a website or sharing in any other medium with customers or clients. It is your last chance to fix any errors that could miscommunicate what you’re trying to say and eliminate any mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more that could make your writing seem neglected or unprofessional.

Whether you’re publishing a blog post, drafting up an email, writing a proposal, preparing webpage content, or writing anything else that will be read by a client or potential client, copyediting and proofreading are invaluable steps that should not be skipped. Let’s look at a few reasons why.

Your Writing Reflects the Business

The writing that future or current clients see is often the first or only way that they communicate with you. That means you want to make a great first and continuing impression through your copy. Clean, error-free copy can help present your business as careful and trustworthy.

Your writing is also a reflection of your work quality – if you’re unable to pay attention to details and eliminate mistakes in your writing, how can anyone know if you are careful and attentive when delivering your products or services? You want to show people that you care about your work and that you’re a knowledgeable, reputable source in your industry.

Errors Create Distractions and Misunderstandings

Mistakes in your writing can detract from the message you’re trying to share. Instead of focusing on the content, readers tend to focus on the errors, making your copy less credible and memorable. It can also be frustrating and distracting for the user, which may make them stop reading altogether.

Writing errors can even change the entire meaning of your text. Using the wrong word or incorrect punctuation may not seem like a big deal until you end up saying the opposite of what you mean. Take this example:

“I’m sorry I love you.” vs. “I’m sorry; I love you.”

There are 2 very different emotions at play in these 2 sentences, all thanks to the addition of the semicolon!

Avoid Embarrassing or Costly Errors

When writing, it’s not uncommon for us to accidentally add an extra letter, miss a letter, or even completely misspell words. We're human. These small mistakes may sometimes be harmless, but other times they could be downright embarrassing. See how adding a single letter in the last word of this sentence completely changes the meaning, and not for the better:

“Please pay before exiting.” vs. “Please pay before existing.”

When glancing over your work, you might not notice such a small, well-hidden error, but someone will certainly find it!

Typos could also cost your business hundreds to millions of dollars. If you’re curious to see some examples, check out this article that shows 10 costly mistakes that could’ve been avoided with some good proofreading.

Copyediting and Proofreading: The Big Picture

Copyediting and proofreading services are valuable investments in your projects and business. Whether it be content on your website, email marketing campaigns, proposals, or any other written content, it is a reflection of you and your business. Besides creating distractions that take away from the message you’re trying to give, writing errors can create mistrust with your clients by showing a lack of attention and lower the quality of your own work. Error-free content can help your organization avoid expensive mistakes and embarrassments and build credibility and trust with customers and clients.

Are you interested in learning more about copyediting and proofreading? Read the second article in this series where we'll talk about the differences between these last 2 steps in the writing process. 

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Rachael Smith
Rachael SmithCore Contributor

Rachael is a certified UX/UI Designer and pro copyeditor and proofreader on the digital marketing team. Before coming to Marathon Consulting, she lived in France as an au pair, traveling, drinking wine, and eating too much bread and cheese. Before her year of travels, she studied graphic design, web design, and web development at Ithaca College. Nowadays, when she's not busy creating exceptional user experiences or geeking out over copyediting, you can find her making fun vegetarian recipes, riding her motorcycle, spending time with her 2 dogs, or enjoying the hot summer sun.

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