You’ve seen it before – a mistake at the finish that costs the win.

Do you remember Bill Buckner’s error that cost the Red Sox the 1986 World Series, Chris Webber’s timeout call that cost the University of Michigan the 1993 NCAA basketball championship, or Lindsey Jacobellis’s wipeout in the 2006 Winter Olympic Snowboard Cross final that cost her the gold medal?

For content creators, proofreading is the big finish.

Whether you have spent months ghostwriting a book about retirement planning, days finalizing a blog post about alternative assets, or hours completing a financial markets commentary, it’s crucial to correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and any other errors before the content is published. Otherwise, your credibility can be damaged.

Proofreading is not easy, especially if you are suffering from project fatigue. Here are some tips to help you proofread effectively.

  1. Take a break. In general, the writing process goes like this: research/interview, write, edit, and proofread. If you try to proofread immediately after editing, you’re likely to miss something. A better approach is to step away from the project for an hour or two, then come back to review it with fresh eyes.
  2. Take your time. Proofreading is intense, detail-oriented work. A professor once told me that good proofreaders spend at least one-half hour per page of copy.
  3. Say it aloud. Many people, like me, have a hard time slowing their brains and eyes enough to proofread well. As a result, I like to read my content out loud. It forces me to slow down and helps me find errors that I might otherwise overlook.
    Some people like to read copy backward. This approach doesn’t work for me, but it might work for you.
  4. Enlist some help. If you have a time crunch or you just hate proofreading, ask someone else to review the copy for you. In my experience, the best proofreaders are detail-oriented individuals.

One last note: Editing is not proofreading. They are distinctly different activities. During the editing process, the financial copywriter and client make changes that improve content. Proofreading is the last lap. It focuses on grammar, spelling, and punctuation rather than content.

When you need help with financial content, please get in touch.