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The Art of Copyediting

Creating effective and persuasive marketing copy is essential to the success of any promotion, but error-free content is equally as critical. Typos, misspellings and grammatical errors can inadvertently sabotage a marketing campaign and cause customers to shop elsewhere. Think about it — you’re trying to sell the reader on your products and services, so you want your messaging to be a positive reflection of your brand.

I don’t claim to be the expert at copyediting. I’m just as guilty of typos in my emails as the next person. But a PR degree with a heavy emphasis in journalism and years of managing direct marketing campaigns have taught me a few best practices. Here are eight copyediting tips that you might find helpful:

  1. Read slowly and out loud.
  2. Always proofread a printed version. Research shows that you are much more likely to miss errors when reading on a computer monitor, so try to review a hard copy whenever possible.
  3. Walk away. Let the piece sit for a while before you do another round of proofreading. Odds are if you come back to it with a clear mind and a fresh perspective, you’ll catch things you might have missed before.
  4. Don’t rely on Spell Check. Those homophones will get you every time. Spell Check won’t catch them because, while they may technically be the correct spelling, they are the wrong words (e.g., there, their and they’re or to and too).
  5. Be consistent. There are many different style manuals (i.e., AP, MLA, Chicago). Adopt a style for your organization, and be consistent across all of your marketing messages. Keep in mind that there might be times where it’s acceptable to bend the rules of grammar in the interest of punchy copy.
  6. Save previous versions. If you’re making several rounds of changes, be sure to keep track of revisions. You’ll thank yourself if you get to round five of your edits and you realize your first headline was perfect all along.
  7. Watch for subject/verb agreement.
  8. Have someone else proofread your material. It’s always a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes to review promotional copy.

Just remember that one little error isn’t always going to make or break your marketing piece, but also remember that sometimes the most creative and imaginative presentation can be undone by that one dreaded typo. It can’t hurt to take a little extra time and diligence reviewing your copy!

P.S. If you found any typos in this article, contact my editor.

By Jeanine Norlin, Marketing Program Manager, Modern Postcard

Call a Direct Marketing Specialist at 800.959.8365.

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