Content marketing is one of the most effective methods of selling products and services.
The idea is to educate or create an engaging story, which not only makes your offering seem more appealing and enticing but also helps you develop a relationship with your customer built on trust. And when customers have a relationship with you, they buy from you again and again.
The numbers don’t lie. Content marketing costs significantly less than traditional marketing and drives better results:
Given all this, your content marketing copy must be as strong as possible to reach your audience and convert casual perusers to customers.
Proofreading and editing your marketing content is the final and most essential step to ensuring you and your business get the most out of your copy.
Keep reading for nine proofreading and editing tips to improve your content marketing.
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1. Know Your Audience—And Your Style
The first thing to keep in mind is who will be reading the content (the target audience). What purpose does your content serve, and how will it help those who read it?
Once you know your audience, you can find a writing style that connects with them.
If you’re unsure of where to start, here are the two most common writing style guides used by marketing teams:
- The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook: Most commonly used in content marketing and business writing due to its simplicity and flexibility
- The Chicago Manual of Style: More comprehensive than AP
Style guides like these establish specific rules for grammar, punctuation, formatting, and more.
Both style guides mentioned above cover similar ground, but there are some important differences between them. For instance, Chicago style uses the serial comma (comma before “and” or “or” in a series) while AP style uses it only in cases where confusion may result.
You can customize either style to fit your needs by choosing which rules to follow and which to ignore or handle differently. Consistency is key. For example, if you decide to use the serial comma (I’m a fan), use it consistently throughout your text. The same is true for any other rule that you choose to follow or modify.
Ultimately, the goal is to produce clear and concise writing that will be easy for your specific audience to understand.
In addition, be sure to develop appropriate guidelines on brand voice and tone as part of your content marketing plan. This will help you and your writing team convey the right message to your audience, no matter the type of content, and create a cohesive customer experience.
2. Give Your Wimpy Verbs a Power Boost …
In content marketing, it’s essential to use simple yet powerful language to engage.
You don’t want to bore your audience.
One way to guarantee your writing packs a punch is to replace weak verbs with stronger ones.
Let’s say you’re selling protein powder. Instead of “This protein powder will fix your health,” you might write, “Boost your body’s performance with Protein Powder X.”
When you’re looking for strong verbs, try to find action words that convey movement or passion, such as:
You can also try to avoid using “to be” verbs, like “is,” “are,” or “was.” Since these words are just describing an action instead of actually acting it out, they sound weak and unproductive.
When you’re looking for strong verbs to replace weak ones, consider the context and your audience. Some words might sound too harsh or aggressive for some audiences, while others may not have the desired effect.
You may need to try several replacements before you find the right word.
Remember that the right word goes a long way.
3. … But Watch Out for Jargon
Avoid jargon and technical terms that could alienate or confuse your readers, especially if you’re writing for a general audience.
If you do need to use jargon or technical terms, make sure to explain them the first time they appear in your text. For example, if you’re writing about website design, you might use the acronym “UI/UX.” Explain what this means (“user interface/user experience”) the first time you use it, and then feel free to use the acronym on its own for the rest of your text.
Phrases like “think outside the box” and “move the needle” are so overused that they’ve lost all meaning. Instead of using these clichéd phrases, opt for clear and concise language that will get your point across without sounding like corporate gibberish.
4. Check Spelling, Grammar, Understanding, and Flow
One of the most crucial aspects of proofreading and editing marketing content is ensuring correct spelling and grammar.
Most word-processing documents have built-in spelling and grammar checkers, and they work fine—up to a point. Consider using a business proofreading service such as Super Copy Editors for more in-depth spelling and grammar checking.
The other aspects to check in your content marketing copy are logic and flow:
- First, proofread the content from a big-picture perspective and make sure your ideas are understandable to your target audience.
- You’ll also want to ensure your thoughts and writing have a flow to them—and that there are no sudden jumps to new concepts.
5. Try Different Proofreading Techniques
When your brain gets used to seeing and reading your writing over and over again, it starts to gloss over mistakes you may have made. These errors could be as plain as day but remain unseen to the writer.
Luckily, there are some unusual but effective ways to trick your brain into reading differently so you can more clearly see errors.
Here are some proofreading tricks the pros use:
- Read It Backward: Start with the last paragraph and work backward, one paragraph at a time, to read your copy with fresh eyes. Our brains are better at seeing patterns when we read the text in reverse order.
- Zoom In, Zoom Out, or Change the Font: This will help your brain see the writing in a different way.
- Use Your Finger: Point along at the words as you read. Or hold the edge of a folded-up piece of paper up to your screen to read each line of text. This way you’re seeing only one word or line of text at a time.
- Read It Aloud: Use your ears as a second set of eyes.
Review the text slowly and carefully, so you know what every sentence says—not just how it all fits together.
The real trick to proofreading marketing content like a pro is to change your perspective and read the copy as your audience would.
6. Have Someone Else Proofread Your Content
After you’ve proofread your marketing content from a different perspective, the next step is to have someone else look it over.
Ask a colleague or friend to proofread your work, and make sure they know to watch for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and tone and style inconsistencies.
Another option is to get a professional proofreading service to take a second look. Super Copy Editors is in the business of making your copy the best it can be. Our team of proofreaders will ensure your content is grammatically correct, mistake-free, and consistent in tone and style so that nothing gets in the way of your message. You can rely on Super Copy Editors to take the stress out of proofreading your materials, whether it’s emails or direct mail, brochures, articles, blog posts, white papers—you name it.
The most successful content marketing strategies include a proofreading step, so take a moment to get your free, no-obligation quote for our proofreading services designed specifically for marketing teams and agencies.
7. Understand the Importance of SEO
When you’re editing online content for style, grammar, and accuracy, don’t neglect current best practices in search engine optimization (SEO).
Editing for SEO means including relevant keywords.
SEO keywords tell search engines—such as Google and Microsoft Bing—where and how highly to rank webpages on their results pages. So keep your keywords in mind.
- Make sure headings, subheadings, and header tags contain the keywords your target audience would search for.
- Edit and proofread your titles, meta descriptions, and URL slugs to include the keywords as well.
Don’t overdo it. Editing for SEO is an essential part of online content writing, but it’s also important to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise the quality of your content. A good rule of thumb is to include your target keywords or phrases two or three times throughout the main text of the article.
Another best practice when you’re editing for SEO is to look for ways to improve the readability of your content, such as:
- Using short paragraphs
- Including links to other related content
- Placing images and videos where appropriate
8. Take a Break
If time allows, take a break before proofreading and editing your content marketing copy. A rested brain is more likely to spot errors.
When you’re ready for proofreading, ensure you have no other time commitments, are free of distractions, and have a quiet place to work. Any outside distractions will increase the odds you’ll miss an error.
9. Verify Everything
When false allegations and misinformation are presented as truth, what happens?
Inaccurate content can cause people to doubt everything they read.
Even though you may have a good grasp of your topic, it’s easy to miss something while writing—especially if you’re working against a tight deadline.
This is why it’s critical to fact-check your content before you publish anything on the internet. Not only will this help you avoid embarrassing mistakes, but it will also make your writing more credible.
Here are some things to verify when editing and proofreading marketing materials:
- The spellings of names, companies, and products
- The correct format of titles of articles, books, sources, etc.
- The right days, dates, and times of events—even the combinations of dates, such as checking that Sunday, May 14, 2023, is in fact a Sunday
- The correct format of the days, dates, and times according to your preferred style guide, such as consistently using abbreviations (Feb. vs. February); ordinal indicators (like -th, -rd, and -nd); and American vs. European day, month, and year order
- The hyperlinks in the content go to where they’re supposed to go
- Quotes, research, and statistics (check the math, too)
Proofreading like the pros means checking all these seemingly tiny details. One mistake could undermine customers’ perceived value of your work, causing you to lose business relationships and revenue.
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How to Protect Your Content Marketing Investment
Content marketing is one of the top forms of marketing today, and many businesses rely on it to sell their products and services and build trust with their customers. Properly editing and proofreading your marketing content is, therefore, equally important.
Using the tips above, you can proofread and edit your marketing content, but it will take time and effort. However, Super Copy Editors can provide you with the expert service you need to get the best content marketing copy possible.
We have years of experience working with content marketers to ensure your content is well written, grammatically correct, and impactful. Let our team do the heavy lifting of proofreading and editing to get the best version of your marketing content so you can be sure your copy is as successful as possible.
It takes just 2 minutes to get started with your free quote from Super Copy Editors. Get in touch now while it’s top of mind—we’re looking forward to hearing from you!