Our Content Recruitment Consultant Jon Caws shares his thoughts on why proofreaders are essential for businesses.
Is it a dying art, surplus to requirements, or do you think spellcheck can do it all?
A lot of my clients disagree and still feel this skill is an essential part of the editorial process, regardless of what content you’re producing.
You can forgive an individual if they make a spelling mistake or an error on an email, but it’s different for a company or organisation. Users expect businesses to have processes in place to ensure content is accurate and up to date. If a call to action is incorrect, your business could be suffering without you even knowing. This is relevant across all touchpoints but most important for print. Trust is also critical. If users don’t trust your communication because the content is not accurate, then you’ve lost those customers. Accuracy leads to integrity, and that ultimately leads to a satisfied customer and brand loyalty.
As with accuracy, this is to do with trust. One wrong word, or even a misplaced letter or number, can change the meaning of a sentence completely. If you’re trying to correctly communicate, persuade or sell, and the user doesn’t understand your content, you’ve lost them.
This includes capitalisation, use of commas, house style and tone of voice. Every brand should have rules they follow and guidelines they adhere to, however brief or non-restrictive. If your message is not uniform across all your touchpoints, then the user will be confused and may well look elsewhere.
It’s a specialist skill
Like so many skills, from driving to cooking, anyone can do it but to what level? An experienced proofreader can spot a lot more than you’d expect. They can check for spelling, grammar, sense and consistency. Many can also check for style, formatting and layout across different content when given the correct guidelines. Proofreaders have been taught to read content differently, methodically working through with a detailed approach and the desire to find errors. And they’re quick – doing this day in and day out, to turn work around in a fraction of the time it would take most people.
If you are looking to hire proofreaders, or want to find out more, please contact Jon on firstname.lastname@example.org.