I have been going to a lot of networking events recently. As a relatively new business, I need to get out there and chat to people about what I can offer them. The question most frequently asked is ‘What kind of things can you proofread?’
The answer is quite simply ‘anything’, if it is written down, then it can be proofread.
Outside the traditional fields of book and magazine publishing the obvious list of materials that may require proofing includes marketing materials such as advertisements, direct mail campaigns, and brochures/leaflets.
In the education sector, there is a wide range of documents such as prospectuses, research reports, journal papers, student dissertations and even keynote lecture presentations and the accompanying notes that could benefit from proofreading before publication and distribution.
For those in the creative services, securing new work or clients usually involves a tender process and these documents should be carefully scrutinised. Typos, inconsistencies or layout errors in your own proposal will hardly fill a potential client with confidence that you have the attention to detail and exacting standards they desire. You could be shooting yourself in the foot and undermining your winning creative ideas.
Most products come with an information leaflet, manual or user guide and I find errors in these documents really disappointing, no matter how fabulous my new gadget. Yes, customers may not read these in their entirety but if you strive to supply high quality products, surely you want to be awesome in every aspect, including the supporting product information? Professionalism in everything you do is what really separates you from the competition and elevates your brand in the customer’s mind.
What about your annual review, an important document used to celebrate your company’s achievements, circulated to your shareholders, stakeholders and potential customers. You invest time (and money) writing the content, commissioning photography, designing, producing and circulating a superb brochure and your first response is someone pointing out an error on page 2. How do you feel? Crushed!
Do not think proofreading is only relevant to hard copy/printed matter though. What about digital content – websites, infographics, blogs and any information or documents you make available electronically? The power of social media now means that your audience have a readily accessible and far-reaching platform on which to point out your misdemeanours.
Every bit of information you put into the public domain says something about you, your company, and your products/services, so make sure it’s right. Even the smallest error can convey carelessness and a lack of attention to detail. If your communications are not up to scratch, what does that imply about your actual product or service?