You’re not a writer, and you don’t pretend to be. But when the CEO says he needs a new blog up on the website right away, you’re the closest thing to a writer the company has. Problem is, your administrative assistant has already left for the weekend, and while you can handle the heavy-lifting—knocking out a 400-word email newsletter regarding a special the company will offer beginning Monday morning—an extra set of eyes is anything but a luxury.
Sending an email to 3,400 people with $499 written in error as $49 would prove disastrous.
Use these three old school journalism tips to ease your mind and ensure your copy is accurate:
- Print and Proof. When you’re done writing, print the document, then get out a colored pen and proof it. Newspaper editors and copy editors, two groups that see more copy in a year than most of us see in a lifetime, use this technique judiciously, and so should you. It’s tough to edit and proof accurately from a computer screen.
- Read Aloud. If you’re like us, those two words bring to mind memories of 8th grade, when you were called on to read to the entire class. But don’t fret. What we’re referring to is reading your copy aloud as you proof it. As you peruse the printed document, read each sentence as if you were talking to someone. It’s harder for errors to hide when they are spoken, not read silently. Also, you’ll quickly notice phrasing that might be difficult for others to understand.
- Return Later. After you’ve saved your final edits in the computer, get away from the document for a while, even if it’s just to go for a walk or have a chat with a co-worker. Well-known psychologist Adam Grant says getting away from a task for a time allows our brains the opportunity to come up with suitable solutions to problems. Use this to your advantage by stepping away momentarily.
The techniques listed here prove their worthiness each day at businesses across the country. We’re confident they’ll work for you as well. Give them a try and let us know what you think.
This is the first post in our Problem Solvers series, where we provide solutions to common issues our clients have shared with us. If you have a problem you’d like us to tackle, give us a call at 877-692-7250.