Ah, the age-old question. Why do I need a professional proofreader when I’ve got Grammarly?
First things first. I love Grammarly so I’m not going to tell you to break up with it. There’s plenty of room in the world for both Grammarly and professional proofreaders to co-exist in perfect harmony.
I actually think Grammarly is a fantastic tool in a world where it sometimes seems no one knows how to use an apostrophe correctly (again, not hating – most of the people who can’t use apostrophes definitely have skills I would never hope to master). So, if spelling and grammar is not your forte, then go nuts with the red squiggle and it will undeniably help clean up your grammatical act.
But where can a professional proofreader add value, where Grammarly simply can’t?
Here are five reasons to call upon the superpowers of a professional proofreader for all your grammatical needs.
Now, I’m not claiming to have the world’s best personality.
However, I will blow my own trumpet to the extent that I have more of a personality than a grammar bot. And having a personality is a key weapon in one’s proofreading arsenal, as it enables us to add character, style, a casual metaphor or two, hell, even some humour to your written content.
Sure, you can use Google Translate to convert words into a target language, but has it rendered professional translators unemployable? The answer is, of course, no.
Just like translators can add nuance, sense and personality to a translation in ways Google Translate can’t, a proofreader with finely-tuned editing skills can enhance your raw content by transforming it into professional prose.
A professional proofreading service will scrutinise your document, identifying weak spots and augmenting words and sentences for superior versions to ensure everything flows.
One of my more tedious proofreading jobs some years ago involved checking a huge bathroom catalogue for a manufacturer. After flicking through the first few pages (out of approximately 45 trillion) I realised the word/s “en suite” was spelt in three different ways in as many spreads – a major bugbear of mine. Now, all three were grammatically correct: en suite, en-suite and ensuite, so it’s not something that would be picked up by your average spell check or grammar bot.
Yet such inconsistencies make you look unprofessional. A brochure should act as a silent salesperson for your products, and you wouldn’t want a member of your sales team to appear unprofessional to a potential customer. Making a lasting impression starts with the basics, and professionally written (and checked) marketing materials should come as standard if you want to convert that lead into a sale.
We’re all guilty of repeating ourselves, whether it’s in our writing or speech (I cannot count the number of times I say “have I told you this already?’ on a daily basis as I get older). A professional proofreader won’t just check your content for spelling and grammar. We’ll scan that document countless times to make sure you’ve used a great mix of wording, and haven’t repeated the same word or variations on the same word multiple times.
Most good copywriters will produce a piece of content then check, check and check again to ensure it communicates the right tone, is error-free and achieves the intentions set out in the original brief.
When you’re creating your own content, you may not have sufficient time to carry out the same exhaustive checks if you’re straight on to the next job on your to do list. Plus, checking your own work is always tough, as you often simply can’t see the errors other people can instantly pick up on.
A good ol’ sanity check can come in extremely handy when you’ve tapped all of those words out of your brain but you don’t have the time, patience or skills to ensure it actually makes sense. So, whether you’re handing over a brain dump to be edited into a coherent piece of writing, or you need a final sense check on a document, a professional proofreader can save the day.
Proofreading a document is never just about correcting errors. Using a professional proofreader will improve your document in a number of ways, including its organisation.
A good proofreader will quickly establish the key messages you are aiming to communicate in your document. Then, they will assess the order and flow of the content to make sure they serve your purpose. If they don’t, a proofreader will make crucial changes to the organisation of your sentences, paragraphs and word placement to ensure a more coherent and concise message is achieved.
Often, this won’t involve making any major changes to the content itself. You may not even notice it when you read it back. But ultimately, subtle updates to the order of a document can turn it from flagging to flawless.
How much does it cost to hire a professional proofreader?
Hiring a professional proofreader could be the best money you’ve ever spent when your customers are reassured by the professional tone and motivated by the clear call to action presented in your written content.
I like to keep pricing simple and clear, so all proofreading services are charged at £40 an hour. In charging by the hour, rather than the word count, I can add as much value as possible to the document by utilising the time as efficiently as possible.
The cost of the proofreading job will be presented upfront, as I will ask you to supply the document ahead of time so I can provide a proofreading quote accordingly. This means you can plan for the cost and factor it into your marketing budget.
Proofreading is included free of charge in all copywriting jobs, and is only charged separately when you supply your own work to be checked.
Hire a professional proofreader to check and improve your work
Convinced that a professional proofreader can add value to your work where Grammarly can’t? My red pen is poised. Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss how I can make your prose pop.