Copy produced? It’s now time to review.
This is not the step to skip.
In fact, this is the most important step.
You do not want to publish copy without proofreading and reviewing your copy – unless of course, you want to lose credibility with your prospects. If you can’t write proper English and spend the time to edit, where else aren’t you spending the time?
Are you cutting corners in other areas of your business?
That’s the question that runs through your prospect’s mind when they see grammar mistakes.
There are several factors you should consider when conducting a proper and thorough review.
A good test of readable copy is to check its readability score. There are three tests that we use frequently with our copy:
- Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
- Gunning Fog Index
There are many readability tests online where you can paste your copy into their test and it will rate it.
The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score was originally developed to determine the ease of military processes and procedures. Business writing needs to be around a 65; however, anything between 60 and 80 is considered a good score.
The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is similar to the readability score; however, it determines the grade level the text is catered to. Most business writing targets the grade-level 7.5; it used to be 8th grade but it has since been changed. Writing at this level means the copy is complex enough to engage interest but simple enough not to strain the brain. Writing at 20th grade (which some writers do) is only intelligible to post-graduates with three or more degrees.
Both measurements focus on word length (syllables) and sentence length. For example, if there are too many sentences with over 20 words in them, then you risk reducing your readability score.
Finally, there is the Gunning Fog Index. Its scoring mechanism is based on the grade level of which the text is appropriate. For example, a 12 would be suitable for seniors in high school or 18-year olds. Most text should be at or below a 12 if you are in a B2B setting. If your intended audience is extremely wide, it is best to aim for 7th or 8th grade.
There are many other readability scores or grade level scoring indexes, but they all focus on the same thing – how easy it is to read a piece of copy.
Our favorite tool to use for readability is Hemingway App.
SEO is a difficult one to review – unless you have extensive experience with SEO. That’s why we look at Yoast SEO – a free plugin for WordPress. Here are a couple things that you need to make sure you include:
- Make sure your keyword is in your introduction
- Avoid overloading your copy with the keyword (try 3-6 uses of the keyword)
- Include your keyword in your H2 and H3 headings
- Hyperlink both inbound and outbound links
- Put your keyword in your SEO title, slug, and meta description
This a no brainer… Check the grammar and spelling! Spell check goes a long way.
The most obvious thing to look for when proofing is spelling mistakes. While spell check has made it extremely easy to catch spelling mistakes, there are so many words that are used interchangeably wrongly.
- Except vs. Accept
- Too vs. To
- Their vs. They’re vs. There
- Your vs. You’re
- Loose vs. Lose
- Insure vs. Ensure
Sometimes, spell check corrects your misspelt word to a word with a completely different meaning. It now says there are no spelling mistakes, but some sentences may have completely different meanings or simply don’t make sense. This is where proofing comes in!
Be wary of tools like Grammarly. While they are great 80% of the time, they tend to miss certain mistakes and don’t understand English.
Syntax is the set of rules, principles, and/or processes that determine sentence structure, usually including word order. Does it sound natural? Not clunky?
A great way to check for the flow is always to read it out loud. I know we’ve said this before, but it’s really important not to skip over.
Read your copy out loud. Your voice will help pick out the awkward areas and indicate that certain sections need help.
You may also find that you use the same word over and over and over. It gets old and your reader gets lost.