Updated: May 4, 2019
You Need a New Pair of Eyes
Your brain does funny things when trying to edit recently written copy, it sees what isn’t there. It knows what you intended to say when you wrote it and reads that intent, instead of what is actually in front of your eyes.
Then after a few days, when you reread what you wrote, the errors start jumping up and down while screaming at you. Don’t feel bad, even the best writers in history needed editors. As Hemingway said, the first draft is shit.
There are countless ways to say the same thing. That is the beauty of the English language, two people can write about the exact same topic using very different styles, vocabulary, and tones. This article has been rewritten over ten times and I still can find errors in it, can you? If you do please let me know in the comments section.
Here are some tips to help you write error free social media content.
Be the Turtle, not the Rabbit
The main tool you need to ensure your posts are error free is patience. Don’t be in such a hurry to post, take the time to get it right because it is better to produce quality content, rather than, a large quantity of it all at once. - I am guilty of being the rabbit, we all are.
Even if you feel you’ve gotten to the race late, it’s how you run the race that matters more than when you started it.
Find a ProofReader
Find a proofreader who knows what they are doing. Not just anyone will do. You want someone who will be brutal and tell it to you straight, not someone who will read it and say, “it sounds good.” Most people don’t understand where to put a comma, whether social media should be capitalized, or if you choose the right form of the words your, you’re and their ilk. You need someone who knows how to edit.
A different pair of eyes will interpret your tone, intent, and humour differently.
In the world of the written word, it is the interpretation of the reader that matters, not the intent of the writer. Just ask anyone how fast intent get misinterpreted by the reader when trying to have a text argument with their spouse / life partner / lover. Makes for good comedy, not good relationships.
Sometimes what sounds funny in your head is lost in translation, especially if your humour tends to the sarcastic side, like mine. There has been more than one time I've hid my head in shame because the humour missed its mark. Trust me, the last thing you want is for a person to be offended by something you sarcastically wrote. This is especially true when writing about hot emotional topics like, politics, religion, and cultural values. How many times have you seen a tweet or Facebook post comment bring out the worst in people? Don’t be that gal.
When your proofreader gives you feedback, don’t get upset if they don’t like something you wrote or they misinterpreted your intent, that is the whole point of the proofreader. Always be grateful for their input, even if you don’t agree, after all, they did take the time to read what you wrote to help you.
Use a Content Calendar
This can be as simple as writing all your copy using Microsoft word each day and save the document to post a week later. You can edit the content with fresh eyes, before you manually post them.
Another option is to utilize a scheduling program like Hootsuite. The program enables teams to work together by proofing each other’s work. Individuals can use Hootsuite to automate their social media campaigns and then go proof them anytime before the program automatically posts it.
Get Technological Help
Invest in the program Grammarly for proofing your work for grammar and spelling before you post it. Your writing will improve as the program teaches you grammar as it suggests corrections to your work. Grammarly does have a free option with limited features.
Don’t have the cash for Grammarly, an online program called After the Deadline does a similar job but at zero cost, remember you get what you pay for.
The free online program ProWritingAid analyzes your writing and produces reports on areas such as overused words, writing style, sentence length, grammar and repeated words and phrases. This is especially helpful to keep your writing interesting.
No matter how you do it, making sure your copy is error free will ensure you appear professional, educated, and skilled. This is especially important for Social Media Specialists and content marketers.
Have questions or need help? Let’s chat.
Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.