Proofread Like a Pro: 3 Secrets to Success

In 1962, NASA launched the Mariner 1, an interplanetary probe on its way to Venus. Within minutes after takeoff, the probe exploded due to a single missing hyphen in its code, costing NASA $80 million.

And in 2006, accounting software for the New York City Department of Education misinterpreted a document. An extra letter made the document unreadable, and as a result, the department spent $2.8 million rather than $1.4 million in transportation.

In each of these situations, small typos cost business owners millions of dollars. Naturally, you want to avoid similar mistakes when you prepare any marketing campaign.

With a little proofreading, you can catch typos, spelling errors, and misplaced punctuation before they cost you sales and customers. If you’re not sure where to start, try the following strategies to improve the quality of your text.

1. Don’t Rely Solely on Spellchecker

If you work digitally, you should note that many word processors come with their own spellchecker and grammar checker programs. Microsoft Word, for example, will underline basic errors and let you know if you’ve repeated words.

But this program won’t find everything. Spellchecker might not pick up on homophones (words with same sounds but different spellings), and it won’t help you decide between commonly confused words such as affect and effect.

For best results, you may need to plug your content into multiple programs and checkers. Some of the most popular editing tools such as Grammarly Proofreader, PolishMyWriting, Ginger, and Slick Write will help you find mistakes that your typical word processor might miss.

2. Read It Aloud

Unless you have an audience, you likely don’t read out loud. In fact, you read much faster when you let your eyes, rather than your mouth, do the work. The brain understands familiar words without needing complete input from individual letters, so you can skim quickly and still absorb information.

But when you proofread, take the time to say each word out loud, not just in your head. The auditory input will help your brain detect errors that you would have jumped over otherwise.

Additionally, reading aloud lets you see where pauses occur naturally. If you haven’t taken a breath for a while, you may have a run-on sentence that needs dividing or a particularly long sentence that could use simplification.

Furthermore, when you read out loud, you can quickly spot awkward word placement, repetition, and gaps in information. When you hear your work, you can also get a greater sense of your overall tone, and you can quickly tell whether you are too casual, formal, chatty, or serious.

If you have a smaller article or post, try reading it backwards and it will help you check your wording.

3. Re-Read After Making Corrections

After reading over your project, you’ve likely made a few corrections. You may have crossed out unnecessary phrases or inserted punctuation to make your piece flow more smoothly and feel more natural.

But sometimes your corrections can cause additional problems rather than fix your original mistakes. When you insert a forgotten word, your overall sentence may seem ambiguous. When you remove a troublesome sentence, you might delete essential punctuation along with it. And when you add an explanatory paragraph, the new information may conflict with an earlier statement.

As a general rule, read through your document multiple times and focus on different editing aspects during each session. For example, the first round could emphasize sentence structures. The second round could dissect your word choice and spelling. The third round could double-check facts and figures.

If your deadline allows, give yourself time to set the text aside for a few hours (or days) so you can approach your project with a fresh set of eyes each time. Use all the time you need, put it down and come back in an hour or a day and start fresh.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

When you practice the above techniques and tips, you can find many typos and mistakes you may have missed. However, proofreading your own work proves difficult, and even the most experienced editors might not see problems with their own writing.

Use these techniques for notes, emails, posts, brochures, articles, and everything. Take the time to proofread even the simplest of copy!

Before you print your final copy of your next project, hire an expert (or even ask a close friend, family member, or coworker) to quickly glance over your work. Your piece will look cleaner and more professional as a result.

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A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Intelligent Packaging

As a small business owner, you spend the majority of your time working on your products or services and business model. But as your company matures, you realize that your goods don’t always appeal to the audience you’d like to target. Or worse, you realize that your audience doesn’t find your goods as useful or accessible as you’d like.

You may seem surprised to learn that your marketing, specifically your packaging, can put your company back on track.

The shape, practicality, and content of your packaging can prove nearly as important as what you put inside it. In this blog, we discuss some of the ways you can make your boxes, envelopes, and bags work for you through intelligent packaging.

What Is Intelligent Packaging?

Intelligent packaging, also known as active packaging and smart packing, consists of using retail containers to improve a product or customers’ experience with the product. Most intelligent packaging affects industries where products are particularly fragile, perishable, or otherwise sensitive.

What Features Does Intelligent Packaging Offer?

Designers make advancements in regards to what packaging can do on a regular basis. Today’s intelligent packaging can lengthen a product’s shelf life and improve customer education.

Common packaging features include the following.

1. Chemical Indicators

Advanced intelligent packaging often contains indicators intended to monitor the presence of specific chemicals in the product. For example, in the food industry, a chemical indicator may report the chemistry of the food contained in a package. Commonly, these food industry packages let you know when your milk or meat products have expired.

These indicators provide much more reliable guidelines than expiration date estimates because they report the chemical changes found in spoiled food. Use of these indicators can save businesses money in inventory and reduce food waste overall.

2. Identification and Tracking

Your products don’t have to be perishable to be sensitive. Tracking tags and other security measures also fall under intelligent packaging. Common packaging security measures include:

  • Article surveillance. You probably have cameras on your property, but did you know that you can surveil specific high-risk items? Electronic article surveillance devices adhere either to the product or the package to decrease the risk of theft.
  • Counterfeit indicators. Many products, such as designer accessories, are subject to counterfeiting. One of the most effective ways to detect counterfeit articles is through security
    printing. This process produces specific labels that are difficult to duplicate or replace.
  • RFID tags. Radio-frequency identification chips provide you with tracking information for products of all shapes and sizes.

These important security measures reduce loss by theft, employee misconduct, and warehousing issues.

3. Time and Temperature Indicators

Many products have specific condition requirements. Intelligent packaging reduces the risk of mistakes that compromise your inventory. For example, time and temperature indicators in the pharmaceutical industry report how long an item has been out of refrigeration, as well as the actual temperature. This data helps employees keep life-saving medication and other important items in good condition.

Additionally, much of the extensive customer information found on well-designed packaging falls under intelligent packaging. This information may include special disposal instructions, safety warnings, or dispensing guidelines.

Think your packaging could use an upgrade? Work with a marketing and printing expert to pinpoint any issues with your current packaging. Then, these professionals can help you take specific, calculated steps to make your products more convenient, eye-catching, and functional.

As a small business owner, you need all the advantages you can get. Use your packaging to optimize the way your customers interact with your company and products.

To learn more about improving your business through marketing strategies, printing technologies, and print advertising, browse our blog section.

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