When you’ve got words on paper, do you proof it or test it? Don’t know the difference? Having your piece proofread will help you identify the errors. Having your piece tested will help you confirm its context. Whatever you have written, even if it’s a brief, proof and test your copy.
Proofread the content
Everyone has their own process for writing content. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to write because it’s an individual activity and people should do it in a way that works for them. Once you’ve completed your piece, then have another person proofread it. After you’ve read it a dozen times, you’re immune to the errors. A fresh set of eyes on your written copy can clearly see the double period or the incorrect usage of a word. There are just some things spellcheck won’t flag, so do yourself a favor and have your piece proofread.
Test the message
To ensure the context of your story is in line, have another person (different from the proofreader) review your piece. Being that this person has no connection to the research or development of your story, she/he has an objective view, so they will be able to relay if she/he got stuck at any point or if they don’t understand a portion of the piece. Testing is especially important with technical communique, as in “how to” do something.
One time I developed content for a form and gave it to two people to test it. One person was fine with it. The other person suggested it be a colored paper, so when the company needed to refer to it, they could tell employees to “Please turn in your blue form” because employees might not know the name of the form or what it is for, but they will certainly be able to identify the blue form on their desk.
Proofreading and Testing Tips
- Give another person a print out of your written piece.
- Have your tester call phone numbers, send test emails and log into urls that are included in your written piece to confirm accuracy.
- Have your tester follow all instructions and how to steps exactly as they have been outlined in your written piece.
- Ask tester to mark any area to indicate where they had to re-read or had difficulty understanding the content.