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Content Queen: Proofing Checklist for Direct Marketers

As a direct marketer, you strategize, you plan, you crunch numbers, you learn about best practices – all to come up with an effective and results-driven promotion. Ideally, your offer is enticing, your design is attention grabbing and you have zeroed in on your target audience.

You’ve done everything right, right? Well, have you put the same amount of attention into your content? It’s important to have a process for reviewing your direct mail/email so that nothing incorrect – or embarrassing – slips through the cracks. Here is an editing/proofing checklist that you can use or adapt to your specific needs:

  • Check expiration dates (especially important as we are about to start a new year, so make sure to update to 2020.)
  • Verify promotion codes or coupon offers
  • Fact check
  • Verify phone numbers/extensions
  • Check address – physical and email
  • Spelling and grammar – You have options: spellcheck in the program you are using, the spelling/grammar tool in Word, and/or the free version of Grammarly. Please do not use these at the exclusion of human eyes.
  • Consistency – in style, voice, etc.
  • Tone – Does your campaign come across the way you intend? Have multiple people weigh in.
  • Remove fluff – You only have so much time to catch people’s attention. Get to the point and remove the unnecessary words.
  • Disclosures – Are they correct?
  • Use active voice, not passive: Passive: The results can be seen. Active: See the results.
  • Check images – are they correct and proper resolution for the medium (print vs digital)?
  • Don’t be vague – you don’t want the recipients to have to guess.
  • Check to make sure no type has been inadvertently deleted, which can happen when multiples changes are made throughout the process.
  • Are the colors correct for your brand?
  • Test all URLs.
  • Take a break, then come back and go through the checklist again. I guarantee that you will have missed something the first time.

Brainstorm your own needs and tailor this list to meet them. You might come to the conclusion that multiple checklists will be more effective. For example: one for style/consistency/spelling/grammar and one that focuses on design/brand standards.

Determine whose responsibility it is to go through the checklist(s). If at all possible, make sure than more than one person is proofreading. We are all human, and we all look at things differently. Once you have a process in place, you will be well on your way to increasing the effectiveness and accuracy of your campaign.

Amy Fischer • November 7, 2019


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