Editing and proofreading

Have you ever realised you’ve made a spelling error in your email AFTER you’ve pressed ‘send’?

Or worse, spent loads of money on marketing material only to discover a glaring typo AFTER it’s been printed?

Having a fresh pair of eyes look over your work may be one of the best things you’ll ever do in your business. Poor grammar, spelling errors, and bad sentence structure can have a negative impact upon your business and brand.


What is proofreading?

Proofreading is simply a close reading of the text to detect any errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. It may also involve checking for consistencies within a document (e.g. font sizes for headings and subheadings; or whether you are using an American or Australian version of spelling, etc.).

PLEASE NOTE: Proofreading DOES NOT include checking factual information, re-wording paragraphs, moving text to ensure better flow, or clarifying prose.

Proofreading is often charged at a lower rate than editing or content writing.


What is editing?

Editing is more complex than proofreading. While you’ll obviously pick up spelling and grammatical errors during the editing process, the main aim of editing is to ensure the content makes sense. Editing can involve re-arranging and revising text, re-structuring content, checking to ensure accuracy, re-writing text to ensure clearer meaning, ensuring that all required information (e.g. key words or phrases) has been included. It also involves checking the text is suitable and targeted for the end-audience.

All of the above takes a great amount of skill and more time than the proofreading stage and is charged at a higher rate than proofreading.

Editing or proofreading - which one do you need?

Sometimes it’s tricky to know which level of service you need. Here is a quick checklist to help you determine whether you need proofreading or more involved editing.

If you can say ‘yes’ to all of these, you probably just need proofreading.

If there is anything you say ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’ to, then it’s probably wise to get your work edited.


  1. Is your message clear, concise and easy to read?
  2. Is your message consistent with your brand?
  3. Is your message consistent with your style guide? (If you don’t know what a style guide is, you may be interested in my Tone of Voice service)
  4. Have you included key SEO phrases or terms?
  5. Is your message sensitive and inoffensive?
  6. Is your content accurate and true?
  7. Does this piece of content make you look professional?

"Exceptional attention to detail."

I would highly recommend The Melbourne Health Writer.

Nerissa was fantastic to work with. She was extremely efficient and always responded promptly to emails. Nerissa responded to all comments and suggestions made by our reviewers and was happy to review the resource several times. She liaised with us directly if she was unsure of what was required in certain areas. It made the entire review process exceptionally smooth sailing and we really appreciate Nerissa’s time and the effort and exceptional attention to detail she has put into this project. Thank you, Nerissa!

Dr Vanessa Alford

Project Manager, Ovarian Cancer Australia

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I'm Nerissa Bentley

I'm a health communications specialist and I've helped many health institutions, national brands and medical organisations develop credible, thoroughly-researched, easy-to-understand health content. Now I'm ready to help you.

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