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Publish original – not plagiarized – content

Don't be a Grinch - Create original content - Don't steal it

Check out this updated post with a timeless theme for content creators.

Create original content – Don’t steal it

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Proofread Everything: Corporate holiday content

Whether it’s company Christmas cards, calendars or holiday event collateral, there’s a flurry of Yuletide business copy being produced this time of year.

To help you prevent and catch content mistakes, here are some holiday-specific editing and proofreading tips for corporate communications.

Holiday greeting cards

Tips for proofreading corporate holiday content

Yes, greeting cards only contain a sentence or two, but mistakes can – and do – happen.

Remember to:

  • Follow the spelling and punctuation rules from the Associated Press Stylebook when you use:
    • “Christmas” (never “Xmas”).
    • “New Year’s Eve” (not “New Years’ Eve” or “New Years Eve”).
    • “New Year’s Day” (not “New Year’s day”).
    • “Hanukkah.”
    • “happy holidays,” “merry Christmas” and “season’s greetings” (lowercase) in a sentence:
      • “We wish you a merry Christmas.”
      • “Have a happy New Year.”
  • Check the spelling and punctuation of your CEO’s name (if the card is signed by him or her) and follow AP style. Examples:
    • No space between initials (“W.C. Fields” – not “W. C. Fields”).
    • No comma before “Jr.” (“John Smith Jr.” – not “John Smith, Jr.”).

Calendars

If you give away a company wall (or magnet) calendar every year and rely on your print shop to update the dates and information from the previous year, double check everything before the calendar is printed:

  • Find a reliable, reference calendar that’s the correct year before you begin proofreading. (Try timeanddate.com.)
  • Use the source to confirm that:
    • Every date corresponds with the correct day.
    • The correct dates and correct order of dates appear each month (no missing or duplicate numbers).
    • The number of days per month is correct (Example: March has 31 days, not 30. Keep in mind that leap year, occurs every four years, including February 2016.)
    • Holiday and observance dates are accurate.
    • Moon phases (if included) are accurate. Use timeanddate.com as a reference or check your calendar against the Farmer’s Almanac.
  • Confirm that the copyright date (if included) is correct. 

Special event collateral

Many corporations sponsor holiday events, like festivals and fun runs. If the event occurs every year, the related content is often copied and pasted from the previous year’s collateral (posters, news releases, advertisements, registration forms, etc.). The copy is then updated for the new year.

Go over every word and number with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that:

  • Each date corresponds with the correct day.
  • All figures are correct, such as:
    • Number of participants expected.
    • Number of participants from the previous year.
    • Number of years the event has been held (example: 10th annual).
    • Total proceeds raised the previous year.
  • Copyright dates (if included) are correct.
  • AP style is followed for event-specific terms:
    • Use packet “pickup” (not packet “pick up”).
    • Use “5K race” or “5-kilometer race” (not “5 K race” or “5-k race”).

Proofread the usual suspects

For every type of holiday content, remember to proofread (as usual) every word for errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, style and spacing, as well as discrepancies in font size and type.

Keep up the good proofreading work year-round

You’ve worked hard all year protecting your company brand with thorough editing. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holidays tempt you to cut corners. Remind yourself to slow down and carefully proofread each piece of business content.

For more holiday writing style information, see the AP list of holiday terms.

Related:

Proofread Everything: Signs at company events

Proofread Everything: Work Schedules

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Infographic: 10 steps for better content editing and proofreading

Infographic: 10 steps for better business content editing and proofreading

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Infographic: AP style tips for business

You can dramatically improve the quality of your business content by following a writing style guide.

Using a style guide ensures that the punctuation, grammar and spelling is the same in every piece of business content you publish. This consistency means that content is polished and professional. The Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style are two main style guides used in different industries.

Since I know AP style, I’ll speak to that. Here’s an infographic with some basic AP Stylebook rules.

My Blog Editor AP Stylebook Basics for Business Content Editing

AP style basics for higher content quality

The AP Stylebook is the gold standard of writing style manuals used by professional journalists, corporate communicators and business owners. (To buy an online subscription or print edition of the AP Stylebook, click here.)

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Fortune 500 AP Stylebook edits – Ford

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Here are my AP Stylebook edits of a recent news release published by Fortune 500 company No. 9 – Ford Motor Company.

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Fortune 500 AP Stylebook edits – General Electric

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Here are my AP Stylebook edits of a recent news release published by Fortune 500 company No. 8 – General Electric.

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The Four Cs of Awesome Content

Every sentence and phrase

Be clear

Be concise

Be credible

Be consistent

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Fortune 500 AP Stylebook edits – General Motors

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I thought it would be fun to edit random stuff (for AP style, etc.) from Fortune 500 websites – not my clients’ sites, though. So this is the latest in a series of edits from the Forbes Fortune 500 list. (And yes, this is my kind of nerdy, wordy fun.)

Here are my AP Stylebook edits of a blog post published by Fortune 500 company No. 6 – General Motors.

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Fortune 500 AP Stylebook edits – Apple

Here are my AP Stylebook edits* of an executive bio published by Fortune 500 company No. 5 – Apple.

* I thought it would be fun to edit random stuff (for AP style, etc.) from Fortune 500 websites – not my clients’ sites, though. So this is the latest in a series of edits from the Forbes Fortune 500 list. (And yes, this is my kind of nerdy, wordy fun.)

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Fortune 500 AP Stylebook edits – Chevron

Here are my AP Stylebook edits* of a magazine article by Fortune 500 company No. 3 – Chevron.

* I thought it would be fun to edit random stuff (for AP style, etc.) from Fortune 500 websites – not my clients’ sites, though. So this is the latest in a series of edits from the Forbes Fortune 500 list. (And yes, this is my kind of nerdy, wordy fun.)

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