10 top editing tips a content writer needs to know
Whether you are content writing for internet marketing, writing website copy or advertising leaflets, your English must be high quality. Your grammar must be 100% correct in order to avoid your ranking being negatively impacted, and for your visitors to see a reflection of the standard of your product or service.
As a website copywriter, I offer you a free guide:
1. The three r’s: read, review, revise
Read your copy through from beginning to end, correcting any clumsy words, sentences or phrases. Do the words flow in a concise way with a consistent feel to the voice? Keyword insertion such as ‘web copywriter’ or ‘blog writer’ should be natural with an easy flow without disrupting the language or logicality.
2. Respect your reader’s intellect
People often say the same thing, written in a different way, repeating what they have said and mistaking this for originality. Your reader will understand a message the first time…as long as the words are well edited. A repeat may appear as a duplicate meaning, or the same word used several times. Delete them ruthlessly.
3. A writer is a person who counts words
Before PC’s were invented, writers and journalists spent hours manually counting words to a line, multiplying the lines then adding this to the number of columns to get an average word count of a typed document (quite a task). Word count is just as important today but far less tedious. Where there is a word limit, keep to it.
4. Spelling and grammar
Avoid using the PC’s grammar or spell check. For effective editing, as any good copywriter will affirm, you need to be trained with a sharp, efficient eye and a solid working knowledge of English grammar and spelling. The PC does not give 100% accuracy and over reliance on digital tools can build to laziness.
5. Visit your own reference library
It’s a good idea to collect a few reference books to check style points: punctuation, spelling, grammar and other fine detail. Use the Longman synonym dictionary, Brewer’s dictionary of phrase and fable and the English Oxford concise dictionary regularly. Copywriting for the web is a skill and creative art.
6. Fonts and formats
Are formats consistent throughout your text, including titles, and sub headings? If any writing content has been researched from the internet and re-worded, check line breaks or paragraph indentations?
7. Be hard on yourself
Read the copy several times over and remember any work you do for hard copy reading will be completely different in tone of voice than online work. Even the best editors and top London copywriters can miss typos and other errors. Read, read, and proofread again until you are sure all errors are eliminated. It is not worth rushing the editing and proofing stages.
8. Talk to yourself
Read the writing slowly and aloud several times. Does it flow smoothly? Do any phrases seem long-winded or clumsy? Listen to rhythm and how each word connects as you speak.
9. On track
I do not favour the PC track change tool: I find it difficult to work with, confusing to the eyes and the natural ‘reading’ of a document. The same applies for avoiding ‘spell check’: it will keep your mind sharper and more focused with less tech dependency.
10. The final review
Avoid the temptation to miss a final review, and try to do this when you are fresh in the morning. Editing is not proofreading. A phrase, sentence or whole paragraph may need adjusting. Ask a professional content writer for advice if in doubt.
contact me, Sandy, for further help. m. 07985 249 964