Six powerful editing tips to fine-tune your writing
Every business owner can benefit from sharpening their editing skills but it’s a step that a lot of people skip when writing about their brand.
Take a tip from a copywriter, proofreading is important but it’s editing that will help you produce brilliant copy for your business.
Editing is so much more than spotting typos and grammar mishaps. It’s making changes to a piece of writing to improve its quality and to make it read better.
It’s taking that first draft of copy and making it as concise and engaging as possible to connect with your ideal client.
So whether you’re writing for your website, newsletter or blog, editing your copy will make a huge difference to how well your writing works.
Why is editing important?
Editing to restructure your writing and remove unnecessary words will improve the flow of your copy, improve the reading experience and make your message clearer. Editing can also inject personality and make your writing more persuasive or engaging.
Here are my six editing tips to fine-tune your writing:
Let me let you into a secret. Even the best writers write a terrible first draft.
The first rule of editing is to write something – so write whatever springs to mind, letting your words flow onto the page.
Once you’ve got something down on paper, or on-screen, you’ve got something to polish. But don’t expect perfection – your copy doesn’t need to be flawless to achieve your goals.
The second rule of editing is to keep it simple.
You need to get to the point quickly to keep your reader interested. It’s great to inject colour but not at the expense of clarity.
Your intro is often too wordy so cut through the waffle, even if it means deleting the whole lot and starting from your second paragraph.
If you don’t need to write three sentences explaining what your blog post is about then don’t.
Break up long, complex sentences to avoid confusion and blandness. You don’t want your writing to be hard work for the reader so introduce bullet points to break up a paragraph of copy.
Structural changes can help with readability so use headings and subheadings to allow the reader to scan for the information they most want to read.
Pose a question or use a transition word such as ‘but’, ‘and, ‘first’ or ‘finally’ at the start of a sentence to improve the flow between paragraphs or sentences. This helps build a natural story.
Read through the rest of your copy and delete any unnecessary words or phrases that don’t add value to your message.
Your copy will flow better without adverbs, cliches and filler words such as ‘very’, ‘really’ or ‘that’.
And simplify your writing by saying words like ‘buy’ instead of ‘purchase’.
Now you’ve removed the excess words from your copy, you need to add some personality back in so it sounds like you.
Use a conversational tone to make your writing more engaging and informal. Talk directly to your reader and say ‘you’ instead of ‘we’. Use contractions like ‘you’re’ instead of ‘you are’ and ‘it’s’ rather than ‘it is’ and ask questions to involve them and make them think.
Vary your sentence and paragraph length to keep your writing interesting and unrepetitive. Try to mix short sentences with longer ones to avoid monotony.
We all have blind spots when it comes to writing, so check your words carefully for typos, spelling mistakes, missing punctuation and grammatical errors.
If you have time, print your copy and read it out loud to help spot any issues and to check your words flow easily.
Then mark up any errors you spot on paper with a red pen or highlighter to help you correct your original copy.
If you can’t see the wood for the trees, leave your copy and come back to it the next day with a fresh pair of eyes. Or use Grammarly to help.
Over to you
Invest the time to edit your writing and you’ll reap the rewards. If you follow my editing tips you’ll be left with streamlined, purposeful copy that achieves your business goals.
Take the next step
If you struggle to edit your own copy, you can ask a professional copywriter for help.