Get to the point - 20 editing tips

Editing 101 for blog posts, websites & marketing material
on Thu 7 Jun

We are less and less tolerant about wading through lots of words -  so these editing  tips should help you cut away words that you don't need leaving words that you do!

  1. Look for any “that” words – these can often be eliminated
  2. Edit with rhythm – vary the length of the sentences so they don’t sound monotonous
  3. Remove superlatives like “fabulous” “thrilling,” or “amazing” – people are not convinced by these.
  4. Take away unnecessary adverbs “ I’m very interested in quickly meeting” should be “I’m interested in meeting”
  5. Don’t use a passive voice - you can usually spot this because it uses more words without adding information . For example instead of “Why did the chicken cross the road?” – which is active; the passive version would be “Why was the road crossed by the chicken
  6. Keep up the energy of the copy you're writing.  It’s easy to tell when you haven’t and easy to lose your reader when your writing is half hearted. It needs to have passion, focus and intention
  7. Watch for stoppers – avoid words or phrases that make the reader ponder, hesitate, backtrack or retreat from a message.
  8. Eliminate unnecessary words that contribute little to the overall feel;  eliminate repetition and weed out “ands” or “the’s”
  9. It’s not all about taking away, you might actually add words to clarify or that better express your thoughts!
  10. Re-arrange your thoughts so that they flow better, this may mean leading with your conclusion!
  11. You need to maintain the same emotional feel, the same thought process, the same vibration, the same consistency of voice throughout
  12. Is the style suitable to your reader e.g. men or women, Times readers or Sun readers?
  13. This is where you get rid of as many forms of “to be” possible – these are is, am, was, were, are, will be.
  14. Place your important points in strategic places: at the top and bottom of the page, the beginning and end of each paragraph, and the beginning and end of each sentence.
  15. Short sentences are easier to read, so 32 words max.
  16. Read your text aloud to check - you will not pick up editing weaknesses unless you do this
  17. Check your layout for good white space, believe it or not  this allows brief thinking time.
  18. Double check names, numbers, contact details and dates.
  19. Put your copy aside after you have written it and look at it the next day.  You will often discover things you did not see the day before.  
  20. Don;t rush, build in editing time and take as long as you need

 

Example – selling bathroom scales intro

 

Before editing:

Losing weight is not easy.  Ask anyone

But If you’ve tried it girls, you know that part of a good weight reduction programme is about the regular checking of your progress on your bathroom scales.  Those bathroom scales are like a bit like a school report - a feedback mechanism that tells you just how well you’ve done. 

Indeed, one of the pleasures of losing weight is stepping onto your bathroom scales and seeing those positive results for which you’ve worked so hard

83 words

 

After editing:

Losing weight is not easy.  Ask anyone

But girls, one of the few pleasures of losing weight is stepping onto your bathroom scales and seeing those positive results.  It’s a bit like seeing a good grade on your school report after ALL your hard work… 

45 words

 

 I hope that helps! 

 

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