Entries Tagged 'editing services' ↓

Editing to Keep Your Message Clear

High quality editing is at the heart of successful copywriting. Composing the copy for an article, like this one, is only the first step. Once it’s taken shape the experienced copywriter will, like any other artist, step back and judge their work with a critical eye.

Does it deliver the right message clearly and simply? Is the composition correct? Is the balance right? When you’re working on the detail, building sentence by sentence, it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture. Often it’s only when you stand back to review the completed whole that you spot the flaws and the gaps. Then it’s time to do some touching up.

The obvious problems are spelling or typing errors or rogue words left behind in the editing process. Your editing software might highlight these with warning symbols, but spelling-checkers can’t tell whether you meant to say ‘stationary’ or ‘stationery’.

But beware of focusing on these relatively easy problems. There are bigger issues to consider, such as whether the article achieves the objectives you had for it. Does it convey a consistent message in a consistent way?

One of the pleasures of writing is the constant flow of ideas. As you write you think. Let’s say you’re putting together a 500 word piece about buying an inexpensive laptop computer for use at home. This sets you thinking about the issues of which operating system to use or the practicality of a smaller notebook computer. These thoughts start flowing into your copy.

Before you know it your article has started to address multiple subjects. The main message is no longer clear. Choice of operating systems and the style of laptop might be related but they’ve changed the focus of the article, which was meant to be about buying a cheap computer.

The ideas spawned in the writing process could become new articles in their own right, so make a note of them. But don’t get distracted from your main message.

Editing also addresses other questions. How well does the text flow? Can the punctuation be improved? There are broader issues as well, such as the value of working with an editor, and indeed who might make a good editor. These can be picked up at another time.

Today’s message is, I hope, a clear and simple one. Make sure your copy is exactly that – clear, simple in order to communicate the message you want your readers to hear.

This post was written by guest blogger Andrew Knowles, a freelance copywriter who also runs a blog for small businesses.

Proofreading – 3 Simple Steps to Perfection

Proofreading may be boring but it is the one thing that stands between a letter, email or newsletter of quality and a shoddy piece of marketing that lands itself in the bin.

It is a job that most people avoid like the plague, but proofreading should be seen as (probably) the most vital stage in any marketing push.

One thing that drives me mad is when I receive emails from people who obviously haven’t read through them before clicking the send button. It doesn’t take long to cast your eye over it. OK, I’m not totally fallable and have been known to make the odd gaffe – but that at least shows I’m human.

But when you are writing for a company, excellent proofreading services are vital. And there are three very simple steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen to you:

A recent example of this (and in fact the very thing that prompted me to write this) landed on my mat this morning. It was a mail shot from Google offering a free Google Adwords voucher.

As you could imagine my eyes lit up when I saw this – as I began to read their ‘5 reasons to attract more customers with Google Adwords‘ I couldn’t help but stiffle a giggle as I read number 1:

1. You control where you ad is showing – by country, region or town

It may only be a missing ‘r’ but it was amusing to see that even a company as big as Google occasionally make an error.

So what are the three simple steps? Well…

  1. Get someone else to proofread for you – The services of a professional proofreader are invaluable. Externally sourcing editing services is money well spent especially when writing direct mail letters or reports that will have a wide readership (please note this Google!).
  2. Leave it for a few days – By that I mean that if you have to proofread your own work, put it aside for a day or two and work on something else. That way, when you come to review it you should be able to read it with a fresh pair of eyes.
  3. Read backwards – No, I haven’t gone barking mad. If you read it backwards (i.e. from the last sentence to the first) you will be able to spot mistakes easily as what you are reading will make no sense whatsoever so you will find that you will be looking at each word harder.

Basically if you can make use of external proofreading or editing services, then do so as it will save you pounds in the long run. A new pair of eyes will always be better than the old ones (so to speak). But if you have no choice but to proofread your own work, try one of the techniques above – it might just save your blushes.