You’ve finally finished writing out your document and you’re ready to move onto the next job. Hold on!
Whether you’re working on a blog post, magazine article, press release or any type of content, you really shouldn’t send it out into the world before one last crucial step: editing.
We’re guessing that you want to keep your readers interested till the end. To do this, you need to make hard decisions about what merits their time and attention. Then do away with anything extra. That’s what editing is about.
As a content company, we get warm, fuzzy feelings when we come across copy that’s been edited properly. And we like warm, fuzzy feelings. So we’re here to share the top 3 ways to strengthen your writing through stringent editing.
1. Editing to delete needless or redundant words
You’re not at Uni any more – there’s no need to flesh out an assignment to hit the necessary word count. In most cases, you’ll find that you could get your points across using half your current word count.
Here are a few examples of phrases that needed a trim:
- In order to do something >> To do something
- Are currently looking for >> Are looking for
- Is in the process of building >> Is building
- At least three paragraphs or longer >> A minimum of three paragraphs
- There are many people who prefer >> Many people prefer
- For the month of September >> For September
- During the year 2009 >> During 2009
- Over a period of six weeks >> Over six weeks
- The city of Valletta >> Valletta
2. Let powerful words do the work of flabby phrasing
Here’s another set of examples coming up. We’ve trimmed the fat, and we’re rewarded with phrases that are more punchy, direct and powerful. All thanks to some efficient editing.
- She’s the sort of person who takes charge >> She takes charge
- One of the most important aspects is >> One crucial aspect is
- This is a great online tool because it identifies… >> This tool identifies…
- To achieve success >> To succeed
- Do some tidying up >> Tidy up
- The attention of your readers >> Your readers’ attention
- Take the time / Make an effort to do W >> Do W
- If you want to make X a priority >> To prioritize X
- Should you have the opportunity, do Y >> Do Y
- There are many ways to do Z. Here are a few you might think about trying. >> Here are several ways to do Z.
3. Editing for Distillation
The trick here is to condense bloated passages while retaining the key point. Once again, we’re editing to reduce extra, useless words and phrases that detract from your text.
Here are some examples of phrases that benefitted from a little editing:
- Public relations professionals at all levels should care deeply about this issue.
>> PR pros should prioritize this issue.
- The first thing we can all do as PR professionals is be more precise in our language. We can also be more thorough in our research.
>> PR pros should deliver precise language and thorough research.
- There’s one clear fact that any successful business must accept: Change happens.
>> Change happens.
- You’re probably including too much information that isn’t relevant to the reader.
>> You’re probably including irrelevant information.
- Do some research into the wealth of knowledge that exists around you before calling in a costly expert or consultant.
>> Explore the wealth of knowledge around you before hiring a costly consultant.
- Build and cultivate internal skills to help save money and boost employee engagement.
>> Cultivate employees’ skills to save money and boost engagement.
The key takeaway
Keep it simple. If you can say it in fewer words, do. We’re lucky to have our audience’s attention at all – let’s not abuse of it by wasting their time!
If you need help with editing content, or having it written from scratch, we can take the load off. Get in touch to see how we can handle your content writing and editing for you today.