Have you ever written a perfect first draft of anything in your life?
The answer to that is probably a resounding “No.”
Unless of course, you’re some kind of grammar superhero with the useless superpower of writing perfect first drafts every, single, time.
For us regular humans, we need revision. We also want to make things easier on ourselves since editing content might not be very high on your list of things that you enjoy doing.
It takes a really strong eye for detail to edit content effectively…
Nailing voice, grammar, punctuation, and everything else is a challenge when you’re working with content.
“Tunnel vision” is another problem when you’re editing content. Your brain is more likely to skip errors in writing simply because you’ve been looking at something for so long. This makes editing even more difficult.
With all of that said, there are a lot of editing tools that can make your life much easier. I’m going to share all of my editing wizardries with you so that hopefully, the next time you need to edit something, it will be a breeze.
The first tip for editing content is a somewhat obvious one, but very necessary. Grammarly has changed the game when it comes to spelling and grammar checks everywhere. You can use it basically anywhere on the web. It’s a great tool to make sure that all of your content is error-free.
Did You Know: Grammarly works on Google Docs now in beta mode.
Hemingway is a fantastic editing tool to ensure that your writing is as clear and concise as it can be. When you’re writing marketing copy, it’s important to keep it as simple and direct as possible. The best way to do that is to aim for a readability level between grade 6-8.
Hemingway points out issues that make your content less readable, like complex words, long sentences, and adverbs.
Next time you write a piece of content, or an email, run it through Hemingway and see how it looks.
3. Read it Out Loud
Reading your content out loud is a simple way to identify when your writing doesn’t sound quite right. It’s important to be as clear and concise as possible when writing marketing copy. Normally, this means that if you wouldn’t speak it to a person, something isn’t right.
The average reader wants to read like they’re being talked to. Speak what you’ve written out loud while you read it. You’re bound to identify some things that aren’t clear that you need to fix. It might also help you find those punctuation errors that your brain has been ignoring after staring at words on a page for multiple hours.
4. Let Your Computer Speak it Back to You
Does anyone remember Harvey, the not quite safe for work computer, from The Office?
All Apple computers have an accessibility option that you can enable so that you can have a voice speak the content back to you.
Hearing your writing spoken back to you always helps you identify where things sound weird.
If you’re writing a script, hearing it spoken back to you can also help you gauge how long the speech or video will be.
Once you turn the option on, highlight the text and press Option + Esc to hear everything spoken back.
Just be sure to end every piece of writing you create with “Jim sucks.”
5. Fix You, Your, and You’re
“You” is one of the most commonly used words in all marketing writing.
When you write, the single easiest mistake you can make is missing adding the letter “r” to the word “your.” Using the word “you” when you mean “your” is frustrating. Especially since most spell checks won’t catch it when you meant to write “your” but forgot the “r.”
You’d be surprised how often this letter is missed. And how difficult it is to catch the error in the revision process. It’s almost as if your brain auto corrects it on its own.
To combat this, when you finish writing, use “Ctrl + F” to bring up the find bar. Type the word “you.”
This will highlight every single “you” in your writing. Including the “your,” “you’re,” and “yours” that you missed.
Carefully read through all of the “you” statements in your writing and make sure they’re correct.
Look at how many times “you” is used in this article.
6. Get Multiple Eyes on It
Finally, get someone else to read your content for you. A fresh set of eyes is required before you release your content to the world. All content should be reviewed by at least one other person before the rest of the world sees it. Show it to a coworker with a watchful eye and let them edit it. Show it to your boss.
Just let someone else see it.
Do you have any editing tips that I might have missed? Let me know in the comments.