Business

Content Editing for Dummies

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Content isn’t just an SEO strategy. It establishes your brand’s voice and proves you’re an authority. If your content is well-written and engaging, your audience will keep coming back for more.

To be effectively engaging, your digital content needs to be well-written. Well-written content is ultimately well-edited content. It should be clear, concise, and to the point. Spellcheck simply can’t replace the human touch. If you’re going to make a good first impression, your work needs to be polished and professional — every time.


If your goal is compelling content, consider these four tips the next time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys):

1. Remember Your Message
A lot of writers lose sight of their point midway through writing an article. They may slip into a lengthy digression, or somehow end up with content that’s completely off-topic. Ask yourself if every single sentence serves the main point of your article. If one doesn’t, change it or cut it out completely. If you’re looking at a particularly lengthy digression, consider writing a follow-up article down the road.  There’s no need to cram everything into one piece.

2. Read It Aloud
Your brain may forgive a lot of grammar errors but your mouth won’t. Reading out loud forces you to slow down, unearthing sneaky grammatical errors, as well as clumsy and repetitive wording.

3. “Kill Your Darlings”
Not literally (it’s a Faulkner quote). Editing involves a certain willingness to be brutal. Sometimes, that may mean telling an author that her work simply isn’t very good, or asking what she means by a particularly opaque turn of phrase. Don’t forget that as an editor, your job is to make the author shine, even when it hurts her pride.

4. Hire a Professional
A lot of people think that because they are avid readers, they can write well. It’s true that the digital information age has made writers out of all of us, but writing is a craft, honed over time. So is content editing. If you’re neither a professional writer nor professional editor, you probably haven’t honed that skill set. There’s no shame in that. Just as you’d hire a professional plumber or electrician, you should consider hiring a professional editor to make certain your written content is top-notch.

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Content Editing

The Case For Content Editing

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As all [good] content editors know, the concise prose you find when you read a published piece didn’t get that way on the first try. Writing is a process, and often, a first draft may convey great ideas and raw insight, but it’s very rare that a first draft is perfect. Almost every piece of writing needs an editor to take it from a rough draft to a final, polished article, ready for publication.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your writing is up to par:

Define the Narrative
Is there a clear story being told or does the writing tend to veer off in different directions? When examining a piece of writing, you want to be able to trace a clear narrative from beginning to end. If you are having trouble crafting an airtight narrative, it may be a good time to hire a content editor. A content editor will check to see whether there are any points that aren’t followed up later in the piece. An editor may also remove story elements that fail to contribute to your writing’s overall point or purpose.

Ensure Consistency
Much of the job of a content editor is making sure a piece of writing reads like it was written by the same author from start to end. This is why it can be very helpful to hire a content editor, regardless of the nature of your content. You don’t want a piece that starts off casually and then suddenly becomes stiff or formal in the final paragraph. Similarly, you don’t want a project to begin by using one set of terminology, and conclude with an entirely different set of terms. A skilled editor will select an appropriate tone and vocabulary and apply them consistently throughout your piece.

Boost Engagement
As you are reviewing a piece of writing, stop to ask yourself whether the writing actually engages the reader. Does the writing feel like a conversation?  Do you want to know more about the subject matter at hand? If the writing is not engaging you, it’s unlikely it will engage the average reader. A content editor can craft a piece to be more engaging and relatable. Sometimes, simply adding a question or two, can help engage your audience and encourage them to continue reading.

Regardless of your topic, an experienced content editor should be able to elevate your piece to its best, polished, and most readable state.

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Business

Bad Grammar and Typos Cost Real Estate Agents Money

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Any good real estate agent knows the importance of writing not only correct, but compelling listings. Written errors do not only cause confusion between agents and potential buyers, they give a bad impression overall. While browsing listings, homebuyers expect to be able to get all the information they need at just a glance and will soon skip over any that are difficult to decipher. Furthermore, grammatical errors and dubious word choices give buyers the message that you as an agent either do not know how, or do not care enough, to write correctly.

Top professionals in real estate (and certainly all industries) care enough to hire editors to proofread and perfect their writing before displaying it for potential customers to see. The most compelling reason to do so? Their bottom line. According to a Wall Street Journal article, real estate listings written in full, error-free sentences result in faster sales as well as higher-than-average selling prices. That’s something every real estate agent can appreciate.

Typos Can Be Costly Mistakes
We all make typos from time to time, but failing to notice and correct them before publishing a listing (such as posting to social media or sending correspondence) is careless and also costly. The silliest typos might add a nonexistent extra bedroom to a home or a couple of hefty zeroes to an asking price. These errors are an instant deal killer. Rather than call to double-check such mistakes in major details, most buyers will simply move on to the next listing. You might think blooper-style typos, such as writing “poo in the backyard” instead of “pool” or “large panty” instead of “pantry,” give readers a harmless chuckle, but that’s not a good thing. You want house hunters to be smiling with excitement over the potential of your listing, not laughing at your errors.

Readability Is Very Important
Abbreviations are common and accepted in real estate listings. They make skimming lots of listings quicker and easier for browsing homebuyers, and they save real estate agents money on pricey advertising space. Go too far with the convention, though, and you risk giving readers a headache as they try to decipher lines of all-caps code. Do not make the mistake of cutting every vowel from every word (“bdrm” is fine, “grt nghbrhd” is just annoying) or making up your own acronyms (no one knows that SSA stands for “stainless steel appliances”). An editor or another set of eyes can help you find the fine line between writing that’s summarized for the benefit of the reader and writing that’s crammed with so many abbreviations it becomes unintelligible.

Errors Undermine Your Professionalism
Most homebuyers who are reading listings can forgive minor typos and grammatical errors as long as they can understand the key points. They know that real estate is your expertise, not writing perfect prose. However, mistakes from the subtle to the glaring all undermine your professional appearance and cost you money in ways you can’t easily measure. If you are publishing listings or other materials with errors, is it because you are uneducated? Perhaps your agency cannot afford to pay someone to proofread. Or maybe you just don’t care. All of these possibilities mean buyers are doubting your professionalism, and such doubts inevitably have a negative effect on your profits. Smart, savvy real estate agents know that utilizing the services of an editor can undeniably boost your bottom line.

By: Heather R., Editor for editorr

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Business

The Importance of Writing Well in Business

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First Impressions
A face-to-face meeting can offer you perspective on a business. Your first impression is based on the personality and demeanor of the other party. Being charismatic can go a long way, but even the monotonous gain respect over time. However, the same cannot be said when it comes to digital communication.

Whether in an e-mail or on your website, the words you write are permanent. In sum, your writing leaves a last impression – and if you don’t represent yourself well, what you write may be your downfall.

The Cost of Unprofessional Writing
The many writing mistakes employees make may come as no surprise. Some issues are simple (such as spelling errors), while others are more complex. We’re not just talking about grammar, but also tone. Your words inevitably translate a certain voice. Taking the necessary time to master this skill is something very few employees do.

Some examples of expensive mistakes include:

• Suggestive long-form sentences. In many cases, people use run-on sentences as a way to avoid being bold and direct. This often translates to inaction and fails to instill confidence in the reader. As the old saying goes, “Say what you mean, mean what you say.”

• Writing too passively. At times, a passive voice is necessary, but it is rarely required. You will find that there are better ways to shape your paragraphs if you step back and rethink what’s being written.

• Lacking proper formality. Sometimes you have to be formal without being too formal. Some casual writing, also known as conversational writing, is acceptable when the rapport between the two parties supports it. When in doubt, formality is usually a better option.

Training Employees to Write Better
Extensive measures can be taken to ensure that your employees are representing your business well. At the end of the day, however, you cannot expect your staff to transform into Shakespeare overnight. The depths of copywriting and content editing are diverse. Changes in staffing can lead to wasted efforts when you are trying to enhance writing performance at the employee level.

The only real solution is to hire a content editing company to ensure your written materials are both reader and action friendly. Whenever possible, make sure to have your content looked over before sending it out. Once you’ve found a reliable proofreader, stick with the provider that offers you the fastest turnaround time.

Conclusion
The way a business approaches content editing can greatly impact their profitability. Proofreading and editing services are transforming the way this process works. With editorr, you can submit your projects to be immediately proofread and copyedited by an experienced professional, for a relatively small fee.

Try us out and see the difference for yourself!

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Writing

“If you don’t care about your writing, why should I care about you and your business?”

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IMG_4239I read an interesting quote today: “If you don’t care about your writing, why should I care about you and your business?”  Obviously, this quote hit home for me.  You can take the word “business” and replace it with many other words pertinent to your particular needs: resume, newsletter, report, email, blog post, cover letter, etc.

Nearly every day, I come across brochures, website copy, print advertisements, emails, blog posts, and newsletters that were poorly written.  That said, most of what I see has been written by highly competent professionals, often experts in their field.  The net result is that what they write diminishes their message and damages their reputation.

Writing seems easy enough, to most people, but as we now know, it’s not.  It’s an art form that needs to be properly addressed.  You have to strike a balance between providing too much information to the reader and too little, and between inflating the reasons for success and under-selling them.  While poor writing will hinder a good reputation, excellent writing will enrich it. Really good writing can create credibility where none existed before.  Good writing gets noticed and that’s good news for whatever business that writing is supporting.

Good writing not only gains the attention of the reader, it convinces.  Effective writing needs to be attractive, friendly,  and jargon-free, but it will still fail if its underlying message is not strong enough.  Whereas poor writing will sabotage a good reputation, excellent writing will enhance it.

Sounds simple enough, right?  You would be surprised by how may people do not take the time to write well, keeping them from fulfilling their highest potential.  Don’t be one of those people.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think poor writing effects professional credibility?

 

Cheers to writing well!

Brian Robison

CEO and Co-Founder of editorr, LLC

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