After writing your content, make sure to get out the editing pen for a final review of what you wrote. Or, better yet, hire an editor trained to spot errors, tighten the text and improve the overall structure or story.
By Shelley Widhalm
Putting out a chalkboard sign promoting your offerings or writing an author or business blog seems like the final step. The content is written. It’s been read over once or twice. But it likely needs something more.
With all the massive amount of content that gets posted online and on signs, are editors really necessary? To get that final step as perfect as possible, editing isn’t just for books anymore. It’s for everything from signs to blogs, articles, newsletters, brochures, website and other written content.
Do You Notice the Errors?
Without a conscious review of obvious grammatical errors, plus the more hidden errors that are hard to notice without a careful eye, readers will know something isn’t quite right.
I’ve read plenty of blogs and news articles repeating the same words in the lead as in the body, or what is called a word echo. I’ve seen signs with missing or misspelled words, which becomes the laughingstock of online postings. And I’ve read books with grammatical, mechanical and content errors that take readers out of the story like a big STOP sign.
As a typical reader, I’ll glaze over a couple of errors, but too many and I start to doubt the credibility of the writer. And if it’s a sign or a banner, I’ll figure the business isn’t invested in marketing and branding, making me question how long it will be around. It’s like a flimsy business card—quality isn’t of top concern, so why should I stop in?
Hiring an editor can keep the content where it should be. In its place doing its job—it’s not noticed like a freshly cleaned window but is a vehicle for getting attention or telling the story. Its purpose is to clean up and tighten the language, so that readers can skim ane get the message. Everyone is busy and doesn’t have time to trip up over awkward phrases and errors.
3 Reasons Editing is Necessary
Here are three key reasons why hiring an editor is critical for achieving great content.
- One is Small: Editors are trained to notice the small errors readers may detect but that are hard to find if you aren’t looking for them, such as a comma where there should be a period or a misused word, inserting “they’re” or “their” instead of “there” and leaving out the comma in “you’re” and using “your.”
- Two is Big: Editors understand the use of language down to the fine details. They know how to spot errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax and other mechanics of style. Grammar is the study of words and how they are used in sentences. It is how words and their parts combine to form a sentence, while syntax refers to the actual arrangement of the individual words and phrases in the sentence. In other words, syntax is the rules of forming a sentence, or how the words are put together. If this sounds confusing, it is. But editors memorize grammar books and nerdy terms like these. They also know style guides and just where to look up things and which sources to use.
- Three is Voice: Editors understand voice and how word choice affects the sound and meaning of language, plus they know how to turn analytic writing into something that’s more conversational or vice versa.
The Right Things Get Noticed
The best way to get attention is by your message, not by your errors. The result: you are the expert. You offer the quality item. You are what your words say.