The main way people discover your company online is through your website copy (content) or your branding message. Your website content, blog posts, newsletters and e-mails should be well written, error free and represent your brand.
Editing is essential. Your copy loses its effectiveness with every error and those mistakes could be costing your company revenue. Would you spend your time trying to read copy that’s full of spelling and grammatical errors? Of course not, so why think your clients or potential clients would?
What will happen is they’ll simply move to the next website, one with professionally written and edited copy.
Small mistakes can be caught after copy is published online and can be revised fairly quickly. But there’s always someone out there with eagle eyes catching the error before you do and telling the world about it.
Read on for seven tips you can use to improve the quality of your marketing copy.
Editing With Style
Consistency is paramount when copy editing so implementing a style standard will ensure all your content is consistent, whatever the platform – web copy, blog post, marketing sales flyer, etc.
A company style guide cannot cover every situation though. This is where another resource like the AP Stylebook is essential for locating words and phrases you may be wondering about how to use correctly.
When writing headlines, for example, consistency is vital. Editors often decide what words will be used in a headline, so the company style guide should contain information on headlines. This helps other editors and writers produce consistent copy.
Short And Sweet
Readers don’t have long attention spans nowadays, so keeping the copy length in mind when editing is very important. Keeping sentences concise will grip the reader by making the words count.
Also, all non-essential words should be deleted unless they impact the copy’s overall meaning. As an example, “that” is often used and in most cases can be removed from the sentence.
Two Pairs Of Eyes
Most copy editors love writing, but reviewing your own work can be a problem. Finding errors in your text is difficult because you’re reading what you think you wrote and not what you actually wrote.
Ask someone else to read your copy if possible. This person will read it through “fresh” eyes and see the copy as a reader would and find errors easier.
If asking someone else to proof your copy isn’t an option, put the finished copy to one side for a day or two. When you pick it back up you’ll see it as an editor and not the author. The copy will not be as fresh in your mind, so catching mistakes is likelier to occur.
The first thing a copy editor does in the editing stage is to read the content to make changes. A good starting point is to silently read the copy to yourself, but reading it out loud slowly and articulating each word helps catch more errors as you hear how the words and sentences blend together.
The words sound different when read aloud. If you trip over any words, it’s a sure sign you need to rewrite that section to try to improve the “flow.” This method often highlights where you may have skipped a word, misspelled a word or made a grammatical error.
Back To Front
From my days as a professional proofreader, I found that going through content backwards – one sentence at a time – was an effective way to pick up on any problems. When reading words out of order, you focus on each word and spot spelling errors. Poor punctuation, extra words, double words, etc. that could have been skimmed over should be spotted quickly when reading backwards.
The Big Picture
Stepping back and studying the copy as a whole is vitally important.
• Is the article “Seven Tips For Editing Your Marketing Copy” and there are nine listed?
• Is the artwork placed correctly?
• Have you checked to make sure hyperlinks work (if included)?
Checking these factors is one of the most important facets of copy editing. The artwork and hyperlinks are how your readers will view and interact with your carefully crafted content.
Proofread After Publishing
It’s not all over for the copy editor when the “publish” button is pressed. Even with all the checks we’ve discussed, mistakes can occasionally be missed. That’s why another check after publishing is a worthwhile exercise.
Digital publishing is more forgiving than print in most situations. Once content is published in print, any missed mistakes are out there forever.
When publishing digitally, something may already be live but minor changes can still be made if necessary before the majority of your audience sees it.
Photo – http://www.daisyeditorial.co.uk