A few tips to better your editing skills
As the content manager, editing is an integral part of my job and is expected to meet high standards. At first, this role was intimidating because I know everyone makes mistakes. After editing hundreds of pieces and learning from past mistakes, my fear turned into confidence. Within this process, I discovered ten editing tips below from hard-learned lessons that can improve your editing skills.
1. Start with technical errors
Here is where you extensively check for spelling and grammar. I recommend using grammar-checking apps like Grammarly.
2. Pick up some of the proofreading tricks below:
Switch up the time and setting you’re reading in
Isolate each sentence
Have someone else read it
Read out loud
Change up font type, size, or color
Point at the screen as you read
3. Check consistency
Overall, your content messaging should be consistent throughout your piece. Read through your content and eliminate any unnecessary words that don’t make sense. Sometimes these words are used to express a thought or used repeatedly.
4. Have style manual handy
Having your preferred style manual by your side is extremely helpful during uncertainty. I personally use the Associated Press Stylebook as a reference guide.
5. Double check EVERY name, link, fact, stat, etc.
You never want to misspell someone’s name, especially a client’s name. Incorrect information can be misleading and audiences will question your credibility. The only way to uncover these preventable mistakes is to question and check everything.
6. Look for passive voice
This is commonly known as a bad writing habit. You always want to try writing in active voice. Eliminate passive voice by making the subject do the action. For example, “Tickets may be purchased at the gate.” is passive. To be active, say, “Purchase tickets at the door.”
7. Cut down the number of words, but not ideas
Check to see if you’re using words exactly the way you intended. Start cutting down words with adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.
8. Keep a list of past mistakes
A list of your editing mistakes isn’t there to remind you of failure. It’s there to remind you not to make those same mistakes again. A successful writer can identify their editing weaknesses, and having this list in front of you can help reinforce them.
9. Use Command + F (Mac) or Control + F (PC)
This simple feature can save you from making a mistake at the hit of a button. All you do is press Command or Control + F, type in your problem word or phrase, let your browser take you to the word in your piece, and swap it out with the correct one.
10. Finish where you started
Check spelling, grammar, and confirm names one last time before publishing. And again. And again.
What are your favorite editing tips? Share them in the comments section below.