5 Easy Tips For Quick Copyediting

All too often, copywriters chase words down the rabbit hole, rewriting whole paragraphs when it's not necessary. Many times, excessive re-writing can circle one back to where he or her first began. It's aggravating and a time-waster.

Instead of doing a full re-write, try these quick and easy tips for improving your copy. The goal here is not to rework content but to streamline what's already there by making it easier to read.

  1. Use bullets. Readers respond best to information that's been broken into bite-sized chunks. Use bullets in any paragraph where several key facts work to support a main idea. Often times, if the bullets are compelling enough, it might convince the reader to read further.
  2. Concise is nice. Studies show that shorter sentences are more readable – and often more memorable – than longer ones. The Poynter Institute suggests that sentences which are 10 words or less achieve a 90 percent readability rating; sentences 25 words or more, a 10 to15 percent rating.
  3. Read it, outloud. The eyes can play tricks, but the ears take no lies. Awkward phrases come to the forefront if read aloud without any inclection. Trim any words that cause sentences to bump, stumble or clash.
  4. Big words … big deal. Consider this sentence: "The employee exacerbated the problem by obfuscating facts about his dyspepsia." Uh, still awake? Jazz up the copy by replacing those nerd words with ones only one- to-two syllables long: "The worker made matters worse by hiding his chronic indigestion." Much better.
  5. Do not be negative, Nancy. "Do not be unoriginal." "They were not unsupportive." These types of expressions may make sense logically but instinctually create confusion when read. Most people are better at understanding what "is" than what is not. Trim the negatives for an instant positive.

Using these 5 tips creates fulfilled readers and satisfied employers. An ad agency recently hired us to copyedit a 1,000-word executive brochure for their medical client, which they needed next day. The paper contained good talking points and facts but was awkwardly worded in places. It took less than 45 minutes to make the changes and return to the account manager, who has since hired us to do more freelance work.

So, give these copyediting tips a try yourself and make both you and your writing standout.

Source by Daniel Bartel

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