Having written many business plans, press releases and other marketing collateral, one thing I have learned is the importance of an edit and review process. It doesn’t matter how good your writing skills are – no one can write anything great the first time.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking there isn’t the time or that it isn’t necessary on this particular communication. Or, maybe you were told the document only had to be a rough draft. Regardless, it is always a good habit of either hiring a third party to review your work or simply save your work and come back to it in 24 hours to have a look with fresh eyes. I am always amazed when I look back at my work from the prior day and reflect “What was I thinking?”
When we speak in a conversation, we typically don’t put much effort into editing what we say, so it is easy to think that writing is the same. But, if you think about it, when we have something important to say, then we will rehearse and practice it … just look at the industry of speechwriters that serve this need. We will edit and re-edit a speech many times before we are comfortable it gets the right message across. Writing is the same way.
Here are five benefits of following a good editing process, or having a good editor:
- Ensures your written message matches what you were trying to say
- Helps to condense and improve the efficiency of your writing
- Questions your flow of thoughts, ensuring there’s good logic
- Tells you if your content is too technical or if it doesn’t make sense, at least to the general public; it is very easy to “get into the weeds” about a topic you are very knowledgeable about
- Asks questions or presents an alternative perspective that you might not have considered; in the case of a blog, this feedback might be an excellent follow-up for a new post
The best person to edit your work might be someone that is not too close, so as to have the courage to tell you exactly how they feel, or what they didn’t like. A good editor might be someone that doesn’t even work at your company – or even in your industry – so as to focus purely on the content in your article, without the worry of political ramifications.
To be a good writer, one must write concisely manner (see my prior post on taking the time to write shorter copy). A great way to achieve this objective is to work with an editor. It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing about a topic you are familiar with and forgetting to take into account that your audience may be just learning about this topic for the first time.