Ever written something, and walked away from it?
If not, you should try it—today.
Coming back to the same piece after an hour or a full day gives you a whole new lease on your content. Typos, grammatical whoopsies, and flow issues are a few things you’ll spot in a literal second after you give your eyes (and fingers) a break from the keyboard.
In today’s content world, delivery is critical.
It could mean the difference of someone reading your content, or not.
So, whether you’re a seasoned writer or a novice, it’s important to know where you need to improve — all without wasting too much of your time.
Self-editing is your key. This not only catches those pesky grammar errors and typos, but it could dramatically improve the delivery—and ROI—of your copy.
Learn 7 quick edits that will make your copy fun, engaging, authoritative, and 100% better than the first time you drafted it. Save this and next time you craft up new content, come back to our list.
Self-Editing Is A Must No Matter What Online Content You’re Writing
It doesn’t matter what you’re writing.
Landing pages, web content, blogs, or your email responses to your bestie.
Taking the time to edit and make small (but necessary) changes will make a dramatic difference in how your copy is received.
WordStream highly recommends self-editing. In fact, they recommend editing your work ruthlessly and as if you are your harshest critic.
Everyone else will read over your copy with just as much scrutiny. If you do so first, you can catch the errors and potential lackluster statements that will turn readers away.
7 Genius Edits That Make You A Copywriting Superstar
Readers today are hard to grasp. So, you need to get their attention (and do so quickly). Once engaged, you have them at your fingertips. Of course, all it takes is a single error or loss in flow to lose their attention for good.
To avoid this very hazard, here’s what we suggest:
1. Go With The Flow
Have you ever visited a website only to see a wall of text and tap the “back” button as quickly as possible?
Most internet readers will do the same when they see such a wordy travesty.
The idea of sifting through such a massacre of words isn’t appealing to even those with tons of free time on their hands. So, don’t bombard your readers. Instead, give them what they crave.
What is that?
Readers today crave organization, easy-to-digest sentences, and small tidbits. They want it all to soak in slowly.
Nothing kills it for a reader more than improper flow, and improper flow wastes an excellent article to boot.
When you’re self-editing, purposely press that “Enter” key every few sentences. Aim for one to three sentences per paragraph max. Your grade school teacher may groan, but she’s not writing online for today’s reader; and, you’re not trying to get an “A” in English Literature 101.
A few ways to improve your flow:
- Vary your sentence lengths.
- Avoid choppy, awkward sentences.
- Get rid of fluff or needless words.
- Utilize the power of transitional words and phrases.
2. Open With Something Relatable And Oh-So-Yes-Worthy
Have you ever read an opening paragraph that made you nod in agreement?
That’s your goal here.
Open up with something relatable to the reader. They found your article or blog, but now you need to remind them what they were looking for.
Touch on emotional value here, but be honest and sincere.
Susan Gunelius at Forbes wrote an excellent piece on creating brand stories with high emotional value. In her words, stories are the perfect catalyst to building brand loyalty and brand value.”
3. Break It Up — But Keep It Organized
The more you break up the content, the easier it is to digest.
By that we mean, use sub headers. Organize your thoughts into main advantages and topics, then use those key advantages for creating sub headers.
Bold them too.
Bolding points out to the reader what they need to know and what they will learn if they stick around to read what you’ve written.
4. Don’t Be Shy With The Bullet Points
Bullet points are magical for copywriting.
They break up walls of text and make them easier to take in.
Even better, they let you jet out your ideas while keeping the reader focused.
When making bullet points, think of an outline. You’re not writing a novel here.
Organize the text and make it scannable. You can bold key points and then add tidbits after that to highlight what you’ve just said.
Copyblogger’s Robert Bruce wrote an excellent blog on creating bullet points people want to read. He recommends bullet points because they keep people reading and provide a clear benefit to the reader.
5. Avoid The Clichés and Buzzwords
Clichés are used so often that they can lose their impact.
The same goes for buzzwords. Buzzwords are overused and may irritate some readers; forcing them to leave the page.
Avoid distracting people with unnecessary wording and just stick to the facts. Sure, you can add in your own personality, but if you see a cliché or buzzword in your writing, remove it immediately.
Get extra guidance on what words to use (and which to edit out) from Oxford Dictionaries Top Tips for Word Choice.
6. Convert The Passive To The Active
Passive phrases are pesky — and we’re all guilty of using them.
Sometimes you can’t help it.
But, passive voice (or the overuse of it) can kill your content.
Purdue’s Online Writing Lab defines passive voice as the subject that is “being acted upon.” You can quickly identify a passive phrase by looking for forms of “be.” Note passive voice isn’t a grammatical error; it is a style choice.
An active voice provides brevity, clarity, and assigns responsibility. So, when active voice makes sense, use it.
7. Use Second Person Instead Of The Third Person
The third person is robotic and sterile.
It doesn’t speak to the reader.
Pronouns, like “you,” “your,” and “yours” (i.e. the second person) will help the reader picture themselves in what you are saying.
Your writing becomes more intimate, and creates a connection between you and your reader when you use the second person.
Now It’s Time To Tackle Your Work With Your Copywriting Knacks
You officially have our inside secrets for better self-editing.
Of course, now is the time to take what you’ve learned and implement it.
We recommend writing up your copy and taking a break. That way you are more apt to catch pesky errors, but also you have a break from the creative role so you can hop into the editing role.
Just remember, self-editing is a skill. Similar to your writing, you need to perfect that skill over time.
By implementing these seven quick tips, you can refine your editing and improve your writing; making you one marvelous copywriter.
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