The primary way your customers and potential customers get to know your company online is through your message or the copy. Your website content, newsletters, blog, and even emails should be well written, reflect your brand, and be free of errors. Regardless of your actual position-whether owner, marketing director, copywriter, etc.-editing your copy is essential if you want to make a good impression and properly reflect your brand image.
The following is advice on how to edit copy for the best final result:
1. If possible, have someone else read your online copy. It’s often difficult to find errors in your own text because you’re reading what you think you wrote rather than what you actually wrote. A more objective reader will be able to see the text as it is and find errors more easily.
2. Read your copy aloud to an audience. You hear the words differently when sharing them with someone else because you’re considering what they think about it rather than just your own opinion.
3. Even if you don’t have an audience, it always helps to read your copy aloud. Any time you trip over the words, it’s a sign that you should reconsider the wording and try to improve the flow. This often helps you discover locations where you accidentally skipped a word, misspelled something, or made a grammatical mistake.
4. When editing your own copy, wait a day before rereading it. The time away from your writing allows you to forget the exact wording you were going for and, therefore, read the copy more objectively.
5. Read the copy slowly. Usually, readers are able to complete sentences and phrases in their mind before they actually read all of the words, which doesn’t allow for effective editing. When editing, make sure to take your time and read every single word. It should take you close to an hour to edit a 1000-word document.
6. Read through the copy at least twice. The first time, look at the big picture rather than just the grammar and spelling. Make sure your message is clear, the sentences and paragraphs flow well together, and the style fits your brand. The second time, look for grammatical and spelling mistakes. It’s a good idea, if you have time, to read through one last time for anything else you may have missed.