Less is More: Editing Your Business Writing

Less is More: Editing Your Business Writing

Less is More: Editing Your Business Writing

Welcome to the first of four articles about something we all do every day. Editing.

Everyone edits. Everyone. All the time.

Editing is a second look. Editing is as simple as reading email before you send it, to make sure that you included everything you want to say, or as complex as overhauling a book manuscript.

If you don't consider email vital communication, and you're not writing a novel, do you need to think about editing? If you use written communication in any aspect of your business, yes. You do.

As I wrote in my April 2005 Onwords™ column, Written communication is often the first impression you make on potential customers, business partners or employers. Misspelled words, grammatical errors and sloppy writing tell your reader that you either don't know better or don't care enough about them to communicate properly. Certainly not the message you want to send to your customers or associates.

In the next few articles I will delve into two types of editing, copy editing and content editing. Copy editing is a check for spelling, grammar and typographical errors. It's making sure you spell a customer's name correctly in your business letter. It's checking punctuation in your instructional design manuals. Copy editing ensures that your press releases and newsletters go to print with commas in the right places, proper capitalization, and no misuse of their, there or they're.

Content editing combines copy editing with an in-depth assessment of content and writing style. Content editing ensures that all cited facts are validated (fact-checking) and properly referenced, and that quotes are accurate and correctly assigned.

Content editing involves reworking the writing style with an eye toward precision, economy and flow. It ensures that your sales letters and promotional materials are easy to read, vibrant and compelling to your audience.

We all conduct more business in writing and less in face-to-face meetings than we did even one year ago. Editing makes your writing as powerful as you need it to be.

Subscribe to receive my monthly Onwords™ column, and join me next time for tips on how to accomplish copy editing quickly and easily.

Copyright © 2006 by Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.