As PR professionals, we’re often tasked with writing materials for our clients, whether in the form of press releases, messaging documents or social media content. In addition to being writers, we simultaneously take on the role of both rewriter and editor.
In a recent Tactics article, writing coach and former Associated Press writer Ken O’Quinn explains that as editors, we should “ask questions from the perspective of a reader who doesn’t have the writer’s insight on the topic.” He offers five tips to help us become better editors:
- Find a writing buddy: Strengthen your writing skills by finding a partner who will read your drafts and give you candid feedback about what isn’t clear, what is missing, what you should add or remove, and what grammar mistakes need to be fixed.
- Read your copy three times: Editing isn’t just one quick reading to check for grammar and punctuation errors.
- Understand the parts of the editing process: People use editing and proofreading interchangeably, but proofreading is the third step in the editing process.
- Allow time for revising: Allow time before the deadline to talk with your editor about necessary changes so that you have time for rewriting, and can benefit from learning by doing.
- Leave a positive impression: Readers, particularly in management, have a difficult time cutting you slack for high-school mistakes that simply shouldn’t be there.
As writers, Quinn encourages us to take pride in our craft. Do you have some great editing tips? Tweet us @newsgeneration and let us know.