Blog Ramblings

Run – Don’t Walk! – to Get an Editor

April 19, 2017 | by Courtney Wachob

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.

(Or, as Blaise Pascal would have said: Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.)

You write every day for work. Or, if you don’t, someone who works for you is writing. Or you’re outsourcing your writing.

Basically: there should be some sort of writing going on in your business; if you read our stuff, you know how strongly we believe in blogs, social media, and other types of content marketing – and you know we have the data that backs up the validity of our beliefs.

If you’re engaging in content marketing – and you should be – you need an editor.

editing, red pen, correction, proofreading.jpegWhy? Because editors make a difference. They bring consistency to your voice. They catch grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors before you publish them. They have extensive vocabularies full of big words and they can write really long, fancy sentences that make them look smart because they’re perfectly punctuated – but they know better than to use them.

And arguably the most important reason you need an editor: they make things readable.

It’s an unfortunate fact that people don’t read as much of your content as you’d like them to – only about 20% of it, in case you were curious. (Although you need to read 100% of this content!) They find your page, they skim your content, then POOF, they’re gone, just as quickly as they came.

This means you need content that’s easy to read but still says something.

James Michener, a famous author who wrote huge books that would have been huger had he not known the value of editing, agreed: “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

Consider the following example. The client wrote the paragraph on the left, whereas the paragraph on the right is what happened after we unleashed our editor on it.

One of our social media outlets sent an email indicating that one of their subscribers had a need for an interim or part-time Controller. The subscriber was a wholesale distributor of shoes whose product was widely accepted and had an over 30-year operating history. The Company was backed by a private-equity firm but in recent years, the Company’s management had made a series of supply-chain missteps that had threatened the Company’s survival. Most of the management team had been terminated, but now the CFO and the Controller had quit within six months of each other, leaving senior management without a financial executive.

We recently worked with a wholesale distributor of  shoes with 30+ years of success under their belt; unfortunately, recent years had seen the company’s management make a series of supply chain missteps that threatened the company’s survival. To get the problem under control, most of the management team was terminated – but then another unfortunate event occurred: the CFO and Controller quit unexpectedly within six months of each other, leaving senior management without a financial executive.

 

The paragraph on the left has 103 words; the edited version has 75 – and yet they say the same thing. Which one would you rather read? (It's the same answer for your prospective customers.)

Oh, and by the way – when you hand an editor a piece of content and tell them all they can do is fix grammar, punctuation, and spelling, they die a little inside.

So, to sum up – if you’re doing content marketing but don’t have an editor, you need one to get one. And if you’re not doing content marketing at all, you should be. We’d love to help!

Building a Killer Content Strategy

Courtney Wachob
Written by Courtney Wachob

Courtney writes and edits content for Leading Results and their clients. She has been described as a Grammar Nazi and enjoys crafting writing with excellent spelling, punctuation, and grammar.



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