You’ve filled your screen with brilliance, and it’s time to hit the publish button. Not so fast. You’re skipping the crucial step: editing. Stringent editing will strengthen your writing.
Check your word count, and cut it in half. That’s right, in half. You’ll probably find—if you look carefully—that you can make your key point(s) in half the words.
Imagine you’re trimming the bone, gristle and fat, retaining the meat. There’s nothing wrong with “butchering copy” in this way.
Here are three methods:
1. Quick fixes
Delete needless or redundant words:
- Is currently looking for
- Is in the process of building
- Over a period of three months
- At least three paragraphs or longer
- By Oct.15, if not sooner
- There are many people who prefer
- In the month of September
- In the year 2009
- Over a period of six weeks
- The city of New Orleans
- The state of Idaho
Let powerful words do the work of flabby phrasing:
- She’s the sort of person who takes charge –> She takes charge
- One of the most important aspects is –> One crucial aspect is
- This is a great online tool because it snarfles–> This tool snarfles
- To achieve success –> To succeed
- Do some tidying up –> Tidy up
- The attention of your readers –> Your readers’ attention
- Take the time/Make an effort to do W –> Do W
- If you want to make X a priority –> To prioritize X
- If you have the opportunity, do Y –> Do Y
- There are many ways to do Z. Here are a few you might think about trying. –> Here are several ways to do Z.
Condense a bloated passage, retaining the key point:
- Public relations professionals at all levels should care deeply about this issue. –> PR pros should prioritize this issue.
- The first thing we can all do as PR professionals is be more precise in our language. We can also be more thorough in our research. –>PR pros should deliver precise language and thorough research.
- There’s one clear fact that any successful business must accept: Change happens. –> Change happens.
- You’re probably including too much information that isn’t relevant to the reader. –> You’re probably including irrelevant information.