Editing the Easy Way
You can edit your copy more effectively with the following 5 strategies. Your writing will be stronger and your copy more successful … leading to more controls and more profits.
ALLOT TIME FOR EDITING
When setting a deadline with your client, allow 5 days for editing. If you don't have the luxury of 5 days, give yourself 3 extra days at the very least.
This schedule allows you to put your copy away for 1 or 2 days – giving you a "break" from it before tackling the editing.
EDIT HARD COPY ONLY
Print out the copy for editing. You cannot see errors or copy problems on the monitor as easily as you can on the printed page.
ONE TYPE OF EDITING AT A TIME
You have to do two distinct types of editing: copyediting and line editing.
The copyediting makes sure you said what you wanted to say … in the strongest way possible.
The line editing makes sure you've used the right words ("there/their/they're," for example) … that you haven't left out important words (such as "not," a mistake I make) … and that you haven't mixed up word order. This is also a good time to spell-check.
I do both types of editing twice, in this order: copyediting – line editing – copyediting – line editing.
GET OUTSIDE HELP
My wife reads my copy out loud while I follow on another printout. If she stumbles or has problems with a word or phrase, that's a sure indicator that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.
"CUB" THE COPY
Master copywriter Mike Palmer recommended another valuable strategy at this year's Bootcamp. He gives his copy to several people and asks them to read it and identify any CUB spots: places where the copy is Confusing, Unbelievable, or Boring.
(I mentioned this idea in Issue #299 of The Golden Thread, but misidentified the "U" in CUB as "Unclear.")
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