Six Editing Tips for Better Blogs
One typo, easily forgiven. Multiple typos with sprinkles of homophones and misplaced commas across several posts? Sheer laziness that sends grammar phyles into a frenzy. Bad editing marks blogs as unprofessional. Revision is a necessary process that should never be skipped. Become a better editor with these tips.
1) Wait a while
Never rush editing. First drafts are like a crockpot meal. Add the ingredients, walk away and let it simmer. Upon return, it’s transformed into something new. Lesson: take a break between your first draft and revision. If you can leave time between your second draft and revision, ever better. Time away working on other projects allows you to return with fresh eyes and catch those “here” and “hear” mistakes that you may have missed otherwise. You’ll catch sentences that sound awkward, repetitive phrases, and words, and think of better ways of stating a thought.
2) Use active voice
The best writers work in the active voice. Here's an oversimplified brush up: passive voice is when a subject is acted upon; active voice is when the subject acts. It's the difference between saying, “The real estate industry reach is to be expanded,” and, “The real estate industry expanded its reach.” The first sentence is passive; the second sentence is active. Words that hint your phrasing might be passive voice: “ to be,” “ was,” “ were,” “ is,” and “are.” Note: these verbs do not always indicate passive voice--you’ll see we used two in the paragraph’s last sentence. If possible, swap “to be” verbs with active verbs. Another word associated with passive voice? “By.” For example: “The CRE tech firm expansion is being held up by regulations,” is passive whereas “Regulations halted the CRE tech firm’s expansion,” is active.
3) Cut lazy words
Stick to efficient writing to express a point. You may remember from high school English class that a strong verb is preferred to an adjective or adverb. Some words are considered overused or unnecessary, like transitional phrases: “also,” “so,” “that,” “very,” “however,” “actually,” and “due to the fact.” Try to avoid transitions and dead words. Ask yourself, “is there a shorter way to phrase this idea?”
4) Stay specific
Define the “it” in your writing. Never assume readers know the “there” and “here,” the “who,” and “when.” These words shift the impact of your sentence further down the line. Edit for improved clarity and impact. Example: “There are some real estate professionals that appear to prefer mobile work environments.” Change to, “Real estate professionals prefer mobile work environments.”
5) Cut “out”
We once knew someone that would roll their eyes every time someone said the phrase, “speak out” because the word “out” is unnecessary. Watch for the word “out” and determine a better word exists. Example: instead of writing, “giving out,” say, “offering.” Don’t “get out the word,” but, “share the news.”
6) Use a professional tool
Run your blog through a professional tool that can identify obscure mistakes your keen eye may miss. Grammarly is a checker with a free and pro version that identifies common mistakes in agreement, spelling, repetitive words, and more. It’s available as a browser add-on that will check as you write or as an application for uploading documents. Grammarly will identify common errors you make and send a weekly report with notes. Grammarcheck.net runs a free web-based checker and offers “Deep Check” for a subscription service. Other grammar services: Ginger Grammar Checker, Reverso.net, and Grammarbase.com
If in doubt, have an extra set of eyes read your draft. Don’t take the suggestions personally; every writer has a unique style. The end goal is a professional blog that represents the best of your brand. Remember: if you do miss something, blogs are editable anytime! Revision is a small, but essential, part of publishing better blog content for your readers.