Chapter 5 - Editing

Cut, Cut, Cut Then Edit

What to Cut

Cutting is a major part of the editing process. As we previously discussed, content should always be direct and concise. Only relevant, valuable material should be included.

You want to remove all of the unnecessary elements of the content. Remove any blocks of text, sentences, phrases, and words that:

  1. Reiterate an idea that has already been stated
  2. Offer common knowledge or filler content
  3. Are unnecessary or irrelevant

Review these Tips for Eliminating Wordiness for specific ways to eliminate unnecessary words from your content.

What to Edit

You are responsible for creating content that will be sent directly to the client. It is imperative that you check all of the following editing guidelines before submitting:

Check the Requirements

  • Match the word count
  • Match any special client direction
  • Ensure proper use of all given fields
  • Match all linking requirements
  • Match all keyword requirements
  • Match all image requirements
    • Number of images
    • Proper citation
    • Correct quality, size and alignment

Improve the Content

  • Whenever possible, remove passive language
  • Maintain the same tense throughout the content
  • Shorten long run-on or complex sentences

Check the Formatting

  • Paragraphs are formatted with paragraph text
  • Subheadings are formatted with the proper heading hierarchy (starting with Heading 2)
  • All elements are separated by one space
  • All extra line breaks are removed (including at the end of the content)
  • Paragraphs are written as paragraphs, not with only one sentence per line.

Check the Mechanics

Make sure your content adheres to basic, general mechanics and English rules. Be mindful of the concepts that are frequently misused, including:

  • Spelling
  • Capitalization (of the title and subheadings)
  • Grammar
    • Correct subject-verb agreement
    • Modifying phrases properly refer back to the word they define
  • Punctuation
    • Incorporate proper comma use
    • Don’t separate a compound noun or verb with a comma
    • For help with comma usage, please refer to these quick comma rules

Print the CopyPress Writer Assignment/Editing Checklist

Tips for Catching Editing Mistakes

Take a Break Before the Final Read-Through – Before submitting a completed assignment, save it in a place outside of the CMS, such as a Word or Google doc. Take a break from the assignment for at least ten minutes. Return to the assignment and read through it one more time before submitting. You will likely catch mistakes that you didn’t notice before the break.

Get Automated Assistance – In addition to using the proofread check in the CMS, use online programs that will help catch errors in your content. Do not rely solely on the CMS proofread check to find all errors. While these programs aren’t always perfect, they may help you notice overlooked errors. Grammarly is a great automated proofreading program. Another great, simple way to double check work is pasting the content into word.