Know your place – is this a critique or a re-write?

In the literary world, a novelist would have many eyes gaze across their manuscript such as their agent and their editor. We writers all have different styles of writing, some more “flowery” and descriptive whilst others may prefer to be more direct and ignore adjectives altogether.

Critiquing is useful in that someone can honestly telling you what they like and what they don’t like about your work. While we are talking about writing online content rather than the next best seller on Amazon’s book chart, the principles are still the same.

Whether you consider yourself a writer or someone who is pretending to be one for the greater good of your company’s website, it does help to know at what point does a critique move into an edit and whether you should pay attention to every suggestion.

If a friend or a colleague is doing you a favour by reading your work, you have to be careful that they don’t perform a full re-write! We all have our different styles so don’t let your confidence take a hit when someone rewrites your work.

Editing involves:

- Checking for any spelling mistakes, typos or grammar errors. They happen to all writers as you can be very excited about your work and tapping away on the keyboard without noticing that your fingers aren’t keeping up with your brain. A good spell checker will weed out the majority. Check out our blog on spelling in copywriting for more information.

- Telling you if you have strayed from your topic. When writing online content, you need to be strict with yourself and not explore other ideas at that point. You are not writing a dissertation which explores many ideas, you need to stick to one idea per page if you’re doing SEO copywriting.

- Pointing out unsuitable language. When you are immersed in an industry, it is easy to forget that not everyone instinctively knows what acronyms mean. This would also involve pointing out words that are too formal, technical or too informal which can affect the flow of your work.

- Telling you the truth… sometimes the brutal truth is that you have written something with very little worth salvaging and you need to start again. This usually happens when a writer isn’t clear about the structure and progression of their work. There is no shame in it, all writers go down the wrong path at some point, just hopefully not when a deadline is looming!

It can be hard accepting that your hard work isn’t always perfect first time but having someone who is willing and capable look at your work will ultimately make you a better writer. Your friend or colleague doesn’t need to be a super writer themselves but a second pair of eyes will help you view your copy more objectively.

Juno Copywriting Tip: use ‘Track Changes’ in Microsoft word when editing or critiquing. This gives you the opportunity to explain why you have suggested certain changes.

To find out more about how Juno Copywriting can improve your website, contact David Wiltshire on 0845 544 1764.

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