Make your voice heard
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You may have carefully crafted your messages and completed the first draft of your blog, newsletter or new web content, but you know deep down some refinement is necessary before you publish it.

How many times have you hit ‘send’ or ‘publish’ on a piece of written communication, only to find as soon as it’s live, there’s a glaring typo or grammatical blunder?

To project a professional, credible image, it is vital your written communication is polished.

And the only way to achieve this is by editing and then proofreading your work. It isn’t a five-minute process, but if you’ve ever had that sinking feeling when you re-read your published work, you know the investment in time is worth it.

One of the most effective ways to ensure a polished product is to edit it on several levels, focusing on a separate element each time – and not only on the typing and grammar.

Firstly, what are you actually writing about? Is all of the information you’ve included relevant to your audience and your overall writing goal? Will your audience read on?

Secondly, is your information accurate, and are your claims consistent?

And have you cut through the fluff so your key messages stand out?

Are your paragraphs in a logical sequence, and have you made clear transitions between them?

Does each paragraph stick to one main idea? This keeps your message clear and your reader engaged.

Have you defined any terms that might be unclear to your reader? Does each sentence make sense? And have you chosen the best words to express your ideas?

Try to avoid using words you find in the thesaurus that aren’t part of your normal vocabulary – you could misuse them, or you may just confuse your readers. 

Grammatical errors can undermine your message and your credibility.

The use of correct grammar is important in projecting a professional image, but if it isn’t your strength, save the punctuation, spelling and grammar until you have addressed your other editing goals and finalised the content. Then question each punctuation mark. Ensure each sentence reads smoothly. If a sentence is complex, consider splitting it in two, or using a semicolon to break it up.

And finally, use a dictionary if you are unsure whether a word fits correctly. If you’re still unsure, get a second opinion.

Once you’re completely satisfied with your content, a final proofread is vital.

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