Tag: Melbourne proofreading and editing

Here’s a story one of my favourite clients wrote about me recently. Kath is an award-winning business journalist who has turned her hand to content marketing. Enjoy!

The hidden hand behind my writing

By Kath Walters

Behind everything I write is a hidden hand – that of my editor, Jaclyn McRae. Everything I write, I send to Jac before I unleash it on the world. Why? Because distributing content with mistakes – even small ones – damages my brand.

The editor (also called subeditor or copyeditor) is every content marketer’s friend. She will proofread your content for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, question any words or phrases that don’t make sense, and even check the basic facts.

As my first reader, it’s her job to challenge me if I am not making sense.

Jac loves editing. Early on, as a journalist on a country paper, she and her fellow journos edited each other’s work. While worksmithing is fun for her, Jac feels a special thrill when editing.

“I love reading,” she says. “I especially love the idea of reading for a job, and I like being able to help out in a story. The best editing is when a writer doesn’t even know the editor has been involved. It might be filling in a gap in the story, rearranging the order of things to achieve a better flow, fixing the spelling of a person’s name or adding a relevant link to a statistic or piece of research.”

If you haven’t got an editor working with you on blogging and content marketing, you are putting your brand at risk. You are also missing out on reaching your full potential as a writer.

I asked Jac to reveal some of the principles that guide her day-to-day work. Here’s the inside story:

Switch

Make your writing as punchy as possible by switching to active voice. Passive voice is usually characterised by ‘ing’ words: “Savvy business owners ought to be asking themselves the question..”  For shorter, sharper sentences, switch to “Savvy business owners must ask …”

Capture

Quickly capture people’s attention with a great heading and opening. Not sure how to start? Imagine you’re gossiping with friends. How would you quickly explain the topic to get their attention?

Detangle

Readers’ eyes glaze over when they see jargon. Use plain English and don’t get tangled up in mundane details. If a quote is boring, paraphrase it (accurately!)

Catch

It’s hard to proofread our own work – even as a subeditor or long-time writer – because our eyes tend to see what we intended to write, rather than what we did write. Before publishing a blog post or LinkedIn article, get someone to read it first. A fresh set of eyes will catch mistakes before a wider audience sees it.

Delete

Here’s a list of words you can usually delete – they rarely add anything to a story:

·      a number of (instead, say how many)

·      both

·      very (taking it out won’t change the meaning of your sentence)

·      actually

·      currently

·      in my opinion (it’s an opinion piece!)

Thanks, Jac!

See more of Kath’s work on her website, which is packed with excellent tips and practical advice. 

I came across this gem on social media today. The mystery editor missed a few mistakes (bedroom is one word, built-in needs to be hyphenated, for example) but their efforts have drawn attention to the declining standard of advertising signage around Melbourne.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 1.59.47 pm

Here’s a more minor, but increasingly common one: unnecessary use of capital letters.

This example’s courtesy of ANZ (coincidentally, one of my clients). There’s no need for ‘bank’ to be capitalised in this instance (or many others, unless it refers to the name of a company).

IMG_7587

Then there’s my local fish and chip shop, which boasts about its owners being from long line of “fisherman”. Not just written in chalk on a sandwich board, mind you. The typo is emblazoned on numerous beautifully-designed, glass-framed advertising signs displayed at the shop, and throughout a nearby shopping centre.

These are minor issues – but they’re also simple to fix. The best communications stand out for the message they convey, rather than the way they’re written.

Interested to know what type of editing, proofreading and communications services I offer? Take a look at my 2015 service list.

Jaclyn McRae Media 2015 Service List

Contact Jaclyn

Need my help on a project? Call me on 0438 921 019, or drop me a line below.

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