Late last year, we explored how to make copywriting for your hotel less difficult. Now I’m going to talk about the next most important stage: editing.
First thing’s first: I forbid you from editing straight away! Put that writing in a drawer and let it sit there for a few days. When you pull it out again, you’ll be able to look at it with completely fresh eyes. It’s amazing what you can spot doing this.
Next step: print it out. Jot down your knee-jerk reactions to things like your sentence structure, your tone and your word usage. Then do another sweep for minor things like grammatical errors.
Use the following checklist as a guide:
- Have I used subheadings and bullet points to break up the piece?
- Have I only used 2 or 3 sentences per paragraph so it’s easy for people to read?
- Is the tone consistent?
- Have I promised anything I can’t deliver?
- Repetition: Have I already mentioned this somewhere else? Have I used the same word to describe my hotel too many times?
- Redundancies: Have I fixed any redundant phrases? (The crossed out words should be deleted in these examples)
- Blend together
- Close proximity
- During the course of
- Each and every
- Eliminate entirely
- Empty out
- Enter in
- Exact same
- Final conclusion
- Fly through the air
- Future plans
- In order to
- Later time
- Orginally created
- Past experience
- Raise up
- Reply back
- Paragraph structure: Have I used a combination of short and long sentences to improve the rhythm of my writing?
- Run-on sentences: Are my sentences too long? Would it make more sense to break the sentence into individual sentences?
e.g. Sydney has spectacular stretches of coastline with fantastic beaches and sparkling water, beautiful parks and gardens, long stretches of seaside hikes and bike trails, iconic landmarks, notorious shipwrecks, great food and exhilarating sports and a thriving city centre.
- Word usage: Have I used the right word? (Take a look at our practical grammar guide for advice about incorrect word usage if you’re unsure).
e.g. their, there or they're
- Filler words: Have I removed words that sound uncertain or lazy, like ‘nearly’, ‘almost’, 'basically', 'very' 'a lot', 'seem', ‘really'? (Your writing will have more power without them).
- Consistency: Have I been consistent with my word usage? For example, have I used both ‘and’ and ‘&’ on the same page? (If so, pick one and stick to it).
- Clichés: Have I reworded any clichéd phrases like “at the end of the day”, “without a care in the world,” or “the time of your life”?
- Jargon: Are there any words or abbreviations in there that the average person might not understand?
e.g. Advance rates, OTA (Online Travel Agency), PPPN (Per Person, Per Night).
- Capital Letters: Have I capitalized the right words (names, places or brand names only)?
- Plurals: Am I using the right plural?
e.g. “As one of the city’s premiere accommodation options”, not “As one of the cities premiere accommodation options.”
- Tense: Is the tense consistent? Have I accidentally drifted from second person (you) to third person (they)?
- Passive voice: Are my sentences active?
e.g. Passive: "The bell was rung by the guest."
Active: "The guest rang the bell."
- Commas: Are there any unnecessary commas cluttering up my writing?
- Spelling: Have I checked my spelling with SpellChecker?
The final proofread
Once you’ve finished addressing these things, it’s important to do a final proofread before you hit publish. Why? Take a look at this:
Can Yuor Barin Raed Tihs?
The answer’s yes, right? It’s a proven fact that your eyes will automatically fill in gaps when you read content. It’s the reason you can’t always see glaring errors in your copy, even if you've read it several times.
I have three favorite proofreading tricks for getting around this:
- Reading the content backwards. It sounds silly, but it works. When you read it backwards, you brain has to work twice as hard to take in the words, which means you spot typos more easily.
- Reading the writing out loud. You tend to hear errors you can’t see. So read it aloud to yourself and listen out for awkward phrases or incomplete sentences. It often helps to have someone unfamiliar with it read it aloud for you, because they will pause in different places and stumble over phrases that sound perfectly normal to you.
- Making the work as unfamiliar as possible. Remember what I said about letting the copy sit? You can also print it out, or change the font, to make the writing look new to you. Different details will then stand out to you.