Is your blog fit to print? Even if it never makes it to the printed page, the content on your blog should face the same level of scrutiny as the front page of your favorite newspaper. While many of us can’t afford the luxury of hiring a copyeditor to hover over our shoulder and play grammar police, there are still a few easy steps that you can take towards communicating clearly and getting rid of pesky mistakes that might be taking away from your message.
Form an Editorial Board
Peer editing can be an effective way of catching mistakes before they hit the web. Put together the best writers from your organization and set up a system where you verify each other’s work. You might want to pre-establish some boundaries to ensure that some editors don’t get overzealous.Assure everyone that the goal is always to preserve the original writer’s voice and intentions while making the overall message as clear as possible.
Create Style Sheets
Do you have a consistent way of writing numbers, creating bullet points or capitalizing special industry terms? Routine readers are sure to pick up on inconsistencies, so it’s not a bad idea to create a style sheet. You can also remove ambiguity from the equation this way and make sure multiple writers are all on the same page.
Keep Writing Resources at Hand
We all get stumped every so often, and that’s okay. No one can remember every instance of correct spelling, punctuation or grammar, so it’s best to always keep great writing resources handy. The Chicago Manual of Style is sometimes referred to as the bible of copyediting--and for good reason! There is a tremendous amount of information to be found here, from military abbreviations to the preferred way to write out dollar amounts.
Make a Cheat Sheet with Common Mistakes
Do you often forget the difference between “effect” and “affect”? How about “there,” “they’re” and “their”? The rules of the English language aren’t always straightforward, and for each one you memorize, there always seems to be an exception! Don’t get hung up on mistakes. Instead, learn from them! Keep a log of the words you misspell, the commas you misplace and other repeat offenses and you’re guaranteed to start seeing less of them as your writing moves forward.
The best part about blogging? You can always log back in, change a typo and hit update! Still, anything that represents your brand should also represent your hard work, knowhow and attention to detail, so before you hit publish, get down to the nitty gritty details and make sure that they’re adding up to a big picture worthy of your efforts.