Published By:

Well, yes. You should.

If you don’t already recognize the importance of quality writing, if you believe that as long as your readers know what you mean, it’s good enough — heck, if you believe in “good enough” — then you’re so far off the mark already that there isn’t much I can do to help you. You don’t need someone to fix your writing; you need to someone to fix your outlook.

The rest of you, though, want your blog posts to be as well written and as error-free as possible. You might even have actively searched for help to improve your writing and editing. A quick Google search for “editing tips” yields a great many results, but most of them give the same suggestions: Have someone else read it. Read it out loud. Read it backward. Print it out and read it. And on and on.

That’s not editing

Truth be told, though, many of those supposed editing tips aren’t editing tips at all; they’re proofreading tips. They can help you find errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation, but they will do little to help you craft high-quality prose.

Proofreading focuses on the obvious, bona fide errors, like typos, subject-verb disagreement and double spaces after periods. Proofreading is like washing a car. A car wash gets a lot of dirt off, but no amount of cleaning will turn your ’74 VW Beetle into a new Ford GT; proofreading will get the obvious bits of dirty wrongness out of your posts, but no amount of proofreading will turn your boring white paper into White Fang.

If proofreading is like car washing, then writing and editing are like designing and building the car. The science of aerodynamics and the internal combustion engine (think grammar and syntax) are fixed, but that still leaves a lot of room for creativity and innovation.

This is editing

William Zinsser writes in On Writing Well, “Rewriting is where the game is won or lost; rewriting is the essence of writing.” Rewriting is just another word for editing. The acts of writing and editing are inextricably linked — and if you’re writing a blog solo, you have to do both. However, you might be well-served to hold off editing until you finish your first draft. As James Thurber tells us, “Don’t get it right, just get it written.” Or, to quote Ernest Hemingway, “Write drunk; edit sober.”

Editing is both an art and a science. It’s less about finding errors in grammar and more about finding errors in judgment. When you’re editing, you look at the big picture (developmental editing) as well as the details (copy editing) and try to build the best post you can.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting some concrete editorial steps you can take to raise the quality of your writing. I will, in short, teach you how to edit better.

Editorial perfection

There is a dark side to editing (and writing about editing) that we wordsmiths don’t usually like to talk about. It goes by various names: McKean’s Law, Skitt’s Law, Hartman’s Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation, The Iron Law of Nitpicking. I prefer the more self-referential Muphry’s Law — and no, I didn’t misspell that. Muphry’s Law states that any written material that talks about or criticizes editing or proofreading will contain some sort of editorial error.

This law simply sets into words what we all already know: Even in the world of professional editing, nobody’s prefect.

Image credits: and


Sponsored Resources

Want more resources

View all Resources

Most Read


Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO & DK New Media
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel
Dan Fahrner Director of Marketing Services SmallBox
Asaf Rothem Marketing VP & Partner BrightInfo
Jonha Richman User Acquisition Manager

In case you missed

Read more of the latest news and insights from thought leaders in content promotion and distribution.


Get the latest content promotion news and insights everyday.

Champion Sponsor

Relevance is proud to present our Champion Sponsor that helps make our site possible.

Cision Logo

© 2017 Relevance | Content Promotion News & Insights

Connect with RELEVANCE

Thank you for subscribing Your subscription has been confirmed.