Why You Should Never Edit Your Own Writing
Now that marketers are bullish about content marketing, B2Bs need to pay attention to quality as never before. Quality writing requires quality editing, and quality editing can only be done by someone other than the writer. Here’s why.
Situation One. If you’re writing something, presumably you know what you’re talking about. However, what is clear in your head doesn’t always come out clearly in print — and since you know what you mean, it’s hard to judge whether you’re communicating clearly. An editor will immediately recognize muddled communication.
Situation Two. There are cases when the writer really doesn’t know what he’s talking about, believe it or not. As a writer, you’re not going to call yourself out for being full of it — but a hard-nosed editor won’t think twice about doing so. Tough editing makes for strong content.
Unsupported assertions undermine the content’s credibility. The first sentence of this post is a good example. If I had made the assertion about content marketing bullishness without linking to statistics that support it, why would you believe it? Editors will recognize what statements need to be supported, whereas writers are sometimes too close to the subject to see the need.
Many writers have a tough time proofreading their own copy; for instance, if you neglect to insert a comma when you’re writing, you’re apt to overlook it when you’re editing. Publishing grammatically correct content enhances credibility, and in the B2B marketplace, grammar is far too important to neglect. Business owners, director-level executives, engineers, and many other B2B audiences hold writers to high standards.
If your company doesn’t have a qualified editor on the payroll, there’s no reason to despair — the world is full of competent freelancers, including ones with solid experience in B2B copywriting. And, an editing service can be reliable and efficient whether it’s next door or 10,000 miles away. For a lot of B2Bs, copy editing is nowhere near a full time, staff position because the volume of writing is modest.
However, if the content marketing bulls are correct, the situation could change. First, firms may see greater value in publishing more content. Second, the quality bar may rise because a firm’s competitors start investing more seriously in their own content marketing efforts. Today is not the time to be going through the motions.