Editing Tips to Improve Your Business Writing

Editing Tips to Improve Your Business Writing

Editing is an essential step in developing effective business documents. Besides correcting grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors, editing can make your writing easier to understand and more persuasive. Here are a few simple editing tips that can help you make your business writing more clear and effective.

1. Replace complicated and long words and phrases with simple ones. Simple words often convey the same meaning as complicated ones, but require less space and are easier to read. For example, you can change ‘facilitate’ to ‘help’; ‘operate’ to ‘use’; and ‘substantiate’ to ‘prove’. Replacing wordy phrases with single words will make your writing more readable and efficient. For instance, replace ‘on a regular basis’ with ‘regularly’ and ‘at this point in time’ with ‘now’.

2. Edit your business writing to replace passive voice with active voice. For example, change ‘Innovative products and services are offered by our company’ to ‘Our company offers innovative products and services’. Using active voice requires fewer words and is more direct.

3. Break up long sentences into shorter ones. Research has shown that comprehension goes down when sentences are too long, so aim for an average sentence length of 20 words or fewer. Sentences over 35 words in length should be broken into two sentences, if possible, when editing.

4. Create a conversational tone by using the personal pronouns ‘you’ and ‘we’. This is important when you want to connect with your customers and be perceived as approachable. For example, change ‘Advice can be obtained from our customer service department’ to ‘You can get advice from our customer service department’.

When editing business writing that is meant to persuade your readers, change ‘our clients’ to ‘you’. For example, ‘We offer you a comprehensive range of programs and services’ sounds conversational, while ‘We offer our clients a comprehensive range of programs and services’ does not.

Another way to make your writing more conversational and friendly is by writing ‘we’ instead of repeating your company name throughout the document.

5. Remove clichés. These overused phrases have lost their meanings and waste space. Examples of common clichés include phrases such as ‘at the end of the day’, ‘for all intents and purposes’ and ‘as safe as houses’.

6. Avoid using business and technical jargon. Like clichés, many of these terms are overused and have vague meanings. Corporate jargon includes words such as actionable, best practice, buy-in, drive (as in ‘drive sales’), incentivise, operationalise, repurpose and value proposition. When editing, think about your readers and replace words they won’t understand with common terms.

7. Read the first draft out loud to judge how it sounds. Is it complicated, wordy or pompous? Rewrite it to make it more human and less robotic.

Editing is an important step in business writing. By applying the editing tips outlined here, you can improve your business writing and communicate more effectively.

Copywriting Basics — Use Simple Words

Copywriting Basics ─ Use Simple Words


One of the first rules of copywriting is to keep it simple. When copywriting for any format you need to keep in mind that people don’t like reading long or complicated copy.


Have you ever looked at a brochure, website or letter with too much text? Most likely, you put it down without reading it. Poor copywriting is to blame. You’ve probably received eight-page sales letters in the mail or been on a website where you have to continue scrolling to get through it. With so much information out there, it’s easy to stop reading when the copy is so lengthy.


Simple and Effective Copywriting Requires Time and Effort


When copywriting, it takes time and effort to put more effort to produce simple and effective copy. Mark Twain summarised this well when he wrote, “I am sorry this is such a long letter, but I did not have the time to write a short one.” He wasn’t referring to copywriting per se, but his statement still applies.


A basic copywriting tip – use simple words


One of the most basic tips to reduce the length of your copywriting is to use simple words. Copywriting that includes simple words takes up less space and is easier to read.


Here are some ideas of how you can use simple words to improve your copywriting.


                        Instead of:                            Use:

                        accomplish                            do

                        ascertain                                find out

                        disseminate                           send out, distribute

                        endeavour                              try

                        expedite                                 hasten, speed up

                        facilitate                                  make easier, help

                        locality                                    place

                        optimum                                 best, greatest, most

                        utilise                                      use


You can see that simple words convey the same idea with fewer letters. If you apply this idea to your copywriting project, your copy will be much easier to read and take up less space on the page. It’s more inviting to readers, so there’s a better chance your copy will be read.


You can apply this concept to wordy phrases by replacing them with single words.


Instead of:                            Use:

                        with regard to                        about

                        by means of                           by

                        in the event that                      if

                        until such time                        until

                        during such time                    during

                        subsequent to                        after

                        it would appear that               apparently

                        adequate number of              enough


You can improve your copywriting if you follow the suggestions to use simple words and replace phrases with single words.


After you have completed a first draft of your copywriting project, go back and edit what you have written. Replace complicated words with simple ones (a thesaurus is a helpful tool for this) and replace phrases with single words when possible.

Although we’re specifically looking at copywriting here, applying the concept of simplicity will improve any type of writing.