Having a suitable format for your article (using bold, headers, subtitles, bullet points) is necessary so your readers don’t get lost in-between paragraphs. We already discussed this point in “Tip #4 - Develop the article” from a previous post - “7 tips to start writing your technical blog post.”
But what about grammar? What about consistency? Sometimes we think we’re clear when we explain something because it makes sense in our heads. What if someone else reads the same text but understands it completely differently?
This post will give you my perspective on why having editors review your content is the best way to bullet-proof your articles from possible misunderstandings.
Create a review process for yourself
If you want to create quality content for your readers, you should have a review process in place.
For those of you who are software developers, you (should) probably have a Code Review process for when you create new code. You may create unit tests for your code or maybe some functional testing. Then your code is ready to be uploaded to a Pull Request, where a technical leader (or anyone else) will take a look at your code to make sure that you’re not making mistakes.
Why shouldn’t you be the one approving your own Pull Request? Because you may miss things that other people might notice. Well, the same thing happens when you create content.
It doesn’t have to be a long, bureaucratic process. You can at least use an external tool to correct the basic grammar, or you can share your document with another person before publishing to check that what you wrote makes sense to someone else. The best quality, though, comes from a professional editor.
Using an external tool to review your grammar is not 100% accurate
Using software to check your grammar doesn’t necessarily mean that the grammar will be perfect. Software makes mistakes! Grammarly, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word are great tools for editing, but they were programmed by humans (who also make mistakes).
I normally create all my posts in Google Docs and double-check that my writing’s basic syntax is correct. If I get a warning or an error there, it’s almost always giving me the right suggestion. But remember, although these tools are great places to start editing, they aren’t foolproof.
So, why should you consider consulting with a professional editor?
External software may show you the misspelled words or the grammatically correct way to write a sentence. But it won’t tell you when you’re using a word too often or when a sentence “sounds weird” in a casual setting.
Here are some of the advantages that I’ve experienced after working with editors for my content:
Spelling. Yes, the external software may get almost all of the misspelled words, but trust me, not all of them.
Over-using commas. It turns out that I use a lot of unnecessary commas when writing! None of those external tools have ever caught this.
Misused punctuation. I consider myself to have an excellent grasp on how to use almost all punctuation marks. Well, I definitely don’t know how to use all of them, and I get confused sometimes (do you know the difference between an em dash and a hyphen without googling? ‘Cause I certainly don’t).
Keeping consistency. Just the other day, I was writing a post and used “Google” every time I mentioned it…except once. Only one single time, I wrote “google,” and I didn’t notice (of course, my editor did!). Staying consistent throughout your article is important, so you don’t confuse your readers.
Using synonyms. Sometimes I think too fast, and I end up writing the same word 10 different times in the same paragraph. When you read that, it sounds way too repetitive! Well, your editor may know some synonyms to refer to the same thing without the paragraph sounding awkward.
Re-writing sentences. As a native Spanish speaker, my train of thought is normally in Spanish. There are some times when I think in English because I’m writing in English. But other times, I think first in Spanish, and then the translation is not as good as I had hoped for (like using Google Translate, LOL). Having an English-speaker editor helps a lot because the same sentence that makes sense to me (because it’s translated from Spanish) may sound weird to them, so they reformulate it.
My documents sometimes end up with more than 50 suggestions/comments from my editors! And there I was, thinking that what I wrote was perfect and understandable to everyone.
I hope this post was helpful to you. Of course, this is just my point of view on creating content, but I strongly recommend having someone else review your articles for higher quality posts. :)
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