Credible Writing through Self-editing: 7 Tips for Improving the Quality of the Work you Send Out

How do most of your potential clients (or customers or agents) find out about you? If you are like most of us, most people first meet you through your writing-your brochures, your newsletter articles, your website, even your emails. Most of the time, you make your first impression through your writing.

Because there are some clients or customers you might never meet, your credibility depends largely on what you say and how you say it. Here are 7 tips for making your writing reflect the best you.

Self-edit your emails: After writing anything, even a “quick” email, re-read it before clicking the “Send” button. You will be surprised at what you catch the second time through.

Grammar counts even in instant messaging: Just because it’s “only” an IM chat doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. I have seen very competent writers neglect capitals and all punctuation just because they are writing an email or IM.

For anything that requires a little more thought, including important client emails, save it for a few hours or overnight, and re-read it again before sending. You may not have noticed that it doesn’t say exactly what you meant to say until you look at it with fresh eyes.

Read it out loud. Your ear will catch even more errors than your eyes will.

For every article or proposal, have someone else read it and give you their comments. Something that is obvious to you may not be so clear to someone else.

Hire an editor for those really important proposals or articles. Often, professional editing will take no more than an hour or two for the editor, and the price will be well worth it when you land that contract or get that book deal.

If you have something important to write, but you just don’t like writing or it’s just too important to take chances with, hire a writer. In many cases, this will only be a couple of hours work-not expensive-but well worth it in terms of your image.

Put your best foot forward by putting a little more time and attention into what you write. Looking good in print is just as important as having a good haircut or dressing well.

Anita Flegg is a writer and editor and she is the author of Hypoglycemia: The Other Sugar Disease, 2nd edition.