There is a quote by Truman Capote — who you may know for his novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s — that says, “I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” Even as someone who writes often and for my job, I didn’t always understand this… at least not until later on. I thought, how can anything be more important than the actual writing.
Writing is extremely important, no argument there, but what Capote was saying is that editing is what really makes a piece of writing. At Cosmitto, I found this to be true as well.
Working in digital marketing, you must be able to not only write well but also be a master of editing.
Depending on what type of writing you are doing, the voice and tone are often two of the first things you must get right — and it’s a process. The tone you would use for one client isn’t “one-size-fits-all.” For example, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to use a casual and personal voice for a statement from a pharmaceutical company, and you wouldn’t use niche business jargon when your audience is young consumers.
The tone and message of your writing must fit with the voice of the person, brand, and company. Making sure you can edit effectively to emulate this tone based on their preferences for style, punctuation, and word choice is critical.
Oftentimes, the copy in digital marketing affects a brand or individual’s image online. Making sure the message is clearly delivered and free of typos is paramount, but it goes beyond just checking for spelling mistakes. The text becomes an extension of the brand.
Editing becomes a filter and a way to ensure the message is received with the intention set by the brand. Catching inconsistent wording, unaligned voice and tone, and, yes, even small mistakes can make all the difference in maintaining trust with your audience.
At Cosmitto, a piece of writing often sees many sets of eyes before landing in its final form. That means that receiving many suggestions is typically a good thing, so don’t worry if you see your piece marked up — it’s a part of the process.
Stephen King famously said, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” He knew that editing is as much of a process — if not more — than the initial writing itself. My advice? Try and embrace editing as King does.
In digital marketing, editing is much more than proofreading. To edit successfully, it’s important to not get too attached to the words in a first draft, because they’re not set in stone. Next time you think a piece is done, sit down with an editor, take out your “scissors” — as Capote said — and see what you can chop.