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How To Submit Articles: 4 Editing Tips For Clear, Concise and Action-Oriented Articles
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Recently we covered some proofreading tips, but did you know that proofreading is different from editing?

Even though we’ve covered the proofreading part first, it’s actually the editing that precedes the proofing.

With editing, you are working on re-writing and rearranging sentences and paragraphs. Proofreading is when you read over your nearly finished article to correct issues such as spelling and grammar.

If you think of writing articles like doing surgery, the editing is the part where the doctor is doing the “inside work”, whereas the proofreading is the part where he’s suturing things back up and making them neat and tidy on the outside.

How’s that for a graphic picture? :) Maybe it will help cement these two different processes in your mind.

You know what goes into proofreading, but what does editing involve? Here are 4 tips to help you create clear, concise and action oriented articles:

1 – Organize the information in your article into a logical order.

This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many articles lack a logical order. How you organize the information in your article plays a very large role in how easy your article is to understand. Paragraphs in your article have a definite order–you have your opening paragraph, your supporting paragraphs, and your concluding paragraph.

The sentences that make up each paragraph also have a logical sequence: There is the introductory sentence, the supporting sentences, and the concluding sentence.

When you’re writing a “How To” article, it’s crucial that the steps are arranged in a particular order. When you’re writing an article that is a collection of tips, the order of the tips is less important, but you may want to list your strongest tip first and your second strongest tip last.

Now, please don’t be intimidated by what I’ve just said or start worrying that your article needs to conform to a structure that’s set in concrete–it doesn’t. This issue of order may come quite naturally to you. You just need to keep in mind that your article is a collection of information that should have some sort of sequence. The ideas should build one upon the other, and ideally you will take some time to arrange your sentences and paragraphs to have a logical flow.

2 – Are you stating things as clearly as possible?

Complicated points are often aided by some sort of word picture, similar to the one I gave at the beginning of this post about the surgeon. Also, the words that you choose and the way that you say things also impact how clear you communicate a concept. Read through your article looking for issues of clarity–is there a better way that you could state things? Do you need to use a word picture to communicate some of the points in your article?

3 – Be active, rather than passive.

Most English teachers will tell you that a sentence that is active is stronger than one that is passive. When you state things using an active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the action. When you state things using a passive voice, the subject of the sentence is having something done to it. For example:

The boy rode his bike. (Active)

The bike was ridden by the boy. (Passive)

If you’re interested in writing articles with less of a passive voice, try this site: PolishMyWriting.com

While the site is not that great at pointing out grammar issues, it is pretty good at pointing out passive voice issues.

4 -Â Write in plain English.

You may be used to speaking with an elaborate vocabulary, or your niche may have some unique terminology that “outsiders” don’t understand. It may also be tempting to try to impress your readers with how smart you are by saying things in a complicated way.

But remember, the best articles are the ones that help people and are easy to understand. Try to keep your article free of industry jargon and words that most people aren’t familiar with. Â I’ve heard that most newspapers are written on a 4th grade reading level. It’s a good idea to take that “simpler is better” approach with your articles.

Conclusion

Your first draft is just the start of the article creation process. Each article that you write can benefit from an editing stage where you carefully arrange the information in your article so that it’s stated clearly, concisely, and in the strongest way possible.

Don’t worry that editing will take the personality out of your articles. In fact, you’ll find that your style shows more clearly when your article is well organized and simply stated.


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2 Responses to “How To Submit Articles: 4 Editing Tips For Clear, Concise and Action-Oriented Articles”

  1. Nicki says:

    The link to check passive voice is a good tip – that’s one I often have difficulty with.

  2. Very useful information for the article marketer and aspirant article marketer……. Please keep it up.

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