5 Simple Ways to Critique Your Content

2nd May 2017


When it comes to writing great content, less is often more. The skill of good writing is to say a lot with few words.

The first draft of any writing is supposed to be bad.

You are only writing it for yourself and getting it out of your brain at this point. The real writing, happens in the rewrite.

1. Spelling and grammar check
It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how much content is out there, littered with mistakes.

The temptation when we write content is to rush it and get it done. But content littered with typos, spelling and grammar mistakes looks unprofessional. The subliminal message you are sending out to potential customers is that you are careless, therefore you will be careless with them and their money.

Once you’ve drafted your piece, give it a once through read to check for obvious mistakes. Make sure you have your spell check enabled and look for the red squiggles! Then…

2. Let it rest
…Now, walk away for a while. Don’t be tempted to publish immediately. Take a break. Make a coffee. Take the dog for a walk. Stop for lunch. Step away from your writing for an hour and re read it. Then do another read through.

Our brain reads what it thinks it’s written, it needs some time to reset

3. Get someone else to read it.
Ask a colleague to read through it. They often spot mistakes we didn’t realise we’d made.

We all make mistakes in our grammar, spelling and sentence structure. We form bad habits and repeat the same mistakes without realising. Sometimes we need someone else to point it out.

Come along to this workshop to get independent eyes on your work.

Lose the jargon and acronyms
All industries use their own jargon. Those plasticy business words that don’t make sense to anyone outside that bubble and those abbreviations we’re used to hearing.

When we’re passionate about a subject it’s easy to get carried away and say too much or to assume that everyone knows what we’re talking about.

It’s always safer to assume no prior knowledge of jargon and acronyms when writing in a public forum. You can explain things without being patronising to those who have some prior knowledge, and at the same time make it understandable for everyone else. If you must use acronyms, put the definition in brackets next to the first instance of those initials, i.e.: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

An independent eye can quickly spot the things that don’t make sense to them.

Cut the clutter
When we talk, we use extra words, when we write, we don’t need to do this. There are several common words we use all the time that are superfluous. Do a ‘find’ on the draft piece for each of these words and consider either deleting or replacing them. You can find a complete list of these words on this blog post: Editing Tips, An Update

For more tips and to get some actionable critique on your work, bring 500 words to the ‘Content Clinic’ workshop



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