Six Basic Editing Goofs To Avoid
Of 50 websites analyzed for my 8th annual B2B e-news study, many allow common goofs to get through. None of the sites I reviewed attained the target score of 80 (out of 100). And only five managed to surpass a score of 60. The performance of these sites could have been much improved by avoiding the following six basic editorial goofs:
- Forgetting about readability. Of the 500 articles, 192 burdened readers with long, wordy sentences. A refresher course in Fog Index principles would help.
- Using labels for captions. In captioning head shots, many editors simply use identification labels rather than using the opportunity for story telling. Instead of settling for someone’s name as a caption, provide instructive detail about the person pictured.
- Relying on the same pool of sources for all your stories. Overloaded with story assignments, besieged editors often resort to “old friends” for comments. As a result, all articles posted share many of the same overused sources.
- Omitting the news angle in personnel announcements. Most stories about new hires, promotions, and the like should be rewritten to reflect less personal background and more newsworthy value.
- Simply rewriting press releases. In many cases, extra digging can unearth superior information unavailable elsewhere.
- Writing the same stories as everyone else. Instead, aim for at least some stories based on your own original reporting. Of the sites I reviewed, only four reflected evidence of exceptional Enterprise Reporting Prominence (ERP).
As my e-news study shows, the huge majority of sites fall prey to these editorial shortcomings. That’s probably true for your e-news as well. If so, here’s the upside: by putting in a little extra effort to avoid these goofs, you can gain a substantial edge over your competition.
For more information about the results of the 8th Annual E-News Study, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.