This is the third post in a series designed to help you overcome challenges inherent in writing. While the focus of these posts is on marketing report writing, these techniques can be adapted to writing almost anything. To that end, some of what I say here may seem unorthodox in a professional setting, but I urge you to give it a try. See if you don’t notice a positive difference.
My previous two posts focused on setting up a map of topics for your marketing report writing (click here for more on creating and using an editorial calendar) and getting comfortable with creating a first draft without relying on your internal editor (click here for more on the exercise of simply writing).
Today, I’m going to focus on the value of working with an industry professional.
Utilizing a professional editor
At PortMA, we’re fortunate enough to work with a seasoned editor, someone who has ample experience not only with copy-editing, but has experience within the marketing industry. As a result, he can provide guidance about grammar and sentence structure as well as speak our marketing language.
This is important because we rarely, if ever, go back and forth on semantics. Instead, we continue to perfect the mechanics of our writing.
We work on improving the layout of our pages in PowerPoint reports. We get a double-check on whether our supporting points are positioned strongly enough to actually support our main points.
We reap the benefit of an objective party — someone who has expertise, but hasn’t been in the trenches of report writing with us, which is where you can lose focus.
Sometimes, after the third set of revisions, it’s possible to lose sight of a typo or a grammatically incorrect sentence that sounds correct because you’ve been staring at it for too long.
Having someone else read and review your work is a gift. It provides perspective and relieves a bit of pressure. While you remain ultimately responsible for your marketing report, you have a support system that can help improve your strengths, present solutions for your challenges and find and correct errors.
Learning from an editor and proofreading in-house
It should be stated that you don’t need to have access to a professional copy editor to achieve a lot of what I described here.
For example, having a colleague read your report can provide insight into what was easy to understand, what was confusing and what seemed flat-out wrong. It might feel odd to open yourself up to a critique of your work, but it’s a necessary step in the writing process.
So, the next time you are facing down a marketing report, ask yourself who can provide an objective perspective on your work. Actively seeking out open, honest feedback and incorporating that feedback will help you improve your skills as a writer.
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