Thursday, January 12, 2012

Higher Editing: Educate your content contributors

Getting tired of making the same editing corrections to the same colleague's work, over and over and over again? There is hope.

Yes, in the short run, it's easier to just fix things yourself or write a quick proofreading mark. But those microchanges add up over time, and constantly bleeding red ink over others' work won't exactly help your relationship for the long term. Address the core problems — not just the symptoms — to improve the work product and efficiency of your team:
  • Explain why you make your changes. Either through a written mark-up, email message or in person, it helps to coach content contributors on the reasons why you correct their work can help prevent them from making the same mistake in the future.
  • Build your institutional style guide. Setting ground rules for common style issues, such as campus abbreviations, titles and locations, is an important place to start building consistency and consensus among your institution's writers and editors. If you don't already have a style guide, start one. Members of the University and College Designers Association can access an index of style guides from around the country on their website, or a quick web search will yield dozens of examples.
  • Share resources. Read any great newsletter articles or blog posts lately on the issue at hand? Know of a helpful grammar or design resource? Forward these resources on to those peers who might benefit from them. Ragan Communications offers one of my favorite daily e-newsletters on all things PR, and many of their featured infographics are pinned to my office bulletin board. Feel free to add your recommendations to the comments section below.

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