by Karin Beery

As professional editors, we know that each level of editing requires a special skill set. The same is true for editing fiction or nonfiction; what works in a novel won’t necessarily work in a Bible study. The same is also true for business or promotional material. With many authors self-publishing, why not tune up your copy editing (not copyediting) skills?

With the affordability and ease of websites like Vistaprint, Canva, and other design sites, many authors and business owners are writing and producing their own business copy and materials. Being able to edit that content allows you to provide yet another service to your clients.

Here are five tips for editing promotional content:

  1. Find the hook. Just like books and articles, you want to start the promotional material with a hook. Don’t open with the date and time of an event; if the reader has a conflict on that day, she’ll toss the material without reading it. If, however, you hook her with the promise of learning the secret to making $100,000 in one year, she might consider changing her schedule.
  2. Focus on the audience. Promotional material isn’t really about the services or products a person can provide; it’s about how those services and products will make the reader’s life better. Talk about how the reader’s life will be easier, not about the company/author.
  3. Remember the Ws. Who, what, where, when, why, and how. You’d be surprised by how many people send out material without a date, time, or location.
  4. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, silly. Promotional material is short. Businesses/authors will often try to cram in as many details as possible. Don’t. Provide just enough information to pique a person’s interest. Then, if they want to know more, they can call or email with questions.
  5. Include the call to action. Including the date and time of an event isn’t enough. Make sure your client includes a call to action—Join me Friday! Stop in for a free consult! Call us today!—and make sure the invitation is clear.

Whether you’re helping an author promote a book signing or reviewing blog posts for the local chamber of commerce, knowing these copy writing techniques will help you edit it into clear, concise copy that will grab the reader’s attention.

Owner of Write Now Editing, Karin Beery also writes contemporary fiction with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing or editing, she teaches Substantive Editing for Fiction and Romance Editing through the PEN Institute, as well as serving as Managing Editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website