Every time a product leaves its manufacturing factory, its makers give it some final touches. They wrap it up properly, add their signature to it, and may even include a hand-written note to the customer. Something similar happens in an employee’s lab.
While every person may have a different process planned for their professional projects, here are seven questions I ask myself as a writer before turning in a project:
1. Does it align with the brief?
The brief is a project’s heart and soul. It’s the perfect cake’s recipe. Any missed or misunderstood step(s) can jeopardize the entire project, trapping it into rounds of edits. The document needs to be revisited through various stages of the writing process, including the pre-drafting, drafting, writing as well editing stages. But the last visit before project submission is crucial to ensure that everything in the project aligns with the brief’s requirements.
2. Is the content valuable enough for the audience?
In her book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Ann Handley points out, “Assume the reader knows nothing. But don't assume the reader is stupid.” This means that everything that you write should please the reader. Therefore, a crucial aspect of polishing a project is ensuring that every word in it drips value. There should be no room for fluff or repetition.
3. Does it satisfy me?
Brilliance and perfection are indefinite pointers. Hard to define, and, therefore, hard to measure. That’s why I’ve favored the term, ‘satisfy’ over here. Every content piece that is created on my laptop has to be satisfactory. I ask myself if it is worth seeing the light of the day? Is it more than just a rough blend of words?
4. Is the content easy to read for the reader?
If you’ve ever come across a wall of words, you’d know how hard it is to navigate through it. It resembles a whirlwind of sentences with words slapping your eyes from every corner. You, as a reader, would either bounce back from the piece the moment your eyes land on it. Or, you may try to work your way through it, only to give up somewhere in the middle.
Naturally, readability is one of the things that I take into account as I turn in a project – does it look presentable enough? Is it easy on the eyes? Making content scannable for readers is the reason new paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings are a writer’s best buddies.
5. Is it purged of typos?
On their website, TightsPlease.co.uk noted that they had spelled ‘tights’ as ‘tihgts.’ The nasty, little typo was leaking so much of the business’s money that once fixed, conversion rates spiked by 80%. Research confirms that typos can significantly dissolve credibility. Now that’s something that’s not profitable for any business. Therefore, ensuring that a piece is free from the curse of typos is a must.
6. Does it clear through all the counters of authoritative content?
Lastly, I pass the content through various clearance laps just as you have to clear your luggage through multiple checkpoints at the airport. To this end, I cross out pointers from my checklist. Some of these include: is the piece backed by solid data? Does it lean on relevant examples? Does a case study make it look sober? Is it hyperlinked to credible sources? All these factors make sure that the content is wrung enough to squeeze out any amateur vibes.