When managed well, these documents are consistent throughout, but sometimes they read as if they are a collection of separate documents bound together as one.
There can be a lack of consistency in:
- writing style – from use of capitals to variations in the use of frequently used words and phrases
- tone – some writers sounding chatty while others sounding very formal
- corporate identity – conflicting descriptions of the business and its products and/or services
- layout – some authors using lots of bullet points and others writing very long paragraphs
Does consistency in writing matter?
It depends whether you want your business or organisation to appear as a unified team working together or as a collection of individuals who work in isolation.
Which do you think customers would prefer?
But the proofreader will knock it into shape
Can we? We can highlight inconsistencies and recommend changes, but sometimes the inconsistencies are so big and there are so many that whole pages or sections need rewriting. These are different tasks to proofreading and the document will need to be checked again once the text has been edited.
Sometimes these inconsistencies are discovered just as the document is about to go to print or be published and there is no time for a major rewrite.
Plan proofreading into production early on
This can be avoided by having the text proofread at an earlier stage or, even better, having a copywriter take all contributions and edit them into a single text that is consistent throughout.
Document writing problems and how to avoid them
Visit our copywritingresources.co.uk web site for more about how to prevent some of the problems that occur when a committee tries to write a document.
If you’re about to produce a document or have one that needs editing:
- pick up practical tips from our long document production prompt sheet at our editorialresources.co.uk web site
- call 0333 0444 354 or email if you need a proofreader or editor