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Editing Tips to Level Up Your Blog Writing

Editing Tips to Level Up Your Blog Writing

Cut out the italicized words and phrases in the following paragraph!:

Do you ever sit quietly and wonder how the most successful bloggers seem to effortlessly generate never-ending engagement? Maybe you assume they are all just extremely gifted in the wordsmithing realm. If you do, you’re right, but only in part. Blogging success is credited to much more than just knowing how to write. Here’s what you can’t always see from the surface, as a reader of the final product, and how to transform your blog into an engagement magnet. Read on to learn more about some of the best editing tips that are going to power your blog posts.

This Is the Secret to a Successful Blog

Do not, for one moment, believe that editing is just proofreading for grammar and spelling. If you do, you’ll miss out on the entire spectrum of color that your writing can portray. In truth, editing is mostly about removing the unnecessary fluff surrounding your message. Believe that you don’t have fluff? Think again.

A seasoned editor will remove up to 25% of a manuscript before sending it to be published. Blogging is no different; the secret to blogging success lies in the editing process.

Where Can You Find a Blog Editor?

Hiring an editor for your blog could end up being the best decision you’ve ever made. Before you can, you have to know where to look. Here’s where blog editors can be found.

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  • Local Classifieds – do a local search on Google or check out Craigslist.
  • Freelance Websites – have you ever hired on Upwork, or Digiserved?
  • Fiverr – you’d be amazed what you can get for $5.
  • Writing Service — you can use the help of professional writers to do the editing for your blog.

Don’t Want to Hire an Editor?

You may want to make your blog edits yourself, rather than outsource to someone else. That’s great. Aside from proofreading for grammar and spelling, you need to learn some intermediate editing tips. Get started with these.

Tip No. 1: Remove unnecessary “padding” from your posts

A grammar expletive is any phrase that begins with it is, it was, it won’t, it takes, here is, there is, or there will be. Expletives do nothing besides pad your article, so toss these elements first.

Examples: (cut out the words in italics)
1. There are several tactics to ensure that your blog is well-written.
2. When writing a blog, you can start to create more engaging posts with powerful edits and hacks.

Tip No. 2: Use powerful verbs

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Using weak verbs can hinder the delivery of your message. You spot a weak verb by the momentary impact… Rather than “seemingly executing” the action, “execute” the action.

Examples:
1. He Writes. instead of  He is writing.
2. She thinks highly of herself. instead of  She seems to think highly of herself.
3. They stay home. instead of  They never go anywhere that could be considered worthwhile.
4. He chose the best option. instead of  He had several options before he settled on this one.

Tip No. 3: Remove weak adjectives

To spot weak adjectives, look for the words “really” and “very” – this is where they often hang out (really tired, very cold). Rather than using a weak adjective, replace it with a more powerful synonym.

Examples:
1. …scorching instead of …hot.
2. …chilly. instead of …cold.
3. …emerald. instead of …green.
4. …at snail speed. instead of …slow.

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Tip No. 4: Scour your sentences for flab

Cutting out the excess will serve you as well as these other tips. Your readers have a short attention span, so don’t give them more than they need. Scour your sentences for flab (unnecessary verbiage) and remove it.

Examples: (cut out the words in italics)
1. Well, the truth of the situation is
2. Each individual… Everyone…
3. …what it is that makes…

Tip No. 5: Nothing is really, very, or extremely anything

Though you may want to enhance a descriptive word by making it really red, very emotional, or extremely hard, don’t. Instead of enhancing a word by supplementing one of the crutches above, switch it out for a more impactful word or simply remove the crutch word.

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Examples: (cut out the words in italics)
1. Thursday’s homework was extremely difficult.
2. They really wanted to make the deadline.
3. So many people want to know.

Conclusion

Following these editing tips will power your blog posts. Before you hit the publish button, make sure your editor does their magic, or you take these steps:

1. Remove expletives that provide unnecessary padding.
2. Ensure the use of powerful verbs.
3. Replace weak adjectives with impactful synonyms.
4. Remove unnecessary verbiage.
5. Delete the words “very,” “extremely,” and “really” where they aren’t necessary.

Following these steps will improve the readability of your posts. Try them out now, and experience the difference.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2020

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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