You’ve just read the first draft of a press release and you can already see where you want to make a few edits. The lede needs more punch. Your audience might not recognize that industry-specific term. You’ve noticed that your third paragraph fell victim to the passive voice. Once you fix those, you start to see other problems—and pretty soon you’re agonizing over relatively inconsequential issues, like whether to use an em-dash or a semicolon to join a pair of sentences.

According to Dave Fleet, this dogged pursuit of perfection can become counterproductive. “With each subsequent round of editing,” he notes, “the return on your time investment will likely get incrementally smaller. At some point you need to make the call to stop; to accept that it’s just not worth making more edits.”

So how can you tell when enough is enough? Fleet offers this checklist:

  • Your copy starts to resemble earlier versions.
  • It seems like someone’s been using a thesaurus.
  • You’re fine-tuning minor wording deep in the text.
  • A rising word count includes new material of questionable relevance.

Whether you’re working alone or with a team, it’s important to recognize when changes are being made for the sake of change. If further edits don’t improve the press release, says Fleet, “It might be time to put the writing to bed and move on.”

Source: Dave Fleet.