Content toolkit: Stylistic editing checklist

Content that looks and sounds just right

Stylistic editing ensures content looks and sounds the way it is supposed to. The company’s style, brand, voice, and tone guidelines all come into play, which can be challenging when there are hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of content on multiple channels.

By editing for style, you bring consistency of voice and tone, word choice, reading level, heading phrasing, and more to the copy. In most content teams, a style review occurs somewhere between substantive editing and the final copy editing pass.

Making all your content sound like it came from the same “master brain” can be tricky. But a checklist helps. Here’s a stylistic editing checklist you can use. Adopt it to fit your company style, or download the checklist and use it as is.

Download the Stylistic Editing Checklist (PDF)

  • Sentences are clear, concise, and convey meaning.
  • Word choice is simple, clear, and meaningful.
  • Transitions between sentences and paragraphs are smooth and coherent.
  • The length and structure of sentences and paragraphs adhere to best practices and requirements.
  • It is written at an appropriate reading level for the audience.
  • The active voice is used predominantly, and passive only used for specific purposes.
  • Engaging and consistent tone, style, and voice is used, and is reflective of the brand.
  • Copy is tight and concise, and all wordiness and redundancies are removed.
  • Lists, headings, table text, and other content elements are parallel where required.
  • Negative phrasing is replaced with affirmative phrasing unless there’s a good reason.
  • General and abstract words have been replaced with specific and concrete ones.
  • Ambiguities are removed.

Further reading

Content toolkit: A checklist to reduce and simplify your content

Content toolkit: Substantive editing checklist

How to design an effective content toolkit

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