Editing content can be time-consuming, but it is an important part of the writing process. Use these tips to learn how to edit any piece of content your agency creates.
Editing content is time-consuming, but it’s an integral part of writing. When you understand editing, you will be able to produce high-quality content. A lack of understanding decreases client trust in your brand because your content will lack cohesiveness and clarity.
Here is how to edit any in-depth content your agency produces.
Do a developmental edit and write your content
When you first sit down in front of your notebook or your computer screen, do not expect to write your content perfectly. Do what is called a developmental edit, where you outline what you want to write, set it into a logical flow, and then write your content. Do not worry about grammar, spelling, or even punctuation at this stage.
Set your writing aside and do a content edit
Set your writing aside and come back to it later, whether for a few hours or a full day. This gives you time to look at your writing with fresh eyes.
After you’ve set aside your writing, do a content edit, where you assess the big picture and see if the tone (emotional context) fits your intended audience and the voice (personality of a piece of content) sounds like you. During this content edit, you’ll also see if the content sections and paragraphs flow smoothly.
Do a structural edit
A structural edit, or line edit, is evaluating your content, line by line. Structural edits take the longest, so give yourself enough time. This could be from one hour for a blog to three hours for a whitepaper. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your writing logically flow from one sentence to the next?
- Did you use any run-on sentences or fragments?
- Did you repeat any words, phrases, or main ideas?
- Did you define complex words and give examples to clarify complex ideas?
Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors
Sending out writing riddled with grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors is not something anyone wants to do. The time has come to do a copy edit, where you look at grammar, spelling, and punctuation closely. Use a grammar and spellcheck tool, such as Grammarly or any other option available online (Google the terms “grammar check tools” and “spellcheck tools”). Nearly all these tools have free and paid options.
However, don’t wholly trust the grammar and spellcheck tools to catch everything. Once you’ve run your content through a grammar and spellcheck tool, go over it again to catch any misspelled words, missed punctuation, or other grammar issues.
Finalize the formatting and publish
No matter what kind of content you write, you don’t want it to be only a big text block on the page. You want it to be easy to read and scan. Consider:
- Using headings to break up text and help main points stand out
- Including internal links (links to other pages on your site) and external links (links to other sites) to offer more information on topics
- Adding valuable and intentional images and infographics
- Using bullet points, numbered lists, and charts to help break up long, complex ideas
- Adding a CTA (call to action) to let your reader know what you want them to do next (e.g., “download this ebook”)
Tip: Use Microsoft Word’s “read aloud” function (under the “Review” tab) or a site like Natural Readers to hear how your content sounds. Hearing your content read back to you aloud is one of the best tools to catch grammar, spelling, and formatting mistakes.
Finally, reread your writing once you’ve done all your editing and formatting. Run it through a final grammar and spellcheck and have someone else read it to get a fresh perspective. Once your content is of excellent quality, it’s time to publish it on your site or platform of choice.