In a perfect world, we’d have an editor/proofreader at our beck and call to review all our content before it publishes.
I can hear you laughing!
And I know well that most of us have neither the funds nor the time built into our content creation schedules to benefit from the finishing touches a great editor can provide.
The reality is that many of us have to edit our own content.
This may seem like an impossible task, but in this section, I’m going to share a few techniques that will make it doable.
Build Time into Your Content Creation Schedule
Ideally, you’re creating your content over several days like I outlined in my book, Master Content Marketing. It’s so much easier (and less stressful) when you don’t try to squeeze all these steps into one marathon content creation session!
And editing is much easier, as we’ll see.
Here’s how I recommend you build time into your content creation schedule:
Day 1: Build Your Article Backbone
Write a working headline and three to six subheads you’ll use to move readers through your information. Then walk away and let your content topic “marinate” while you go about your day.
Day 2: Fill in the Details
Drink some extra coffee or tea on Day 2, because this is the day you’ll take the basic strucure you created above and write a first draft of your main content.
Write an introduction, fill in under each subhead, write a short summary to wrap things up, and remember to include a call to action, even if it’s just “Share your comment below.”
Day 3: Polish and Prepare to Publish
Day 4: Publish, Promote, and Propagate
Give your post the best chance to be found by devoting lots of time on the day it publishes to spread the word on social media, in your email marketing — and when you’ve written an especially strong piece — to other site owners.
What If You Have to Write and Publish on the Same Day?
In some cases, you may need to fit the steps into a single day — deadlines loom, and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
In that case, be sure to take a break and step away from your keyboard in between step 2 — writing your main copy, and step 3 — polishing the copy and getting it ready to publish.
It doesn’t have to be a long break, but it does need to be a break.
Switch your brain off or think about something unrelated. Give it a rest so you can return to your content and see it with fresh eyes. This is the absolute best way to pick up on errors or structural problems you didn’t notice before.
Use Spell Check and Grammar Check, and Consider Paid Services
Most word processing programs have built-in spelling and grammar checkers. These won’t take care of usage errors and aren’t smart enough to tell you when your writing is unclear, but they can save you from glaring typos and potentially embarrassing grammar mistakes.
Paid services like Grammar.ly offer more in-depth help. They’re always on and available for everything you write, whether it’s on your computer or on the web.
Trade Editing and Proofreading Favors with Another Content Creator
If you have a friend who blogs, why not swap your newest posts and give each other’s work a thorough read-through? It’s not the same as a professional editor, but just getting a fresh set of eyes on your work should help.
Try This Weird Tip: Read Bottoms Up
Stefanie Flaxman, the Editor-in-Chief at Copyblogger swears by this strange technique which can help you see your writing with fresh eyes even if you’ve been staring at it for hours.
Start at the bottom and read your way up.
Go sentence-by-sentence and read your post. Sometimes just taking your writing out-of-order will help mistakes jump out.
How Do You Edit Your Posts?
I’ll bet you’ve found some good techniques for editing your own writing. Care to share? Head on down to the comments section and let’s talk.
Pamela Wilson is the author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience. She’s Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.