How to Edit Your Content Like a Master (and By Yourself!)

edit-your-content

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

Spend some time before publication polishing up the article with skimmable formatting. Break up long chunks of text with bulleted lists and block quotes. Add an image.

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.

Author Bio:

How to edit your blog contentPamela 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.

 

30 comments

  1. Kent Caylor   •  

    Hi pamela,
    Just getting into blogging, and this looks like some good reference material.

    Kent

    • Pamela Wilson   •     Author

      Kent, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Deitra   •  

    I was sent here through a link from Matthew Loomis of Build Your Own Blog and I really want this book offered. All the best to you; Peace.

  3. Claire Brotherton   •  

    Great tips! I like the 4 day schedule idea.

    I often cram writing my posts into one or two days and then I feel I can’t do the editing and promotion justice.

    • Pamela Wilson   •     Author

      It’s amazing how stepping away from your writing helps you to see the weak points and the mistakes. Glad you enjoyed the post, Claire!

  4. Chris Nicholson   •  

    Thanks for your great articles! I look forward to reading the book!! cpnich@aol.com

  5. Helen   •  

    Thank you for this chance to view this copy

  6. mia johnson   •  

    I write from my heart, which is generally way too wordy.
    I like to let it set for awhile, try not to “over-read” it the first time out.
    If possible, I like to sleep on it when time allows.
    With fresh eyes, I eliminate what I feel might be redundant, as well as what might be too technical or abstract so as not to confuse the audience.
    I auto-correct it to death.
    Then I serve up the corpse-well done.

    • Pamela Wilson   •     Author

      “The corpse …” that’s so funny, Mia! That is kind of what it feels like by the time you’re done, isn’t it?

  7. Regina   •  

    Thank you for this post. I have a hard time with content creation and tend to overthink it or not act on an impulse once I receive it. These steps make the most sense! Especially reading from the bottom up! Really appreciate this!

    • Pamela Wilson   •     Author

      So glad you enjoyed it, Regina. I like that “bottoms up” advice, too. 🙂

  8. Jeff Pierson   •  

    Lots of good advice. I especially like the share content proofing with another blogger. Not only will catch some mistakes but, may offer insight you never considered.

    This is my biggest “take away” from this article.

  9. Rebecca Smyser   •  

    Hello Pamela,
    I am interested in starting a blog about something very dear to my heart … my son’s reaction to a seizure drug and the effects it had on him..It changed his live for ever. But trying to figure out where to start on this major endeavor can be scary. I feel your book would help me achieve this and in turn I can help others so this will not happen to them. I would really appreciate a copy of your book. Thank you.

  10. Garry   •  

    Hi Pamela,

    Looking to start a blog & have found this article quite interesting

  11. John Girling   •  

    Great tips Pamela. The “Same day” tips are really relevant. It is vital to step away from the keyboard to clear the brain.

  12. Sarah   •  

    Hi Pamela. Great article. I am getting into blogging and trying to pick up on tips and strategies are a God send.
    Thanks 😊

  13. Tom Marchido   •  

    Hi Pamela, thanks for the great (as usual) tips. I especially like the tip about adding an image. I’m graduating in January with my B.S. in Graphic Design, and I know how important it is to add a meaningful graphic to content. Google loves it, too! Thanks again, Pamela.

    • Pamela Wilson   •     Author

      Thanks, Tom.

      There are so many places that need great design now. Back in my day there was only print. Now we have all these digital devices that need visual content.

      It’s a fantastic time to be a designer: good luck with your new degree!

  14. Chris   •  

    I got here via a referral link from Matthew Loomis Blog site. He says to say hi.

  15. Yaya   •  

    I love blogging, although I had no idea what I was doing when blogging was a big part of my life. I wanna’ get back to blogging on a regular basis, just because it’ kind of a thrill to share some things with so many people.

    Thanks for this information. Looking forward to learning all I can.

    ~ Yaya

  16. Bandula   •  

    Thank you ! I look forward to reading the book!!!

  17. Bellybytes   •  

    So this is a great post on how to get across perfect content. My problem is that I don’t keep any time between writing and pressing publish tab. I will now try your method and see if it improves my content and subsequently my traffic and followers!

    • Pamela Wilson   •     Author

      I think it will! Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. 🙂

  18. Julie   •  

    Love the tip on reading from the bottom up to catch errors!

  19. James   •  

    Hi Pamela,

    Great article! It was recommended by Matthew Loomis. I would like to read the entire book, if possible.

  20. Jay   •  

    This was a helpful article. I’m sure I’ll be referring to it often as I create content.

  21. Ryan   •  

    Would love a copy of this book! Having a hard time getting started.

  22. Diane de la Cruz   •  

    I like the bit about letting the content topic “marinate” after you’ve created the backbone of the article. It works because it allows your mind to gather ideas so you can put more meat later. Also, leaving the article for a little bit after you’ve written it does help. I like the idea of reading “bottoms up” — I haven’t tried this before.

    Thank you for these tips! 🙂

  23. Ashvin   •  

    Hi Pamela,
    Lots of good advice. I especially like the share content proofing with another blogger. Not only will catch some mistakes but, may offer insight you never considered.

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