30 Quick Editing Tips Every Content Creator Needs to Know

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Inbox 0: in a bad way.

Has your brilliant content still not scored you that dream writing position, lucrative business partnership, or sweet recognition among your peers and target audience?

If you think your articles are top-notch, but there’s a lonely tumbleweed blowing through your barren website, it may be because you’re just a writer.

You heard me, Gloria.

If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody calling? Once you create a blog or email newsletter, you need to also actively take part in its evolution.

While keeping diligent focus on your content production, you must also review your past choices, looking for ways to allow more readers to engage with your writing.

In other words, to take advantage of the year of the writer, you may need to think more like an editor.

Here are 30 editing tips that will help you become a more effective editor-in-chief of the content you create.

Fall in love with your website:

  1. Forget “like.” No one will be head-over-heels about your online space if you’re not thoroughly impressed with your presentation. Commit to making your site a masterpiece before you even think about your next post topic.
  2. Sit down; stay awhile. “Web furniture” sets the tone for visitors. These elements include your headshot, logo, and layout. Does your design welcome people into your hub and make them want to find out more?
  3. Turn the spotlight outward. Remember that a good About page is as much about your audience as it is about you.
  4. Highlight a reason to subscribe. Since your story continually unfolds, encourage visitors to stay in the loop and get your fresh content as soon as it’s published.
  5. Have discerning taste. Thoughtfully select the media that complements your writing. Stock photos can be used memorably, or they can look generic and bland.
  6. Break the rules for a good cause. If the latest and greatest widget, post formula, or social media app won’t benefit your readers, don’t use them.
  7. Don’t call it Google Minus. Claim Google Authorship and claim the authority that’s due you.
  8. Check your WordPress before you wreck your WordPress. Secure your website so that you feel confident about growing your web presence and readership.
  9. Tell them what you want. When someone arrives on your site, what do you want him to do next? Subscribe? Hire you? Collaborate? Explicitly state your website’s purpose as if it were a physical storefront.
  10. Say no to “yes men.” Friends and family will say “looks great!” without even clicking on your URL. Get objective feedback from professionals.

Vamp up your editorial strategy

  1. Water the plant. Each edit you make to your content should directly contribute to the goal you’d like to accomplish.
  2. Prepare; don’t plan. Structure your editorial calendar in a way that allows you to adjust your posts if you naturally think of new ideas as you write.
  3. Take yourself out of the equation. If you’re preoccupied with “writing well” to impress others, you may feel pressure and get stuck. Concentrate on helping your audience instead.
  4. Research what’s hot. Get the right visitors to your blog by finding and using the keywords they use when they search online.
  5. Seduce your audience. Educate and entertain in equal measure.
  6. Diversify your topics. If you’re tired of your posts, it shows. You may need to switch topics completely or expand your approach to keep yourself motivated and readers enthusiastic.
  7. Look in nooks and crannies. Can you provide additional information in new posts that enhances content you’ve already published?
  8. Tighten up. Instead of writing many mediocre posts, dedicate your efforts to one powerful piece of content per week.
  9. Walk the line. Strike a balance between your passions and your audience’s dilemmas that positions you to provide practical relief.
  10. Log out and mute. Respect your blog and block distractions until you’re finished with your writing sessions.

Make your words irresistible:

  1. Try the Fat Ass Fudge diet. Fat Ass Fudge says it all. Do your descriptions also convey a precise message?
  2. Divide and conquer. If you truly serve a specific niche, you will exclude another group. It’s necessary. There should be certain people who hate your writing.
  3. Use concise language. When you name your blog, develop a tagline, or craft a headline, pick three easy words that differentiate your business.
  4. Outline major points. You’ll flesh out the details of your content when you write, but ensure posts are cohesive before you begin.
  5. Write one compelling line. The stress of writing a blog post, landing page, or ebook is imaginary. Each line you write is the only reality. Put your head down; do the work.
  6. Learn language rules. Grammar and usage can be boring, but what’s worse than boring? Losing readers because they don’t understand your writing. Your blog posts won’t be useful unless they’re clear.
  7. Avoid word choice mistakes. Don’t carelessly write “effect” when you mean “affect.” Do you know the difference?
  8. Examine each letter. Proofreading is different from writing and editing. Each final read-through should be a slow inspection that catches errors.
  9. Leave time. Write in multiple rounds so you have more time to reflect. It sounds counterintuitive, but planned breaks can help you make significant progress.
  10. Regard everything as practice. Be proud of the work you’ve already completed and aim to get better. Don’t take anything you read or write for granted. It’s all a lesson.

You control your draft

Drafts aren’t only rough versions of documents and manuscripts. Most creations are ongoing works in progress.

The professional writer says, ‘It is almost certain that most of what I write will not resonate with most people who read it, but over time, I will gain an audience who trusts me to, at the very least, be interesting.’ ~ Seth Godin

Prioritize the changes you need to make, and then wrap a pair of 
horn-rimmed glasses around your face. It’s time to grab your virtual red pens, my Editing Friends.

How will you make your blog more valuable? What types of revisions usually give you the best results?

Brainstorm and discuss in the comments below!

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman


Stefanie Flaxman is Manager of Editorial Standards for Copyblogger Media. Study her one-word updates on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Great post Stefanie!

    I’m glad you covered the design part of the blog as well. People tend to overlook this aspect.

    Everything from design to content should be aligned with the objective that you’ve set for your blog.

    Very useful post.

  2. Fantastic post! I love all of these tips. I think my favorite is “write one compelling line”. Really puts things in perspective – writing is at the forefront.

  3. Your insight shows in this blog itself. Great work and great tips–thank you!

  4. “If the latest and greatest widget, post formula, or social media app won’t benefit your readers, don’t use them.”

    Don’t believe the hype! Just because it is hot and new exciting doesn’t mean it will do you or your readers any good. By all means test but don’t think you HAVE to use the cool, new tools every time.

  5. Hi Stefanie,

    My favorite is #17 nooks and crannies. You never run out of ideas if you expand upon previous posts with additional info. And if you cross-link them (as you did) it makes the blog so much more user-friendly. And easier for search engines to index, I’ll bet.

  6. Wow…I’ve been doing most of them but I guess I need to update my checklist. My favorite one being “Highlight a reason to subscribe”. Getting users to subscribe to your email list is hard job these days. You need to give them reasons as to why should they subscribe to your blog.

    • It’s another opportunity to show you offer something special. When readers think they can get useful information from you they can’t get anywhere else, they become more open to subscribing.

  7. Nice Laura Branigan reference. :)

  8. Smokin’ hot post! Trying out #21.

    Great checklist as we go about our business of being bloggers.

  9. Terrific. My fave is #13: “Take yourself out of the equation…Concentrate on helping your audience instead.” Funny how when we seek to serve our audience and give them the info they need, we get stronger results. Persuasive writing is all about meeting the reader’s needs. This post talks about that idea further: http://www.nonprofitcopywriter.com/persuasive-writing.html#sthash.FeUdEUsb.dpbs

  10. Awesome tips! I use many of them. They have brought me more traffic than when I wrote using only my own ideas.

    My best post editing tip deals with the way you look at editing. If you see it as a boring, nitpicking task, you might not like it. Look at it as putting the finishing touches on a beautiful work of art instead. Your point of view can make a HUGE difference on how you see the proofing process.

    • That’s my outlook, too, Malinda! And make it fun! :-)

      I like to treat editing and proofreading as more than just spotting errors. You’re really making sure each word helps communicate your point and the ideas in your head match the sentences on the page.

  11. Thanks Stefanie, you’re a wonderfully fresh voice on Copy Blogger. Enjoyed all of your insights.

  12. Great post!

    I definitely need to work on #20, log out and mute. I always find myself falling victim to distractions such as sports games on TV and other things that are taking my focus away from writing.

    Thanks for the insights.

    Jake Johnson

    • Distractions are everywhere, huh? Super easy to procrastinate.

      It’s tough, but once you sit down and block out everything else, it’s always pleasantly surprising to find that your writing and editing work takes less time than you think it will—so that’s at least one incentive to overcome distractions!

      Work always takes longer when I’m in half-focusing mode.

  13. My favorite is “pick 3 easy words that differentiate your business.” It’s so simple to say, and so hard to do. But it works. Really, really well.

  14. This is awesome!

    Great to read a very fresh topic on Copyblogger, well done.

  15. Excellent post Stefanie. Contains valuable tips and rule of the thump advice on how to organize, edit and produce content of value. Thank you for sharing.

  16. I like your point of view Stefanie…very useful for all of us who wants to create something new and in style…congrats

  17. Perfect!!!!!

    Every angle of making your blog irresistible to your readers are covered, and I love the line “Fall in love with your website”. It is self explanatory, how are you going to write quality posts if you don’t like your site. Make it your inspiration in writing…..

    Thanks

  18. Great article! Giving everyone the chance to “reset” their eyes on what they’re doing!

    Time to tweet this article out! A definite value-add.

  19. I LOVE this piece. Great info.

    All of the points are note and action-worthy, but I especially like #29–I have a tendency toward constant flow and need to remind myself to take time and step back sometimes.

    I’m also finding that, the older I get, the more time I need to invest in #28. I’ve found some insane typos/errors in my writing that would normally be unheard of coming from me–after I’ve posted something–and often, even after editing!

    Thanks for such a great post!

  20. “say No to ‘Yes men’” Haha Amen!

  21. I’d like to add something else to this list. I’m not recommending this only because I’m a freelance editor, but also because it’s extremely useful (I’ve done it myself!): Submitting a piece, or a variety of pieces, to an experienced freelance editor–not for proofreading, as the post states, but for content editing–will likely open your eyes to follies in your writing that you weren’t aware of. After they’re pointed out to you, though, you won’t want to wait a minute before changing your approach.

    It’s a cool technique that I feel enough copywriters don’t take advantage of because they don’t want to spend the money. It’s certainly worth it, though.

  22. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone! I’m happy to see ideas about how you can apply the strategies to your own creations!

  23. Wow. Those are some of the best writing tips I’ve ever come across. I love #21…Fat Ass Fudge diet. It made me laugh because in just a few words it actually says it all. Great stuff Stefanie. All of my writers should read and memorize this entire post.

  24. Some great advice here. Prompted a second look at my website to see what can be improved. Best tip for me was “13. Take Yourself Out Of The Equation”. Practical tip that I would not have thought of.

  25. I enjoyed Seth Godin’s quote at the end. I’ve found that you can’t write for everybody, but over time, you will find the audience that hangs to your every word. That trusts you. Seth is an advocate of writing to small niches. A lot of people try to write on “The 7 sure ways to get rich” to get a big audience. If you can write on your passion, say, “A trick to get lawn mowing done 30% faster”. You will find the right audience and be successful.

  26. Really great post! These are some great tips, not just for editing, but for whipping your blog into shape. I especially like saying no to yes men. Any of your friends will be willing to tell you how awesome a writer you are. It’s more important to know what can be done to make your work better.

  27. This is a awesome list! As a copyeditor it’s vital to proofread for more than just grammar and your really address that here and I love it! So many times I run across copy that is completely filer and goes off track of the focus of what the person is trying to communicate. I especially find 26-28 to be the most helpful. So often we get caught up in finishing our work that we don’t take a step back to ensure it’s of the highest quality.

  28. Great checklist! A precious road map made of 30 practical milestons! Thanks

  29. Helpful tips on content editing. “#18: Tighten up” stuck out most; as we continue to see at Prose Media, it is definitely more important to have fewer well-written and thought-out posts than more posts that won’t entice the reader as much. Quality, not quantity.