I’m good at math.
If you looked at my standardized test results from when I was back in school, you’d see I scored very high in math and very low in verbal.
And yet, today I’m a professional writer and editor.
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.
Sort of. Your content needs to quickly communicate what your audience wants and needs, so my natural abilities are actually the perfect fit for content marketing.
You probably possess some of these editing skills too, so let’s examine how you can use them to become a discerning content marketer.
Turning a “weakness” into a strength
Most of my English tests in high school weren’t adorned with those coveted “A” grades because timed exams to test reading comprehension didn’t fit my reading style.
I read text passages slowly, studied each word carefully, and analyzed how the writer could have presented his or her message more clearly.
It’s no surprise I’d run out of time before I finished every question. (It’s okay, 16-year-old Stefanie. The future looks bright for you.)
My poor test scores could have convinced me that the English language and reading comprehension were my weaknesses, but instead, I turned my way of reading into a career.
We’re in The Editor Age
The title of this interview on Contently’s The Content Strategist says it all: ‘You Need Editors, Not Brand Managers’: Marketing Legend Seth Godin on the Future of Branded Content.
When asked how he’d build a brand media property, Godin replied that brands often opt for playing it safe rather than thinking, “How can we be more interesting?”
Then, Godin concluded:
That’s not what happens when you want to make a hit TV show or a website that people care about. You need editors, not brand managers, who will push the envelope to make the thing go forward.
Editors produce enjoyable content
“Enjoyable content” sounds a bit weak, doesn’t it? It’s less serious than “effective content” or “content that produces business results.”
But enjoyable content is a prerequisite if you want your content to be effective.
Editors produce the right content experiences with refined messages that help meet your business goals. This meaningful content gives your ideal prospect an enjoyable experience that produces results.
For example, I enjoy painting, but I don’t always have time to paint on canvas, so I frequently paint my nails. It’s relatively quick, and I get to display my work every day for as long as the manicure lasts.
Essie is my favorite nail polish brand and the company’s YouTube channel has a collection of nail art tutorials. To communicate a persuasive message, each concise video required a focused vision and intentional refining.
Every aspect of the video also forms a seamless call to action — the instructive lesson makes you want to buy the products used in the tutorial so you can try the look yourself.
That is enjoyable content for a nail polish lover. I watched a number of Essie tutorials while researching this article and now have a long list of new colors I’m going to buy. 😉
8 steps to become a content marketing editor
“Egregious grammar errors make your content confusing and typos are distracting,” said Captain Obvious.
There’s more to becoming an editor than aiming to produce error-free content.
Here are eight steps that will help bring your inner editor to the surface during your content creation and production process:
- Research. Your content marketing strategy begins with research. In addition to optimizing your chances of connecting with your target audience, research is also the foundation of captivating content. It helps you stand out with unique ideas your audience won’t find elsewhere.
- Prepare. I prefer preparing over planning because it allows for more flexibility when unforeseen circumstances arise. If you’re prepared, you can easily adapt. Editors prepare their content schedules in advance and adjust them as needed.
- Write. Synthesize your research into a cohesive presentation, whether it’s an article, podcast, or video. “Don’t try to do too much” is my favorite writing advice. While first drafts are certainly the place to let your ideas run wild, stay focused on the message you need to communicate.
- Delete. Remove repetitive and excessive content. In the Essie nail art tutorial above, only essential information made the final cut. For example, our guide, Rita Remark, didn’t distract viewers with statistics about how many people give themselves manicures each year. That information doesn’t directly match the video topic or serve viewers.
- Push. In the video above, Rita explains that the argyle print she’s creating is composed of diamond shapes. Take a closer look at the bookcase in the background. Notice anything? Yep, it has diamond-shaped compartments. The producers of this video pushed themselves creatively beyond a standard plain background to construct a complete experience for viewers.
- Refine. Once your content is complete, how can you make it sharper? Is there a more succinct phrase you could use, or do you need to explain a point with more details? To address a possible concern, about halfway through the nail art tutorial, Rita reassures the viewer, “This may look difficult, but don’t be scared. It just takes a little practice.”
- Polish. I’m not talking about nail polish this time! Grammar and spelling lovers rejoice; this is the step where you check for mistakes — large and small. Dedicate time to fact-checking (even if you think you already did) and hold every aspect of your content up to professional standards.
- Publish. You don’t have the chance to make a positive impression on your ideal prospects until you release the content you create. Confident editors have overcome the false security of perfectionism and publish their best efforts. They simply stay vigilant about possible ways to improve in the future.
Present a refined message to your audience
Think like an editor to become a more persuasive content marketer.
And, as you adopt the perspective of an editor who critically evaluates every aspect of his content, recognize your opportunity to take any supposed “weakness” you have and turn it into your winning difference.
What do you do differently that you can harness as a strength?
- 30 Quick Editing Tips Every Content Creator Needs to Know
- On Taking Responsibility for All of the Communication You Put Out into the World
- 15 Copy Editing Tips that Can Transform Your Content into Persuasive and Shareable Works of Art
- The Traffic Light Revision Technique for Meticulously Editing Your Own Writing
- 4 Delightful Editing Tips to Make Your Words Dazzle and Dance
- How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It)
- 7 Creative Proofreading Tips to Transform Your Jaggedy Draft into a Polished Post
- Catch More Writing Mistakes with This Underutilized Proofreading Trick