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:
- 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.
- 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?
- Turn the spotlight outward. Remember that a good About page is as much about your audience as it is about you.
- 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.
- Have discerning taste. Thoughtfully select the media that complements your writing. Stock photos can be used memorably, or they can look generic and bland.
- Break the rules for a good cause. If the latest and greatest widget, post style, or social media app won’t benefit your readers, don’t use them.
- Demonstrate authority. Display badges or testimonials that represent your expertise.
- Check your WordPress before you wreck your WordPress. Secure your website so that you feel confident about growing your web presence and readership.
- 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.
- 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:
- Water the plant. Each edit you make to your content should directly contribute to the goal you’d like to accomplish.
- Prepare; don’t plan. Structure your editorial calendar in a way that allows you to adjust your posting schedule if you naturally think of new ideas or need to fit in time-sensitive content.
- 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.
- Research what’s hot. Get the right visitors to your blog by finding and using the keywords they use when they search online.
- Fascinate your audience. Educate and entertain in equal measure.
- 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.
- Look in nooks and crannies. Can you provide additional information in new posts that enhances content you’ve already published?
- Tighten up. Instead of writing many mediocre posts, dedicate your efforts to one powerful piece of content per week.
- Walk the line. Strike a balance between your passions and your audience’s dilemmas that positions you to provide practical relief.
- Log out and mute. Respect your blog and block distractions until you’re finished with your writing sessions.
Make your words potent:
- Try the Fat Ass Fudge diet. Fat Ass Fudge says it all. Do your descriptions also convey a precise message?
- 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.
- Use concise language. When you name your blog, develop a tagline, or craft a headline, pick three easy words that differentiate your business.
- Outline major points. You’ll flesh out the details of your content when you write each line, but ensure posts are cohesive before you begin.
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoid word choice mistakes. Don’t carelessly write “effect” when you mean “affect.” Do you know the difference?
- Examine each letter. Proofreading is different from writing and editing. Each final read-through should be a slow inspection that catches errors.
- 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.
- 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!
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Nic McPhee.