5 Self-Editing Tips You Should Start Using Today

May 03, 2017

For many content creators…or probably most content creators…the creation part is the most enjoyable aspect of the process, and the editing part just sucks. Yes, it is often the editing that means the difference between getting your message across and turning people away, but it’s so friggin’ boring.

I mean, you just wrote all those words and now you have to go through them again and pick through your work, looking for issues and irregularities. It just doesn’t seem fair. But it is necessary, and without some sound self-editing techniques, prospective customers won’t take you seriously.

We previously did a post about some of the broader concepts of self-editing, but here we will narrow our focus a bit to help ensure each blog post and web page you produce or your clients produce are where they need to be.

Self-Editing Tip #1: Are all Elements Present and Accounted For?

When you look for self-editing tips online, they are often focused on writing books. Since we are dealing with online content creation like blogs and web pages, some of the elements will be different. When writing content for clients, it is important to ensure you have followed the guidelines they’ve set out and that you have included everything they wanted.

If your clients want things like internal links, specific keywords, citing resources and including specific info or links in a closing CTA, then they had better be in there. Naturally, these elements will vary from piece to piece, which is why you need to do a quick cross reference to make sure everything that needs to be in there is present.

Self-Editing Tip #2: Read it Out Loud

When you read the content out loud, it gives a unique perspective and opportunity to find mistakes that weren’t caught earlier. It will also allow you to identify awkward word pairings, unnatural sounding sentences, and sentences that are too long. It may feel a bit strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.

Self-Editing Tip #3: Make Sure It Looks Good

You may want to try this one at the end, when all of the editing and corrections have been made and it’s a done deal. Basically, you are just going to sit back a little and look at the entire page to make sure there is adequate spacing within the post. A cluttered page, or a page that is too top or bottom heavy will turn readers off before they even read anything. You can learn more about keeping your work easy on the eyes, here.

Self-Editing Tip #4: Automated Checkers are Just the Beginning

But I put it through two different grammar checkers! I used a f*#king grammar checker! Yes, the wonderful automated grammar and spell checkers. They definitely serve a purpose, and they can help you out, but that can’t be the only thing you do. No matter how strict you make your settings, they still can’t seem to catch certain words and they suck when it comes to context. We use three different ones, plus a set of human eyes, and it is the human eyes that often catch those little details that would have damaged the quality of the piece.

Self-Editing Tip #5: Did You Get the Message Across?

Got all the elements your client wanted, spelling and grammar are awesome, reads well and looks great on the page, but is the message correct? It’s easy to become so obsessed with the details of style, grammar, punctuation, etc., that you lose sight of what you were trying to say in the first place.

Before you wrap things up and send it in or publish, make sure you wrote to the title and to the intended target audience. After all, a neat, well punctuated piece of content that is directed to the wrong audience or veers way of course is still useless.

If you’d like to talk more about how to get your content where it needs to be, or want to place a big, whopping order, give us a call today at 888-221-5041.

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