There are several important reasons to engage in content editing. First and foremost, you want to deliver high-quality content that is free of errors so that your readership sees you as a knowledgeable and skilled authority within your field. When readers are distracted by typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors, how can they adequately focus on what you’re trying to say?
In addition, editing gives you the opportunity to pare down your initial output, removing irrelevant fluff so that you can more succinctly deliver a core message. Of course, it’s also a good idea to appease search bots. Since most content providers have a dual purpose in posting (appealing to current patrons while also optimizing to bring in more targeted traffic), providing edited copy is usually the best way to gain positive attention.
Unfortunately, objectivity can be hard to come by when editing your own work. It can also take a lot longer to edit than it does to write. However, you cannot afford to skip this essential step if you want to produce the best quality content. The good news is that there are plenty of tricks to save time in the editing process.
No, we’re not talking about tailgating before the big game. As a rule it’s best to avoid drinking and editing, despite the drunken writer stereotype. Pre-gaming means preparing before you even start writing to make the entire process of content creation easier, including editing.
A good way to start is by creating an outline for any content you plan to write. When you’re working from an organized outline structure you have a much better chance of creating the content you want in the first draft. An outline allows you to structure your content appropriately, avoiding the penchant for meandering text or tangential topics that affects many writers.
You can organize your thoughts, plug in any statistics, quotes, or other data you plan to include, and get a general sense of the layout of your content before you get to work writing. By visualizing your end product, you should significantly reduce the time you have to spend fixing and rewriting your content in multiple drafts.
Almost more important than the content you create is the title you choose to promote it. Your heading is what will hook readers and convince them to read more. It doesn’t really matter how perfectly edited your content is if you don’t have a compelling title.
How can you make a good first impression with your title? The content obviously has to match the title or you’re likely to alienate readers. Consider what the primary point and purpose of your article and create a brief, catchy line from there. Some writers have greater success choosing a title at the outset and then writing to it, while others prefer to create a title after the fact. You’ll have to see what works best for you.
From there you have to consider what readers want. What do you look for as a reader? What will add value to your life? When you can pinpoint the aspects of titles that draw you in as a reader you can begin to conceptualize topic titles that your readers will find appealing.
Spending some time creating killer titles could save you time on writing and editing body text by providing you with a beacon to follow, but it could also stop you from wasting time on articles that will never be read because the hook isn’t strong enough to attract viewers.
Write, Edit, Repeat
Do not make the cardinal mistake of editing as you write. This is a huge time waster. Start writing your content and don’t stop until you’ve reached the end. Then go back over it with a fine-tooth comb to catch mistakes and tighten your work.
List Known Issues
Every writer has flaws. Some can’t spell. Others use run-on sentences. Some have trouble differentiating between a conversational tone and more formal styles. Whatever your particular issues may be, it’s best to make a list that you can refer back to during editing.
This will not only help to ensure that you don’t miss glaring errors, but also over time you will start to write better, saving you time in the editing process.
Distractions are all around you, and while they might not deter you from editing, they can lead to mistakes, as well as extend the amount of time it takes you to complete your task. So close the door (if you have one), turn off your phone, and take away the many distractions that will drag out your content editing.