Writing process

Do you need a web content editor?

If you’re new to the world of writing and publishing content, you might also be new to how the process of web content editing works.

It sounds simple enough. A writer drafts a post, an editor reads it to make sure there aren’t any errors, it gets published. Simple, right?

Not so fast.

One thing that’s key to understand is that there are multiple types of editing. For the purposes of writing web content, we’ll stick to understanding what copy editing and proofreading are and where they fit into the overall publishing schedule

What is copy editing?

Copy editing is the first part of the editing process. During this stage, your draft, or “copy,” is read and edited for big-picture things, like organization, coherency, sentence structure and clarity. Copy editors get the copy ready to go to the designers, which, in addition to the above list, includes checking for things like grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure. However, they aren’t the final eyes on the project.

You need to have your posts copy edited before making final decisions on design, such as what images to include and where to put them.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process, and it happens right before you hit “publish.” Proofreading basically is quality checking your post before it gets sent out for publishing. Proofreaders are checking to make sure the copy editors didn’t miss anything (spoiler: they usually do).

Do you need to hire a web content editor?

Ideally, yes, you’ll have someone else copy edit and proofread your work for you.  When we write, we know what we want to say, and our brains tend to trick our eyes into believing all the words we want to say are actually there on the page. More often than not, though, we miss words and make other typographical errors. We also tend to gloss over explanations since we know what we’re talking about.

Having a copy editor who isn’t as familiar with the subject as you are can be extremely helpful for pointing out areas where you could be more clear or add more information to make sure the reader fully understands what you’re trying to say. To get this type of feedback, you don’t necessarily need someone with a strong writing background. Anyone who is willing to read your drafts and tell you honestly what doesn’t make sense can be your stand-in copy editor.

If you happen to have someone who is well-versed in grammar, typography and punctuation on hand, let him or her be the final set of eyes on your document.

If you’re trying to rank for SEO and make money from your blog, it could be worth your money to hire a content agency to edit and proofread your posts before they go live. A professional copy editor and proofreader will also save you a lot of time. Consider that it can take anywhere from 2-10 hours, or even longer, to copy edit and proofread an article to get it to that perfectly polished stage-do you really have time for that?

If you don’t have anyone on hand, and you don’t want to hire anyone for this task, then at least take breaks between writing, copy editing, designing and proofreading your post. This will give your brain a chance to catch those mistakes and lessen the likelihood that your readers will find glaring errors.

Click here for a free copy editing checklist.

Click here for a free proofreading checklist.

If you would rather have an expert copy editor and proofreader on hand than do it yourself, contact us!

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Writing process

Proofreading check list

Whether you’re proofreading on your own or you have someone else doing it for you, make sure you have a plan. This checklist is a basic checklist for web blogs and web content. Feel free to copy it and customize it based on the exact type of content you’re proofreading.

Note: You won’t just proofread once and be done. Your draft will have to be read a few times to make sure everything is correct. Remember, this is the last step before hitting “publish,” so take your time and be thorough.

Pro tip: Print out the piece of content you’re proofreading and read it out loud. You’re less likely to skip over words and punctuation when the content is printed out than when it’s on a screen. Reading out loud forces you to catch more mistakes since your brain has to slow down in order for you to speak.

Proofreading Checklist:

  • Check for spelling errors
  • Check for grammar errors
    • Check for run-on sentences
    • Check for sentence fragments
    • Make sure commas are all in the correct places and used consistently
    • Make sure apostrophes are used correctly and in their proper places
  • Check all headers and sub-headers for correct spelling
  • Check formatting
  • Check font size for consistency
  • Check punctuation
    • Make sure quotation marks aren’t accidentally doubled
    • Make sure commas are inside quotation marks
    • Make sure every sentence ends with a period

 

Content strategy

How to write a blog post

Having a blog for your business is pretty much a must these days. But since every business has one, what can you do to stand out from your competitors?

The key is to understand that the way blogs are read and used today is vastly different than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Today, people aren’t likely to find your blog and read every. single. post. Instead, they’ll probably find your blog through social media or through an organic search on Google. They’ll spend, on average, 8 seconds deciding whether or not your post is answering their search query or giving them new information that can help them make a decision.

8 seconds.

That’s all.

So, how can you craft a blog post that gets a reader’s attention and keeps them on your page for longer than 8 seconds? Here’s our guide.

How to write a blog post: A 5 step strategy

1. Pick your audience
Very rarely is a blog post a good fit for every type of audience, and a lot of writers and businesses make the mistake of trying to fit a piece of content to suit everyone who might possibly come across it. This is pointless. It’s better to have a smaller, niche audience who will fully engage with your blog post than a wide audience who will bounce from your post before you can reel them in.

2. Get to know your audience
Once you decide what audience you’re targeting, it’s time to get to know them, if you don’t already. As a business owner, you might be targeting certain types of clients, or maybe you’re addressing fellow entrepreneurs. Either way, spend some time researching your audience to see what their needs are and how you can address them.

One way to do this is to spend time crafting audience personas. You can do this by conducting customer development interviews or sending out surveys to your clients to find out what information is most important to them. While this can take longer to research, it is also a more long-term strategy to make sure you’re targeting the right blog topics for your audience.

3. Know your competitors
One way to get to know your audience is to research and understand how your competitors are reaching them. You can do this easily by opening an incognito window and performing a Google search of your query. Then, read through the top results, since these are the resources Google thinks best addresses the problem your reader is trying to solve. Make notes about what they include as well as what unique viewpoint you can add to the conversation to make your post even more relevant and interesting to your audience.

4. Write and edit
See how far down the list writing your blog post is? If you don’t have a writer on your team, you can use your notes/outline from steps 1-3 to pass off to a content agency or freelance writer to take the reins and draft the blog post for you. Expect to go through a few rounds of writing and editing.

Make sure your headline is SEO optimized. Use SEO tools like Google Adwords or Moz.com to find out the best headline for your blog post. Having an SEO-optimized title will help it rank organically in Google to increase the number of views it gets from organic searches.

5. Publish and track
Finally, you’ve reached the point of publishing your blog post. But don’t expect to hit “publish” and walk away forever. To effectively use content as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to track metrics like how many views it gets, how it ranks on Google and how often it’s shared on social media. Tracking metrics of all your blog posts can clue you into the topics that are the best received so you can target your content strategy.

If you aren’t sure how to begin your blog, let’s chat. Contact us for a free half-hour consultation to see how I can help you set up your blog or take it to the next level!