Creating great content means more than writing. Every word needs to be edited and proofread before you hit publish. Writing gets all your ideas together, editing refines for impact and effectiveness, and proofing (hopefully) catches any errors before anything gets published.
First, Have a Content Writing Process and Assign Roles
The first step in publishing quality content is to have a process. Where will ideas come from? Are there specific topics that should be covered at particular times? Who will write? Proofread? Publish?
These are just some of the questions to address in your content process. The more clearly you define the inputs and outputs, the stronger your content will be.
For each task in the process, assign someone. It is best to have several people involved with content development. The more eyes, the better the results.
Edit Content Like a Pro
When you get to the editing step, here are the steps followed by the best editors:
- Know the goal and the audience.
- Read through first as if you are the reader. Use a similar screen size.
- Next, read as an editor. Change words that aren’t clear. Rewrite to improve flow. Remove extraneous details.
- Check the facts. Do numbers add up? Are references correct? Are all names, links, etc. correct?
- Read as if you are the reader again.
Wait, There’s Still Proofreading
After the editing steps, you aren’t ready to hit publish. Now is the time for proofreading.
Read the content to check that the flow has not been marred in the editing stage. Ensure that it is still on target for the stated goal and audience.
Check for typos and grammar issues. Spell and grammar checkers don’t catch them all, and they aren’t necessarily correct in all cases. Just today I corrected “house” that should have been “hours.” In context, the wrong word wasn’t flagged by spellcheck.
In the case of grammar checkers, you may disagree with the recommendation, but consider a rewrite anyway. Grammar issues are a flag that your content is not as easy to interpret as you might think.
Still Not Done – Publish and Check Again
With proofing end editing complete, you have a green light to move to publishing your content. Once you do that, check again! There is nothing like seeing something in it’s final form. Make sure it looks as you expected and tweak as needed.