Editing your content may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than just proofreading for typos. In order to ensure that your website content is high-quality and engaging, you need to follow a specific content editing process. Fortunately, we’re here to walk you through it!
What is Content Editing?
Content editing focuses on reviewing and revising your content to improve its quality. This includes correcting errors, improving clarity, and making sure that your content is up-to-date. Content editing is different from proofreading; while proofreading focuses on catching small errors, content editing focuses on making larger changes to improve the overall quality of your written content.
Why is Content Editing Important?
It’s important to edit your content because it can have a big impact on how audiences perceive your website. High-quality, well-written content will make a good impression on readers, while poorly written or outdated content will turn them away. Here are some of the benefits of content editing.
1. Improves the Quality of Your Content
One of the most obvious benefits of content editing is that it improves the quality of your writing. This includes catching errors, improving clarity, and making sure that your content is up-to-date. By taking the time to edit your content, you can be sure that readers will have a positive experience when they visit your website.
2. Makes a Good Impression on Readers
As we mentioned before, poorly written or outdated content will turn readers away from your website. On the other hand, high-quality content will make a good impression and leave readers wanting more. If you want people to keep coming back to your website, it’s important to make sure that your content is well-written and engaging.
3. Boosts SEO Rankings
In addition to making a good impression on readers, high-quality content can also help to boost your SEO rankings. This is because search engines like Google will reward websites with informative, well-written content. So, if you’re looking to improve your website’s SEO, content editing is a great place to start.
4. Helps You Stay Up-to-Date
Finally, content editing can also help you to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. This is especially important if you have an evergreen website; by regularly editing your content,
The Content Editing Process
There are four steps in the content editing process:
1. Planning and Preparation: Before you start editing your content, take some time to plan what changes need to be made. This will help you edit more efficiently and avoid making any unnecessary changes.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience and what type of content they’re looking for. Once you know what needs to be changed, create an editing schedule so you can make the changes in a timely manner.
2. Editing for Clarity and Sentence Structure: Once you’ve planned and prepared, it’s time to start making changes to your content. Begin by ensuring that all of your sentences are clear and concise. Sentence structure is important for two reasons: first because it helps readers understand your content; and second, because it keeps your writing from sounding choppy.
If you find that any of your sentences are unclear, try rewriting them so they’re easier to understand. In addition to clarity, also pay attention to sentence structure when editing your content. This includes making sure that your sentences are properly formatted and that they flow well together.
Lastly, make sure all of your facts are accurate and that your sources are credible.
3. Editing for Style and Voice: After you’ve edited for clarity and structure, it’s time to focus on writing style and voice. This is where you’ll really start to put your personal stamp on the piece.
Read through your content aloud to get a feel for how it sounds; then make any necessary changes to ensure that it reflects your unique voice. Pay attention to the level of formality as well; if it’s too casual or too formal, adjust accordingly.
Lastly, make sure the overall tone of the piece matches the tone of your website as a whole.
4. Proofreading: Once you’ve made all of the necessary changes, proofread your content for any remaining typos or errors. This is also a good time to check for any last-minute changes that need to be made in order to ensure accuracy and clarity.
If possible, ask someone else to proofread your blog post as well; another set of eyes can often catch errors that you might miss.
How to Edit Your Website Content
Now that we’ve gone over why content editing is so important, let’s take a look at how you can do it effectively. Follow these steps to edit your website content like a pro:
While you may already use a content editor like Grammarly, it’s still important to know how to edit your content manually. This way, you can be sure that all of your changes are accurate and that your content is error-free.
1. Line Editing
Line editing is the process of making changes to individual lines of text. This can involve anything from rewriting a sentence to deleting an unnecessary paragraph. When line editing, it’s important to focus on clarity and conciseness. Make sure each sentence is clear and easy to understand; if it’s not, rewrite it. Similarly, make sure each sentence is as concise as possible; if it’s not, delete or revise it.
2. Copy Editing
Copy editing is the process of making changes to the overall structure and organization of a piece. This can involve anything from rearranging paragraphs to adding new sections. When copy editing, it’s important to focus on clarity and flow. Make sure the piece is easy to follow and that it flows logically from one point to the next. If it’s not, rearrange or rewrite it.
Proofreading is the process of reviewing a piece for any remaining typos or errors. This is the final step in the content editing process, so it’s important to be thorough. Read through the piece slowly and carefully, paying attention to every detail. If you spot any errors, correct them immediately.
Spelling errors: As part of the editing process, look for any words that are spelled incorrectly.
Grammatical errors: Look for any errors in grammar, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, and verb tense.
Punctuation errors: Look for any errors in punctuation, including missing commas, incorrect apostrophes, and misplaced periods.
Factual errors: Look for any inaccuracies in the facts or figures that are presented.
Source errors: Look for any errors in the sources that are cited.
4. Editing for Tone and Voice
After you’ve edited for clarity and conscience, it’s time to focus on tone and brand voice. This is where you’ll really start to put your personal stamp on the piece. Read through your content aloud to get a feel for how it sounds; then make any necessary changes to ensure that it reflects your unique brand voice.
Brand voice is the unique way in which your brand communicates with its audience. It should be consistent across all of your marketing materials, from your website to your social media posts.
The tone is the overall feeling or atmosphere that a piece conveys. It can be serious or playful, formal or informal, and friendly or neutral. When editing for tone, make sure the tone of your piece matches the tone of your website as a whole.
Pay attention to the level of formality as well; if it’s too casual or too formal, adjust accordingly. Creating quality content is a process, but it’s a process that’s worth taking the time to do right.
Lastly, make sure the overall tone of the piece matches the tone of your website as a whole. This will help to create a cohesive and consistent experience for your readers.
5. Editing for SEO
Once you’ve edited your content for clarity, conciseness, tone, and voice, it’s time to focus on Search engine optimization. This involves making sure your content is optimized for search engines like Google. Start by including relevant keywords throughout your content.
Then, take a look at your headings and subheadings; make sure they’re clear, concise, and keyword-rich.
Finally, when copy editing for search engine optimization, review your external links; make sure they’re all working and that they lead to relevant and authoritative sources.
By following these steps, you can be sure that you are publishing high-quality content for your intended audience.
6. Editing for Formatting
Once you’ve finished editing your content, it’s time to focus on formatting. This includes things like adding headings and subheadings, breaking up long paragraphs, and adding images and other visual elements.
The goal is to make your content as easy to read and visually appealing as possible. By taking the time to format your content well, you’ll make it more likely that people will actually read it and share it with others.
7. Editing for style
After you’ve finished editing your content for clarity, conciseness, SEO, and formatting, it’s time to focus on style. This includes things like sentence structure, word choice, and overall voice.
The goal is to make your content as readable and enjoyable as possible. By taking the time to edit for style, you’ll make it more likely that people will actually read it and share it with others.
Hiring a Copy Editing Service
If you don’t have the time or inclination to edit your own content, you can always hire a copy-editing service. These services can be found online and will often provide a free sample of their work. This way, you can be sure that you’re hiring a quality service before committing to anything.
A copy editor can help to improve the clarity, conciseness, tone, voice, SEO, formatting, and style of your content.
There are a few things to keep in mind when hiring a copy editor service.
1. Make sure the copy editor is reputable and has good reviews.
2. Be clear about your expectations. What level of editing do you need? What style guide will the copy editor be using?
3. Get a sample of their work before committing to anything. This will help you to gauge their quality and ensure that you’re happy with their work.
4. Be sure to communicate with the editor throughout the process. This will help to ensure that your vision for the piece is being met. Detailed feedback early on will save you time and frustration later.
Hiring a professional content editor can help to ensure that your content is clear, concise, and well-formatted. By following the tips above, you can be sure that you’ll be happy with the final product.
Using Style Guides
Style guides are a set of rules that dictate how a piece of writing should be formatted. These editing styles can be specific to a particular publication or genre, or they can be more general in nature.
Style guides typically include guidelines for things like punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar. They can also include guidelines for formatting headings and subheadings, as well as for citing sources.
If you’re working with a copy-editing service, be sure to clarify which style guide they will be using. If you have a specific style guide that you want them to follow, be sure to mention that as well. This way, you can be sure that your content will be formatted according to your preferences.
The following are some of the most commonly used style guides in content marketing:
The Chicago Manual of Style: This style guide is used by many publications, including newspapers, magazines, and books.
The AP Stylebook: This style guide is used by many news organizations, including the Associated Press.
The MLA Style Manual: This style guide is used by many schools and universities for academic writing.
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: This style guide is used by many psychologists and other mental health professionals.
By following the guidelines set forth in a style guide, you can be sure that your content will be well-formatted and consistent.
Macro editing is the process of editing at a higher level, focusing on the overall structure and organization of the document. This includes things like ensuring that all of the parts are in order, that headings and subheadings are properly formatted, and that the document flows logically.
Macro editing is often done after the content has been edited for clarity, conciseness, SEO, and formatting. By taking the time to edit at a macro level, you can be sure that your document will be well-organized and easy to read.
The following are some tips for this style of editing:
1. Make sure all of the parts of the document are in order. This includes ensuring that headings and subheadings are properly formatted and that each section flows logically into the next.
2. Ensure that the overall structure of the document is logical and easy to follow. This includes making sure that the introduction, body, and conclusion are all in order and that the transitions between each section are smooth.
3. Check for any errors in formatting, such as incorrect spacing or margins.
4. Read the document aloud to check for any awkward phrasing, and make appropriate content edits.
Comprehensive editing is the process of editing at both the micro and macro levels. This includes ensuring that the content is clear, concise, and well-formatted, as well as making sure that the overall structure of the document is logical and easy to follow.
The following are some tips for comprehensive editing:
1. Edit at both the micro and macro levels. This includes ensuring that the content is clear, concise, and well-formatted, as well as making sure that the overall structure of the document is logical and easy to follow.
2. Pay attention to both the big picture and the details. This means looking for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as ensuring that the document flows smoothly and is easy to read.
3. Take the time to read the document aloud. This will help you catch any awkward phrasing or sentence structure.
4. Use a style guide to ensure that your content is formatted consistently.
Substantive editing is the process of making significant changes to the content of a document. This includes things like rewriting sentences or paragraphs, adding or removing sections, and reorganizing the overall structure of the document.
Substantive editing is often done after the content has been edited for clarity, conciseness, and SEO. By taking the time to edit at a substantive level, you can significantly improve the quality of your document.
Developmental editing is the process of making changes to the overall structure and organization of a document. This includes things like adding or removing sections, rewriting sentences or paragraphs and reorganizing the overall flow of the document.
For example, if you are writing a list-style blog post, a developmental editor would help you to decide what sections to include, what order to put them in, and how to transition between each section.
In closing, editing content can be a daunting task, but it is essential to the quality of your writing. Be sure to take the time to edit at both the macro and micro levels, and pay attention to both the big picture and the details. While content editors are available for hire, copy-editing your own writing can save you time and money. Use the tips in this article to help you edit like a pro!