What is Content Editing – a Simple Explanation
Editing is a crucial part of content production. It may seem like content editing is an optional addition to digital marketing, but in reality it’s necessary to ensure the quality of your blog.
A thorough editing process gives you a chance to fix all grammar and punctuation errors. It lets you make sure every sentence makes sense and serves a purpose.
In this article, I’ll describe what content editing is in more detail and explain why it is so important. I’ll also provide some guidelines on how to edit and proofread your own writing, without the need of hiring a content editor.
What is Content Editing
Unlike copy editing, the goal of content editing is to review the text by proofreading, checking the punctuation and grammar, and ensuring the text makes sense. In other words, the job of a content editor is to finalize the content and get it ready for publication.
In terms of difficulty, content editing is more complicated than it seems. It involves checking every aspect of the content by substantive fixing of the factual errors, inconsistencies, and contradictions.
If the content is fictional, the editors will check whether there are any discrepancies in the plot, dialogue, and characters.
Why is Content Editing so Important?
Every brand has its writing style. A content editor masters the style to ensure that it is always the same. Content editing requires them to do multiple layers of editing to check whether the writing is aligned with the brand’s voice.
Authors and the marketing department need content editing to ensure that they are always generating high-quality content that provides excellent value to their readers and contributes to the business goals. This is done to maintain and improve the business’s reputation and status, ensuring that they are always delivering up-to-date and valuable content with excellent quality.
Content editing ensures that there is a clear structure and flow of writing. This, in turn, provides a good reading experience for the audience. Good content incorporates the brand’s message in such a way that the readers might not know that it is there.
Editing and Proofreading – What You Need to Know
I’ll break down some steps that you need to do in the proofreading and editing process.
Step 1. Clarity is Key
After a piece is written, a content editor should edit the work to make sure that it is clear. After substantive editing, the article must be:
- Concrete and precise in how it delivers information – To make this happen, you can cut long sentences and paragraphs into two or three. This is to avoid the readers losing interest in the paragraph because it seems to never end. Breaking long sentences into parts also gives readers a break and allows them to see each sentence’s main points more easily.
- Fact-check every fact – Double and triple check the facts used in the content by looking at official websites and sources. The last thing you want is to be giving out false information to the reader.
- Free of typos – You can use grammar spelling checker apps that are readily available online. Some of the most known proofreader tools are Grammarly, Ginger, and Hemingway Editor. The tools can help you check spelling punctuation, sentence structure, and other grammatical issues in the writing.
- Fit the publication theme – It is essential to have consistent headings, intro/outro structure, and list presentations that follow the publication’s style. There are different types of publications, some of the better known ones include The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style.
Step 2. Visual Improvement
Besides breaking up sentences and paragraphs, another way to make the content easier to read is by adding visuals like screenshots, images, infographics, or other material that supports the content.
- Infographics – This visual element is excellent for emphasizing a point. It supports the message that the writer is trying to convey, and shows the readers the information visually, helps them memorize it better.
- Screenshots – This element is used to explain to readers how to perform a task. It helps illustrate your point and steps that you describe by marking the steps or ways to do something with arrows, boxes, and circles on the screenshots.
- Images – You can add original photos that you took to make your content more unique. This gives a sense to the audience that you, as the writer, have experienced the topic firsthand. Alternatively, create images that match the content theme using royalty-free fonts, backgrounds, or other design elements.
If possible, you should always use the same width and formatting to all images for clarity and neat design.
Step 3. Optimize for SEO
SEO is an absolute must if you expect your content to rank on search engines. Some of the ways to optimize your content for SEO are:
- Include specific keywords that match the topic the writer is talking about. Some of the ways to effectively include keywords in the content are placing them in the title, the headline, or the first paragraph.
- Ensure that the content is optimized for mobile devices.
- Include alt text on your images in case they don’t load on the page.
- Optimize the meta description to help promote your content in the SERPs.
- You should make sure all hyperlinks work as they should and don’t lead to 404 error pages.
You can use tools like Yoast SEO for WordPress and Surfer SEO to help you optimize all aspects of your content. They each have guides and suggestions on what you should do and what you should change for maximum optimization.
Step 4. Final Proofread
You should proofread your work multiple times before finalizing it. If you’re a writer, it is very easy for you to miss the spelling errors because you wrote the article. That’s why having your work proofread by another person, ideally a content editor, is a huge help.
Here’s are some tips that can help you spot mistakes that you may have missed:
- Changing the fonts – This is a great way to see your work from another angle. By adjusting the fonts, your mind will see the content as something new and let you have a fresh mindset.
- Read the content aloud. An easy way to proofread your work is by audibly saying the words. It will be easier to find the mistakes as you may hear that something doesn’t sound right.
- Ask for a second opinion – You can ask someone to check your spelling, sentence structure, and the form of the content in general. Their feedback might give you something that you may have missed when editing.
Step 5. Preview and Review
The last and final step of content editing is to preview your work before publishing it to your site. You can use the preview function available on the CMS platform to see how it will look once it is posted.
You can adjust the content based on what you see in the preview. Most of the time, you’ll find that some images need formatting, some paragraphs or headings might seem too long, or you might need to restructure your writing.
Even after you’ve posted the content on your site, you should go back and review the writing one last time to make sure that everything is where it is supposed to be and that the flow of the writing is exactly as you wanted – smooth and precise with no errors.
You’re Ready to Post
Now you know what content editing is, why it is essential, and how to edit & proofread. All that’s left now is for you to start writing and editing your content.
Yes, it will be a challenge at first, but you’ll slowly learn to become an excellent content editor. Remember to utilize the tools mentioned below to help you edit and proofread better.
To summarize, here’s what can lend you a helping hand at editing:
- Yoast SEO – a plugin for optimizing each page as a whole.
- Surfer SEO – a plugin for optimizing the text.
- Grammarly and Ginger – tools to check for grammar mistakes and provide better suggestions.
- Hemingway – a tool that helps with simplifying the text and making it easier to read.
Some of these tools are free, some are paid. But they’re all invaluable when it comes to editing and producing the highest quality content.