No matter what kind of content you write and what the subject matter is, you need to have a thorough editing process in place. This will ensure your content is clear, concise and informative – and also memorable. But the best online content takes useful, well-written information and also employs SEO tactics to make sure it gets found.
These content editing tips will help make sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Know your goals
Presumably, you know why you’re writing this content. Think about the purpose it serves for your brand and your audience – the introduction needs to address this purpose and compel people to read on. Be clear on what information you’re offering and let people know that the more they read, the more value they’ll get. When you’re editing, try to read your opening paragraphs as if you’ve never read the article before. Are the key points there? Is there a hook? If not, rewrite.
Copycat content is not memorable, but you don’t have to be controversial or inflammatory just to find a unique content angle. If there’s a new perspective or an insight you can offer that no one else can, be sure to make that clear in your writing. Finding creative ways to demonstrate your expertise in your field is what keeps your work at the front of people’s minds. When you’re editing a piece of content, consider whether your offering feels unique or special. If it doesn’t, it’s time to rework the copy.
Keep it concise
It can be easy to go off on tangents or to get carried away with excessive language that turns a great piece into something cluttered and unclear. As well as going back over your writing yourself, it’s a good idea to get at least one pair of extra eyes on it.
A section that you think is witty and interesting might come across as word vomit to somebody else, or it might contain a great idea that isn’t fully relevant and could be used for another piece. Filtering out excess blurb means you’re more likely to keep people’s attention. It also helps them to find the information they need more easily.
Make sure it’s found
Before you publish anything on your site, make sure it’s earning its keep. Do some keyword research and find out which high volume terms you could be ranking for, and be sure to add an effective title tag and meta description that will entice people in from the results page.
- Include your target phrase or keyword toward the beginning of your meta information where possible
- Remember to keep titles under 55 characters and descriptions between 150 to 160 characters, to make the most of your space on the search results pages
- When it comes to actually putting keywords into the body of your text, be sure to only add them where it makes sense
This might mean re-editing certain sections so the keywords appear naturally, but it’s a lot better than trying to force them into your copy and ending up with something that doesn’t read well.
Subheadings, bullet points and numbered lists are all good ways of breaking up text. As well as working better on mobile, smaller sections of text are more easily digested by Google (as well as your target audience).
Come back with a fresh pair of eyes
The best thing to do at this stage is to get another editor to cast their eye over your work and look for anything you’ve missed. At the very least, step away from the content and come back to it when you’ve been doing something else for a while. The likelihood is you’ll notice things you didn’t notice the first time around, or may even spot new ways to optimise the content that you hadn’t previously thought would work.
Think before you publish
- Are your goals clear?
- Is the content unique or memorable?
- Could it be more succinct?
- Have you applied SEO tactics?
- Has it been properly reviewed?
Editing is a crucial part of the content production process. Done well, it’s the difference between copy that gets lost in the ether and copy that drives interest and interaction. Work through the steps above to make sure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Chad Harwood-Jones is managing director of content marketing agency, Ad-Rank Media, which specialises in planning and implementing large-scale content projects with expertise in natural search, SEO and digital PR.