There’s not a day that goes by without a new article posted about how to write compelling content — whether for Facebook, for a blog or some other content marketing venue.
That’s great, but make no mistake: It’s not enough. Writing is obviously an important part of the equation, but I would argue that it’s no more important than editing, which isn’t nearly as sexy and isn’t nearly as talked about.
In fact, as a writer by trade, I’ll go as far as to say that editing is as critical to the content creation process as anything. Most any writer, famous or not, will tell you the same thing: A piece of content really takes its shape and comes to life during the revision phase. That’s true of novels and poems, and it’s true of blog posts and branded tweets.
There are tons of great tools out there to improve your content in the editing process, but before you do anything, revising your own work comes first.
More Than Just Proofreading
And by the way: When I say editing, I don’t just mean proofreading — though that’s definitely something you should be doing. Working all the typos out of your writing is significant, but it’s only the start of the editing process.
Choosing a Title
Be honest: Is it interesting? Would you click that title to read it, if you saw it come up on Facebook or Google? If you think it’s boring, then your audience will too; and if your audience thinks it’s boring then they won’t read it, which means the whole thing is a waste of your time. Use the editing process to look back over your completed document and ensure that it’s attention-grabbing and attention-keeping, and that whatever title or headline you picked fits the tone and message of the content.
Remember that a blog post should basically have one idea, perhaps supported with a few sub-points. And if a blog post needs to be that single-minded, you can bet that Facebook posts and tweets need to be likewise. Can you boil down your post into a basic point, or do you need to think about trimming some of your tangents — or even splitting the post into two posts? And are your points laid out in a way that is logical and smooth-flowing? Do you have effective transitions in place?
Think about offering some support to your points. As you re-read your content, ask yourself if there are any external resources or past blog posts that are relevant and link-worthy.
Is it SEO-friendly?
A final editing question to consider: What about your SEO? What would you say are the keywords in your piece? Does your content reflect that keyword, and does the keyword fit into it naturally — or is it shoehorned in?
These are all points to think about before you write, of course, but you can consider them a bit more comprehensively once you have a completed draft in front of you. I’d encourage a content marketer to spend more time on the editing process — because frankly, this is where content really comes to life; it’s where you make sure your content will help you reach your marketing goals.