April 05, 2017
Content writing is a booming industry these days. Since every company needs an online presence to be competitive, and being found online requires good search engine rankings, and good search engine rankings rely heavily on useful, relevant content, it’s easy to see why content writers are in high demand.
The unfortunate part in this content writing explosion is that many people seem to mistakenly believe that understanding and being able to write words in the English language makes them a content writer. It doesn’t, and some people should definitely stick to their day jobs because there is more than enough low-quality junk on the internet.
With that mini-rant over, I should note that whether you are scraping the bottom of the barrel or are among the content writing elite, self-editing is a skill that you need to know to make your writing better. Your clients do not enjoy having to go through your work and make corrections. The odd mistake is understandable, but once they lose their trust in you, that’s that. And quite often, the key is how you’ve edited your own work.
Here are a few non-technical self-editing concepts for content creators that will enable you to deliver high-quality content on a more consistent basis.
Laziness is a primary factor when it comes to handing in subpar work. Yes, you’ve researched and written, and maybe passed it through a grammar tool, but that’s not enough. If you slack off when it comes to reading through your own work, then you deserve what you get.
Whether you are editing one piece or several, give yourself permission to take breaks. When we get tired, we tend to skim and our eyes can play tricks on us. When you feel fatigue creeping in, take a few minutes away from the screen and then come back, refreshed. That’s not to say you should be missing deadlines, but time management tips is another post.
Believe me when I say I know how it feels to have the finish line in sight and want to speed through the self-editing to wrap up a busy day of writing. It’s tempting, but don’t do it if you want to hand in high-quality stuff consistently. Rushing leads to skimming as mentioned above, which leads to missing the little details, as mentioned below.
Always try to keep in mind that it is those little details that can take a quality piece of content and make it seem amateurish and weak. When you write “on” instead of “in” or use the wrong form of “their” or have incorrect subject / verb agreements, it makes the writing suffer. See how all these points are related? Don’t be lazy. Take breaks when you’re tired and slow down to catch the little issues that will make people think your content is weak.
And through it all, try not to treat yourself any differently than you would another writer. Look at the words objectively, and don’t give yourself any preferential treatment because you are you. It isn’t necessary to be savagely critical, but don’t be giving free rides that may affect the result.
If you’re in a category where you don’t know what should and shouldn’t be edited in your content, then you should be doing something else or take your content writing education back to square one. For the rest of you, try these tips and see if you start catching those little issues that have been getting out into the real world.
If you’d like more information about editing, or need a comprehensive content solution, give The Content Company a call today at 888.221.5041.
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