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With so many guides on editing online content, it’s almost impressive how many bloggers and social media writers manage to ignore that aspect.
They keep posting draft versions that make real readers lose their interest after few sentences.
The process of understanding what your readers want is long and challenging. The sooner you realize that they want to read polished, clean content, the greater your success will be.
Why do you need to publish edited content?
1. You need to be better than your competition.
Think about it: you’re not the only one who publishes posts in the particular niche.
There is hardly a topic that hasn’t been elaborated by multiple bloggers and social media writers.
Take one very confusing, unstructured post on one side, and readable, organized content on the other. Which one would attract more readers and comments?
2. Grammar is more important than you think!
“Write as you think” is a nice advice to follow when you want to sound genuine. That doesn’t mean you should neglect grammar, spelling, and syntax.
If you simply write from your inspiration, you will end up with a chaotic piece. No one will read an entire post of that type.
Even if you are careful during the writing process, you cannot end up with perfectly-polished content without editing it.
3. You’ll notice your own mistakes.
When you are stuck with an idea, it’s easy to get carried away.
Let’s say you are elaborating the psychological background of women who prefer to commit to their careers instead of family life. This is a sensitive issue, so a great deal of your readers may end up offended.
The editing process will enable you to balance out the arguments and find an acceptable way to rely on freedom of speech without crossing the line. That’s hard to achieve in the first version you write.
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How to edit blog and social media content?
1. Make the sentences powerful!
Don’t try to sound smart; try to be convincing instead!
It doesn’t matter whether you are writing for the general audience or a specific base of highly-intellectual readers; the Internet is a place where people look for content that’s easy to comprehend.
When you are going through the content you just wrote, make sure it’s written in concise language. Long sentences are acceptable only if you know your way around them.
If you don’t organize their structure well, the reader’s mind will be scattered in different directions.
2. Use the right editing tools!
With so many opportunities that can make the editing process more effective, it would be a shame to rely on MS Word’s Spelling and Grammar feature. These are some of the online tools you should try:
3. Leave space between the writing and editing process.
You’ve probably heard this before, but you need a reminder until you start practicing the strategy.
If you edit and proofread the content right after you write it, you won’t be able to spot all minor and major mistakes.
You’ll be mostly focused on spelling issues and you’ll probably ignore the essence of the post in the hurry to publish it as soon as possible.
If, on the other hand, you allow the post to “sit” at least for few hours (a day is necessary for your longer, more important publications), you’ll notice a peculiar thing: the content doesn’t seem as perfect as it was when you wrote it.
Thus, you will be able to spot the flaws and correct them before exposing yourself to brutally honest comments.
4. Try to make it shorter!
You planned to write a 500-word post, but somehow ended up with extra 300 words? That calls for drastic measures.
The attention span of blog and social media readers is not that great. For them, less is always more.
Unless your audience specifically requires detailed, lengthy posts, you should get rid of all unnecessary parts. Make sure the content is free of overused words and excessive usage of adverbs and adjectives.
5. Learn from the mistakes!
No matter how diligent you are through the editing process, perfection is nearly impossible to achieve.
All readers have different preferences, so you might still get comments of dissatisfaction. Don’t take them wrong!
Pick yourself up and learn from the feedback of your audience. Analyze the things you’ve done wrong and try to improve your overall style.
Robert Morris is a writer and editor from NYC. Follow Robert on Google+!