If you're ready to hire a content editor, but don't know where to start, consider this ...
Think back to a time when you've read a blog post, listened to a podcast episode, or watched a video and thought:
“I sort of get what this person is saying — and I think I agree — but it’s difficult to follow their main points. The content feels incomplete.”
When readers, listeners, and viewers have reactions like that, your content becomes forgettable ... which prevents people from sharing your content and subscribing to get more.
Conversely, when your content resonates with your target audience, your platform becomes a resource those individuals will remember and return to ...
If you want your reader, listener, or viewer to share and subscribe, rather than hesitate and move on, incorporate the following two elements into your editorial review:
Keep reading to find out why they complement each other and how you can put both structure and intrigue to work in your own writing.
Here are my definitions of Structure and Intrigue, for the purpose of evaluating your writing.
Structure: The intentional order in which you present the message of your content and its supporting points. It’s an outline that ensures your content is complete, without logical fallacies or misleading phrases that cause confusion.
Intrigue: The fascinating details that make your content unique. These are the characteristics that make people say, “I love that” or “I hate that,” rather than “I don’t remember that.”
Structure isn’t always the most exciting subject to talk about, but it’s essential to set your Structure before you infuse your content with your personality.
Think of it like this:
You need a strong foundation before you stamp your content with your special brand. Your audience will appreciate your unique qualities and creativity much more when you intentionally plan your Structure.
No matter how effortless smart content may look, it takes a lot of effort to produce a cohesive content presentation.
Once that foundation is in place, you’re well-positioned to add Intrigue and give your audience a reason to consume your content rather than look elsewhere.
For example, if an issue arises in your industry or a big event happens, where do you go to get more information? Which person or brand do you want to hear from?
When you want an opinion or analysis from a specific person or website, that specific person or website doesn’t just produce “content” — they produce value that you’ll use to learn more about a topic.
And they’ve achieved that highly regarded status of trust in your mind because they’ve balanced Structure and Intrigue.
This type of craft makes your content exceptional because it hooks the prospects you attract.
After you write a draft of your content, use the steps below to assess and refine its Structure and level of Intrigue.
If you have trouble with any of these steps (particularly #3), you likely need to spend more time nailing down the best Structure for your content.
What type of presentation will help your audience understand your ideas? How can you clarify your intentions?
If you have trouble with any of these steps (particularly #3), you likely need to spend more time nailing down what makes you and your content unique.
Could you use some help with that?
Starting today, you can add expert editorial oversight to your content production without disrupting the workflow of your team.
I partner with highly profitable businesses whose marketing teams care about immaculate communication and integrity in their publishing.
Welcome to the grand re-opening of ...
Revision Fairy Premium Editorial Consulting ...
... the easy way to produce content that attracts and grows an audience, featuring my proven content editing method.
I'll provide you with an error-free draft annotated with additional suggestions for improvement.
Since 1998 I've had jobs writing and editing, but in 2008 I created Revision Fairy as the original Editor-in-Chief as a Service.
It was full-service, outsourced editorial consulting for content teams.
In 2014, my work with Revision Fairy as an outsourced editorial service landed me a full-time, in-house job: Editor-in-Chief of Copyblogger Media.
For 9 years at Copyblogger Media, I ...
And now Revision Fairy is back!
... so I can offer you the same editorial expertise.
Get quality assurance from the human who deeply understands interesting writing that hooks other humans.
I've personally written more than 2,000 pages of articles. (No joke. I went back and counted.)
And when it comes to content editing, I've supervised the editorial production of thousands of articles.
I’m a “go big or go home” kind of gal. And when it comes to content marketing today, that translates to “have editorial standards or don’t publish.”
If a reader, listener, or viewer begins to like you, but you fail to earn their trust, your hard work will feel like a waste.
With the ongoing rise of AI, your content has an opportunity to stand out if you effectively review drafts written by other writers (human or AI).
The right type of editing turns those drafts into content that’s engaging and valuable enough to grow an audience of interested prospects.
Editorial standards are essentially rules that help you establish and uphold your reputation as a trustworthy resource for your audience.
Instead of having an “anything goes” approach to your editorial department, you decide ahead of time what is appropriate or not appropriate for your publication.
I’m particularly fond of this other cool part:
Editorial standards also give you the freedom to be creative, or straight-up weird, as long as your content is built on a foundation that serves your audience.
These are often the winning details a robot could never compete with …
Let's look at the 3Fs of editorial standards that you can use to evaluate whether or not a piece of content is a proper reflection of you or your client.
A simple question used to work for a fitness assessment: “Is this information relevant and useful for the audience I serve?”
That’s not enough anymore, because there’s no room for “Captain Obvious” content that might have passed that test before.
Don’t be afraid to address topics other people in your niche cover. But saying the exact same thing in the exact same way will make you think content marketing doesn’t work.
Fact-checking is an editorial standard that helps you always share solid information with your audience.
With this step, you review the details that sloppy content creators fail to verify.
Here are five of my favorite items to fact-check that elevate the quality of your writing:
Everyone accidentally publishes mistakes every once in a while, but consistent accuracy brings visitors back to your site.
Formatting may sound boring, but it’s a classic part of print publications that benefits digital publications as well.
You’re able to offer a variety of voices through different pieces of content because formatting helps each article look like it belongs to the same publication.
It’s a way to tie together perspectives that all serve your target audience.
If your content marketing isn't getting you the results you’re hoping for (i.e., no one pays attention to your writing), you might be the perfect match for Revision Fairy.
No one knows your company better than you. Let me help you organize and spread your ideas ...
My proven content editing method helps you build an audience of interested prospects who know, like, and trust you.
First, you'll become someone's favorite writer ... and then another person's ... and then another person's ...
Revision Fairy polishes content that attracts and hooks an engaged audience.
Here's how Revision Fairy works ...
This means you now can get the same type of editorial review for your content as one of the top content marketing and copywriting websites in the world! (VentureBeat called Copyblogger, "The bible of content marketing.")
Here's some feedback I've received recently ...
"Great thoughts on getting past the barrier of 'Am I good enough?'" – Duncan S.
"I've been a slave to perfectionism for a long time, in many aspects of my life, and finding tools and reasons to work beyond it will be a big part of this process for me. Thanks for your expertise!" – Kyle W.
"I spent the first month of my new editor job alternating between feeling like an abject dunce and a complete fraud. I sought out any help I could get. Your channel was the only YouTube source of writing and editing advice I followed. What drew me in was your authenticity. Your videos reminded me of old school YouTube — a time when this medium was raw and real and stripped down. I suppose, in that way, it represented the philosophy I wanted to follow as an editor: to strip away the fat, the unnecessary, and leave only what's required ... though if I'm honest, that's a perspective I've only gotten in retrospect. What drew me in was your clear love and passion for writing. You didn't game the algorithm or draw out minutes for clicks in an environment that (at the time) rewarded the golden ten-minute mark. Instead, you kept each video concise, only giving what was necessary. There's a poetic nature to a video that embodies the lesson it imparts, and cheesy as this may sound, there's a nobility in making soulful content that your environment doesn't reward." – Trent M.
And here are some other comments I've received over the years ...
"I simply want to tell you that your YOUTUBE content is fantastic. I listen to every one of them ( BTW, I was sub #14 I think ).
- Please continue, don't second guess a thing.
- Most of all I want you to know you ARE changing my life with your efforts." – Peter M.
"I never thought I'd see a Billy Idol lyric in a Copyblogger post so you just became my favourite writer (true story)." – Icy S.
"I was looking to create content like this on my blog but wasn’t sure how to lay it out. This definitely gives me some ideas and will use it as a template for some of my future posts." – Jeremy H.
"Thank you. I’m sending this to my team now. Our website does well in converting but on a new page we rank #1 for in local has almost no conversions (yet is its our 5th most visited page in organic search). I’m going to implement this concept and let you know the results." – David H.
"I have read a lots of these type of articles before, where they beautifully create a buildup for the next episode and you actually look forward to it and now I know how they actually do it. Many thanks!" – Ron P.
"Thanks for these great tips! I’ve been posting articles on my blog for the past 2 years but never understood how important it is to guest post. I’m definitely going to give this a go. Thanks again!" – Keith G.
Is your website helping you achieve your business goals with your current level of content editing and proofreading, or could you possibly benefit from more substantial revisions?
It’s common for new writers to wonder if there’s a difference between content editing and content proofreading.
While they’re both part of the revision process after you write a draft, they are indeed distinct activities. And more importantly, you should treat them as distinct activities if you’re looking to better connect with your readers.
In short, content editing will refine your writing into the best presentation for your audience. Content proofreading will ensure that there are no mistakes or goofs that could disrupt your reader’s experience or damage your credibility as a content creator.
See how they’re both important?
Editing and proofreading are also both part of the artistic process when you’re aiming to craft content that serves your audience as well as your business.
Let's take a look at a few questions you can ask yourself about your website.
If you’ve never written down an answer to this question, your response will provide a lot more direction for your content than just how to proceed with editing and proofreading.
Your reason for publishing is almost a prerequisite before you set the content marketing strategy for your blog. It helps guide the topics you write about, as well as your publishing schedule.
Your ideal audience members guide the type of writing you publish just as much as your motivations for publishing.
If the people you aim to serve will be turned off by consistent grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, spending time carefully proofreading and editing your work is a good idea.
If you’re having trouble retaining visitors and getting subscribers, I'd recommend creating a more robust experience for your readers with a diligent content editing and proofreading process.
You might need to more content editing more if you’re not focused on specific marketing goals that support your business.
The mistakes you correct and the winning details you uncover during a thorough proofreading and editing process often help you connect with your target audience and nurture prospects who are interested in doing business with you.
When you treat your blog like a professional publication, you’re more likely to produce better content that is tailored to your audience’s preferences.
Your readers are looking for information on a topic from someone they like and trust, so you have an opportunity to become the resource they’re looking for ...
You might need to proofread more if your content regularly has multiple glaring errors that make your blog look sloppy.
It’s as simple as that.
Demonstrate that you value your readers’ time. If you want their attention, it makes sense to focus your attention on details.
That's a great start!
Clear, coherent, focused writing that is easy to understand typically uses proper grammar and spelling.
As an editor, I shouldn’t be picky about how someone achieves that goal. If there are free (and paid) digital tools that help someone who writes clarify their message, that’s a good thing.
But as a writer, grammar checkers irk me when they are regarded as tools that will improve your content.
And that’s why I chose the words “someone who writes” above.
Are you someone who writes or are you a writer?
You may scoff at me seemingly splitting hairs, but the difference is significant for professional writers today.
Your grammar checker will never be your editor.
A piece of computer software doesn’t know your company and your brand.
Editors help content marketers produce engaging and entertaining experiences for their audiences. They’re trained professionals who continually spend time honing their skills.
They know grammar, yes, but they also know how nuanced good writing is.
Getting writing suggestions from computer software isn’t equivalent to content editing and proofreading a draft.
So, when someone uses a grammar checker as their “editing process,” it’s almost an insult to the craft of writing.
This is the crux of the matter.
You have to know the rules to break the rules and push yourself creatively.
Good writers have learned grammar and usage. They don’t need to rely on a piece of software. And if they write something that isn’t quite grammatically sound, their writing doesn’t look sloppy.
Checking your grammar is about the bare minimum you can do, and proper grammar doesn’t necessarily communicate a distinct voice or strengthen weaknesses in your writing.
When immediately publishing content after running a draft through a grammar checker is an acceptable practice, we end up with an avalanche of mediocre content.
A good portion of that mediocre content is boring and forgettable. Does it have exquisite grammar? Perhaps. But no one pays attention to it because it’s boring.
Proper grammar alone doesn’t persuade anyone to care about your social media update, email newsletter, or blog post.
It doesn’t convince someone to choose your company.
There’s a reason why basic grammar checkers are free …
Proper grammar is cheap.
But your connection with your audience through sophisticated content is priceless.
If you rely on a grammar checker to “fix” your writing — without learning those language rules to become a better editor, writer, and content marketer — you’re just going through the motions of content marketing.
And going through the motions will lead to disappointing results.
It’s superficial. It’s not strategic.
But you can go deeper, stand out, and publish a professional publication by returning to a standard of immaculate communication.
When you become a Revision Fairy client, you'll learn how to:
Revision Fairy is the simple way to hire a content editor who helps you become someone's favorite writer.
100% Intelligence. 0% Artificial.
© 2008 – 2023 Stefanie Flaxman