Content Editing for Blog Articles (Before You Hit Publish)

The only kind of writing is rewriting.

Ernest Hemingway

This is from a man who said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times before he was satisfied.

In other words, great content is birthed through thorough editing.

Why?

Because it will be almost a miracle to have a masterpiece at first draft. 

Mr. Hermingway was an accomplished author yet he never got it right at first draft. The same can be said of many professional writers. 

Content Editing vs Book Editing

While authors are most times not under time constraints or pressure to get their books published, the same cannot be said for content creators, especially blog article writers.

So it will be rare for you to find yourself in a position where you have to edit your blog articles thirty-nine times or more before you publish. 

Personally, I edit my blog posts as much as ten times or as low as two while trying to balance creating great content within a limited time. 

The Content Editing Process

During the editing process of your blog posts, what exactly are the things to look out for to help you create amazing blog articles that everyone will love to identify with? 

This article guides you on how to edit your blog articles to a point where you are confident that your article will be appreciated by both elites and the uninformed alike. 

And don’t worry.

They’re simple tasks that turn that raw first draft into a masterpiece.

Task #1 – Cool Off

Even if you are pressed for time to finish a blog article, you still need to take your mind off your first draft and do something else. 

It is always better to start editing your first draft after you’ve cooled off because it helps to make you look at the article in a fresh perspective.

Task #2 – Run a grammar check

I hate to see wrong spellings as much as you do! And I can’t help attacking them upfront. 

Running a grammar check helps me focus on more important factors when I start editing instead of wasting my time on correcting something an app can quickly help me do.

Task #3 – Reaffirm Your Goal

Whether you are writing for your own blog or for a client, you need to make sure your article focuses on a particular goal. 

This is what differentiates great freelance writers from amatures.

Why?

Because no matter how good you think your article is, if it doesn’t meet your client’s goal, he won’t be satisfied.

Have that in mind when next you’re taking a gig and ask your client what he wants to achieve with the article.

Likewise, if you are writing for your blog or that of your company, make sure to reaffirm your goal and keep it in mind when you start editing.

This will guide you to make sure the blog article doesn’t fall out of line.

Task #4 – A Major Overhaul

With the goal in mind, do a complete overhaul where necessary of entire sentences and paragraphs.

Here, you add or remove certain sentences or phrases that don’t align with the message, reposition paragraphs, add new paragraphs or remove existing ones all with one intent – to make the message clear.

While doing a major overhaul, check out for the following: 

  • Fluff: Sentences that don’t add any meaning to the article
  • Sentences that are repeating what has already been written. Many writers fall into this danger. They say the same thing over and over again using different sentences sometimes without knowing. Cut them out.
  • Remove as much passive voice as possible.
  • Cut out unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Too much of them can detract from the message.
  • Look out for the following and cut them out where necessary – “that”, “in order to”. Most often than not, they add no real meaning to a sentence.
  • Are there things (Like charts, images, links to good resources etc.) that I can add to make my content more valuable?

This stage of the content editing process is probably where the major editing work is done. The rest is just like the icing on the cake.

Task #5 – Have a structure

A good blog article structure will have the intro, body (containing the main content with major points broken down into sub-heads) and a closing. Check out our extensive article on how to write great blog articles.

Intro

The first sentence or paragraph in your blog article should be carefully crafted to draw the reader in. Many professional writers use questions, quotes or even a story to start their blog articles, and they have proven to do the trick.

Body

The body of your article is where you deliver the main content. Always use sub-headings (H2) to break up the major points (H3) to break it up even further.

Use images, charts, tables, videos where necessary – whatever it takes to drive home your point.

Closing

It’s good practice to wrap up your article. This lets your readers know they’ve reached the end of your content.

Task #6 – Flow

Make sure your visitors smoothly glide through your article from one sentence to the other, one paragraph to the other with ease. 

To do this, try to use as many transition words as possible in your article. 

These are words that make your article come alive and keep your visitors glued to their screen. 

Also use the transition words to break up clunky paragraphs and add some “softness” to your work

Content editing paragraphs
Image of clunky paragraphs vs smooth one

Task #7 – Formatting

For emphasis sake, you may need to make some words bold, italicize or even make the font size bigger. 

If you added images, videos, tables or charts, make sure they are the right size and have the alt text and titles properly written to make it easy for search engines to know what it is all about.

Task #8 – Re-run a grammar check

While doing the major overhaul of sentences and paragraphs, you must have added new words and edited existing ones. You need to make sure the new inputs are all spelt correctly, except of course, if the misspelling is intentional.

Task #9 – Work on Headline

You may want to work on this part when you’re done with the article.  It’ll make you have a complete feel of the whole article so that you will craft a headline that correctly represents what the article is all about.

Use tools like Sharethrough Headline and AMI headline analyzer to analyze the strength of your headlines. See more of such tools.

assignment

Editing Checklist

Would you like a print-ready 20 point checklist for editing your blog article, so you never have to worry about missing a thing when you hit publish? Get it here.

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