I watch a lot of YouTube videos about the best ways to clean your bathroom.
In fact, I realized that I spend way more time watching “hacks, tricks, and tips” about how to efficiently clean a bathroom than I do actually cleaning my bathroom.
Given the hundreds of thousands of views on these types of videos, perhaps it’s not just me. And I started thinking … this might be similar to bloggers who read about editing tips.
Editing, like cleaning a bathroom, isn’t always the most fun, so bloggers might spend more time reading about editing tips than actually implementing them.
We’d like to have a polished bathroom or a polished blog post — we just don’t always want to perform the work required to produce that shiny end result.
The 10 modern editing tips I’ll share today should invigorate you to put in the elbow grease … at least when it comes to your writing.
1. Become the Editor-in-Chief of your blog
Even though blogs have been around for a long time, some people may still associate them with sloppy, weak information posted on a website. And that’s what some blogs are.
But that’s not what you publish on your business website.
While the writing rules you follow certainly depend on the audience you serve, your presentation must be thoughtful.
Blog posts that work for your business ideally satisfy a need for both you and your readers.
Here’s my definition of an Editor-in-Chief that serious bloggers like you can use to demonstrate your commitment to quality:
Editor-in-Chief (noun): a person who assumes complete responsibility for, and ownership of, all of the communication he or she puts out into the world to enable a self-directed, creative career.
2. Build editing momentum
You don’t start physical exercise without some gentle stretches, and you probably don’t even start drafting a blog post without some writing warm-ups.
So, don’t just jump straight into editing your writing without some preparation either.
Instead, energize your brain to tame wild words with your audience’s best interest in mind.
You want to feel ready to shape and craft your text rather than simply read it.
To build momentum to edit with ease, begin your editing routine by:
- Reading your favorite authors for inspiration
- Studying the structure of the lyrics in a song from your favorite musical artist
- Writing free-form creative content that is separate from your blog
Those are just a few activities you can try. How do you get ready to edit? Share in the comments below at the end of this post.
3. Bond with your audience over a shared worldview
And you don’t always need to write more to create the most engaging, useful, content possible. Sometimes you might just need to arrange your ideas in a way that is easy to consume.
That may include:
- Revising your headline or subheadlines
- Adding bullet points
- Rearranging your sentences or paragraphs
- Deleting confusing tangents
- Turning a long blog post into a series
Editing is more than just checking for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s your opportunity to extract your winning difference from your draft and shine a spotlight on it.
4. Sleep with one eye (and one ear) open
We know writers are always working, so look for meaningful snippets everywhere, even if they seem to have nothing to do with the topics you write about.
Why is this an editing tip?
Your draft may be a straightforward article that offers helpful information, but during the editing process you can infuse it with your own writing voice and incorporate interesting elements that hook readers on your blog’s style.
Go ahead, make the competition irrelevant.
More on writing voice on the blog tomorrow …
5. Ask yourself questions
It’s common to take a break after writing before you begin editing to help clear your mind. After all, it’s difficult to review your own writing objectively.
Another thing you can do is ask yourself critical questions about your content:
- Does this introduction explain why someone should keep reading?
- Is there too much hype and not enough value?
- Can I simplify this point?
Since your headline is always a good place to start, check out: Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Craft Better Headlines.
6. Add carbonation to your flat water
Plain water is fine, but isn’t sparkling water a little more fun?
As you examine your draft, vary your word choice and fine-tune your language throughout your post — especially at the beginning of paragraphs.
For example, if you begin the majority of your paragraphs with “Something you could try …,” or “Make sure …,” the text is going to look repetitive to a reader.
Also, take a look at the list items in this post. They aren’t merely “1. Edit,” “2. Proofread,” etc. They state unpredictable, unusual actions that guide the reader through the post in an unexpected way.
Be an artist. Play with your words and look for different ways to present your ideas.
7. Bring an umbrella (just in case it rains)
It happens to the best of us. We can all get a little … wordy.
Shield your final draft from extra explanations with your trusty word-repellant umbrella.
Aim to not get too attached to your words and swiftly cut out sections of your draft if they don’t benefit your audience. (Save them for later because they might fit perfectly into a different post!)
You want your article to be complete, but communicate your main message in a precise way.
8. Complete a “revision triangle”
Once you’ve set up a post in WordPress:
- Edit in the Text Editor screen
- Proofread in the Text Editor screen
- Proofread once again in Preview mode
I call this a “revision triangle” because a triangle has three sides and these are three steps that help ensure you have thoroughly reviewed your writing.
Since many mistakes are often not caught until you proofread, let’s look at my favorite proofreading technique.
9. Keep the reader in your created reality
In the draft of this post, I accidentally typed “learn” instead of “clean”, “person” instead of “perhaps,” and “always” instead of “also.”
If these errors had published, they would have jolted readers out of the experience I created for them.
They could reread the text and figure out my true intentions, but that’s a bit disappointing for readers — and extra work for them.
Catch these types of mistakes by proofreading from the end of your post to the beginning in Preview mode.
Remember that proofreading is not reading.
You need to slowly inspect each word in your draft.
10. Zig when others zag
This tip is also known as “double-check details other bloggers may overlook.”
Properly attribute any quotations you use and verify their accuracy (no missing or incorrect words).
Look up the exact names of companies and products. You don’t want to write “MasterMix 300” when the product you’re talking about is actually called “Master MixIt 2000.”
It’s easy to skip over hyperlinked text when you proofread, so give those words special attention.
Fact-check event information, such as the day of the week, date, and time.
There isn’t just one set of editing tips that help your blog stand out; you build respect and trust by getting the details right over time.
Strengthen your editing habits to differentiate your blog
Now that we’ve got a handle on practical editing techniques we can all use this year, I’ll resolve to also stay on top of my cleaning chores.
Should I straighten up the area around my bathroom sink?
It’s a start.