Tag Archive | "Editing"

RSA editing comes to Google Ads app

Negative keyword management is also now available in the app.



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Master the Part of Editing that Has Nothing to Do with Grammar, Spelling, or Punctuation

If you want your content marketing team to run like a well-oiled machine, there’s one factor that matters more than…

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Marketing 101: Copywriting vs. Copy Editing vs. Content Writing

Here’s a quick guide to help you differentiate between similar roles and find the person with the skill sets you need for your websites, blogs, print ads, direct mail letters, brochures, product spec sheets, catalogs, etc.
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Struggling to Finish Your Blog Post? Try This Quick Editing Tip

Publishing content regularly — and striving to improve with each new creation — is a proven way to figure out how to serve your audience and meet your business goals. But I have other things to do besides writing content, and you do too. Recently, I had trouble finishing a draft of a post and
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How I Learned to Love (Ruthless) Editing

I love editing. It is, by far, my most favorite part of writing. I love editing my own work, other people’s work, bad copy on my dentist’s website … Give me a rough draft with poor sentence structure and I’ll entertain myself for hours. Most writers seem to have a tenuous relationship with editing. And
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Does Your Blog Need Editing and Proofreading?

"These tools help you evaluate your current publishing process." – Stefanie Flaxman

You might think that I’d recommend a thorough editing and proofreading process for every blog.

But that’s not the case.

Since I don’t know enough about your blog to answer the question I pose in the headline of this article for you, I want to provide tools that will help you evaluate your own publication.

Is your content successful with your current level of editing and proofreading, or would you benefit from more substantial revisions?

I’m a loyal follower of the Socratic method, so we’re going to explore the colossal question, “Does your blog need editing and proofreading?” by asking more questions. ”</p

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10 Modern Editing Tips for Meticulous Bloggers

protractor, ruler, and gray pencil - copyblogger

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 do.

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:

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

As I mentioned above, your blog post should be a thoughtful presentation that considers your audience’s desires, hopes, and needs.

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:

  1. Edit in the Text Editor screen
  2. Proofread in the Text Editor screen
  3. 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.

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3 Editing and Proofreading Lessons to Help You Elevate the Quality of Your Content

Copyblogger Collection - build authority with careful quality control

Let’s compare bland content to plain bread.

Plain content bread isn’t going to build an authority sandwich for your business; it’s fairly easy to produce and many other places offer it.

Editing and proofreading are the peppercorn-crusted turkey and applewood-smoked bacon you need to layer on top of your plain content bread.

With peppercorn-crusted turkey and applewood-smoked bacon (and maybe even some Dijon mustard or horseradish mayonnaise), you’re able to craft an engaging experience for readers — something savory, a little spicy, and more robust than all the other plain content bread out there.

Building an audience is hard work because you have to offer people an experience they don’t get anywhere else. The winning details that make your content a go-to resource can emerge during the time you take to edit and proofread.

This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:

  • How to objectively review your own writing
  • How to transform your content into persuasive and shareable works of art
  • How to catch more writing mistakes with an underutilized proofreading trick

As you work your way through the material below, think of the following lessons as a mini editing and proofreading course.


The Traffic Light Revision Technique for Meticulously Editing Your Own Writing

traffic-light-revision-technique

I can give you an example of how editing played an important role when I wrote the introductory paragraphs above.

I originally compared editing and proofreading to “peanut butter and jelly.”

A draft of the opening section was complete with this analogy, but when I reviewed it, “peanut butter and jelly” didn’t contain enough details to support my point. I wanted to communicate a more vivid picture.

The Traffic Light Revision Technique for Meticulously Editing Your Own Writing will help you objectively review your work.

It outlines how to pinpoint portions of your text that you can develop further to create more precise and potent content.


15 Copy Editing Tips that Can Transform Your Content into Persuasive and Shareable Works of Art

copy-editing-tips

Next up, check out 15 Copy Editing Tips that Can Transform Your Content into Persuasive and Shareable Works of Art.

Once you’ve edited your draft to your satisfaction, copy editing further refines your writing so that readers effortlessly comprehend your message.

During in-person communication, you can rephrase your verbal speech if you observe a puzzled or clueless look on someone’s face. With writing, you don’t get the luxury of such feedback until after you’ve published.

At that point, you don’t get another chance to explain yourself; a reader will simply stop reading.

Your attention to detail demonstrates that you care about your audience’s experience — which sets your content apart from sloppy or convoluted writing.


Catch More Writing Mistakes with This Underutilized Proofreading Trick

smart-proofreading-trick

After you prepare your peppercorn-crusted turkey and applewood-smoked bacon authority sandwich, it’s time to present it to your audience to build the relationships that build your business.

But there’s one more step to solidify your efforts: proofreading.

While you may have corrected grammar mistakes and typos when editing or copy editing, proofreading is a separate activity that polishes your content.

In Catch More Writing Mistakes with This Underutilized Proofreading Trick, you’ll discover why proofreading is different from just reading and how this simple practice helps you publish professional content.

Stay tuned to Copyblogger …

We’re celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S. this week, but we’ll have a fresh article for you on Monday!

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About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Rainmaker Digital’s Editor-in-Chief.

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4 Delightful Editing Tips to Make Your Words Dazzle and Dance

how to create excellence through editing

Do you ever read back a draft of your writing and wonder what happened?

Red-cheeked, you thought your draft was complete. You felt excited. Brimming with enthusiasm. You knew it … this was going to be superb. Probably your best-ever blog post. Yay!

You poured yourself a beer, feeling elated with your success.

Any minor editing and proofreading could wait until the next day.

But, the next day … you feel disappointed. Your writing sounds bland. Your sentences seem to stutter.

What can you do?

How can you create a smooth and enjoyable reading experience? How can you make your content dazzle and dance?

Let’s explore four ways …

1. Remove tiny obstacles from your sentences

Ever tried tangoing with a little stone in your shoe? Or tripped over your shoelaces while waltzing?

In writing, we know the big obstacles frustrating our readers. They’re irrelevant paragraphs and excessive sentences that befuddle readers and slow them down.

When readers lose track of your ideas, they head towards the exit.

And the tiny obstacles? They’re phrases like: “in my opinion,” “just,” “very,” “really,” and “actually.”

These phrases don’t typically add value — they only take up space. With a little discipline, you can cross them out and keep your readers tangoing through your content.

But even tinier obstacles exist. Sometimes even experienced writers and professional editors might not notice these.

These teeny-tiny obstacles are adverbs modifying verbs. In most cases, you can delete the adverb and choose a stronger verb.

For instance:

  • She walks slowly — She saunters; she strolls; she strides.
  • He said loudly — He barked; he yelled; he shrieked.
  • He talked aimlessly — He blabbered; he digressed; he yakked.
  • They worked really hard — They slaved; they labored; they toiled.
  • They ate their dinner greedily — They wolfed down their dinner; they devoured their dinner; they inhaled their dinner.

As bestselling author Stephen King has said:

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

So do your readers a favor, and look out for those pesky words ending with -ly. See if you can find a more accurate or stronger verb.

Sharp writers choose each word with piercing precision.

2. Create a smooth reading experience

Have you ever seen ballroom dancers float across the dance floor?

Clumsy dancers think one step at a time. But professionals dance with flowing movements.

Your content must also flow from one sentence to the next. To create a smooth reading experience, use transitions:

  • Transitional words guide your readers. Examples of transitional words and phrases are: “and,” “but,” “or,” “however,” “in contrast,” “because,” “for instance,” and “so.” Use them at the beginning of a sentence to explain how it relates to the previous sentence or to connect two parts of one sentence.
  • Short questions can help readers move from one section to the next. For instance, in your introductory paragraphs, you might have explained a problem and promised your readers that you’ll provide a solution. To transition to your tips, use engaging questions like: “Ready to get started?” “Sound good?” or “Shall we begin?”
  • Seeds of curiosity are phrases you can use at the end of a paragraph to keep readers moving through your content; they are similar to short questions. Advocated by legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman, these phrases sound like: “Let me explain why,” “And now comes the best part,” or “Even more importantly.”
  • Word connectors are versatile transitions that keep readers glued to your content. They connect one sentence to the next by repeating a word. They’re especially useful when using metaphors. For example: Ever tried learning to dance? At first, you struggle to remember the moves. You stumble around and you might even trip over your own feet. In a first draft of your article, your words are stumbling, too. Use transitions to let your content flow gracefully.

To allow readers to waltz through your text, create smooth transitions from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph.

3. Paint striking pictures

Words can conjure up vivid images.

Like an artist’s brush, they paint a picture in your reader’s mind. Some words can even make you shiver, like there are creepy crawlies tickling your spine.

Research suggests that we process sensory words as if we can feel, taste, hear, see, or smell the words. Non-sensory words don’t produce the same sensations.

But sensory words light up different areas of your brain — as if you hear the violins play, as if you see that dazzling dress, as if you feel the swirling movements.

Your job as a writer is to allow readers to visualize your story and feel your words. So, substitute bland words like ‘nice’ or ‘good’ with sensory alternatives like ‘tantalizing,’ ‘dazzling,’ or ‘tasty.’

When you pick the same words everyone else uses, your content becomes grey. But when you choose descriptive words other writers don’t use, your voice becomes unique and resonates with your readers. You stand out in a drab sea of bland voices.

Watch out for worn-out phrases. These are sensory expressions so overused their imagery has faded, and they have become clichés.

For instance, the first time someone used the phrase “out of the box,” it was a vivid metaphor that explained creative thinking. But now, the phrase is so common that nobody visualizes a box anymore.

The imagery has completely faded, and that’s why it has become a cliché.

Similarly, nobody pictures a bar when you talk about “raising the bar.” Nobody visualizes a bull when you say “take the bull by the horns.”

And nobody visualizes a baseball game when you’re “knocking it out of the park.”

Avoid such faded images. Instead, paint fresh and vibrant pictures with your own words. Be creative. Be different. And become memorable.

4. Let your words swing and swirl

Do your words jig or jive?

Rhythm influences us more than we think. We know that dancers follow the rhythm of a rumba or quickstep.

And when we work out at the gym, our brains synchronize with the rhythm of the music, too. An upbeat song makes us move faster. A dreamy love song slows us down.

In the same way, your readers experience the rhythm of your writing.

Even when content isn’t read aloud, readers hear their inner speech.

A dreary rhythm with a succession of long sentences makes them trudge. A faster cadence with a mix of short and long sentences allows them to hippety-hop through your words.

Writing engages readers when it ebbs and flows, sometimes slowing down with long and undulating sentences. Then upping the tempo again. With broken sentences. In staccato. Quick. Snappy.

Want to make your readers hop, skip, and dance?

Start with studying the rhythms of your favorite authors.

Notice, for instance, how Jack Kerouac runs ahead with his words. As a reader, you hardly have a chance to take a breath. His sentences are strung together, seemingly faster and faster.

Or reread your favorite Dr. Seuss story. His writing sticks to a rigid rhythm; you’ll detect the stress pattern quickly.

Finding a rhythm that suits your voice takes time. Read your content aloud. Play with the length of your sentences, and experiment with replacing a long word with a short one.

Break a few grammar rules and listen to how it changes your rhythm — and your voice.

Stand out in a sea of grey content

How often do we read content that surprises and delights?

The same ideas reverberate in the Internet echo chamber, again and again.

Almost everything has been said already. Several times. Using similar words.

To draw attention to your ideas — to grow a loyal following and build a thriving business — let your words dazzle and dance, swing and swirl, jig and jive.

Let your readers fall in love with your voice and crave your next blog update.

Come on. It’s time to swing your hips.

And let your ideas shine.

About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

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The Traffic Light Revision Technique for Meticulously Editing Your Own Writing

try this system to evaluate and correct your own writing

As a Los Angeles native, I know a thing or two about sitting in traffic.

I’m talking about physically sitting in your car while stopped in traffic on the way to your destination — not the traffic you talk about when people visit your website.

But the two different types of traffic may not be as unrelated as you think.

A lack of objectivity

One of my favorite observations about traffic jams is that sometimes you’re the one accidentally blocking an intersection with your car — making it difficult for other drivers to move forward on the road — and sometimes you’re the one honking at the person blocking an intersection.

If you drive on a regular basis on crowded streets, you fluidly move between these two roles.

While it’s easy to recognize another driver’s mistakes, and criticize her shortcomings or behavior that has frustrated you, it’s difficult to objectively observe and accurately assess your own actions (and possible missteps).

When you block an intersection, you don’t necessarily regard yourself in the same disapproving way you regard another driver when he blocks your path.

The same lack of objectivity is present when you write.

The discerning taste of an onlooker

As you develop a content-based business on your own digital media platform, you need to evaluate your writing with the discerning taste of an onlooker.

The problem is: you can’t magically become another person with an objective outlook. However, there are ways I’ve found that help you look at your writing like an outsider who can effortlessly identify a problem that does not involve him.

I’m going to share one technique today that will help you categorize sections of your writing so that you can focus on improving the weakest parts of your text.

A new way to look at each sentence you write

You can use the Traffic Light Revision Technique (TLRT) when you’ve finished a draft of your writing. If it’s still a rough draft, you can use this method to expand, copy edit, and finalize the text. If it’s a final draft, you can use this method to proofread your content.

Put your writing in a word processor that allows you to highlight the text with different colors, like a Microsoft Word document or Google Doc.

Follow these five steps after you’ve saved your current file:

  1. Make a copy of the document. Include “TLRT1” in the file name when you save this copy. Now you have the original document and a version you will mark-up, but not edit.
  2. As you examine each sentence, highlight it with green, yellow, or red. Use green if you think the sentence is the best it can be; use yellow if you think minor modifications will make the sentence stronger; use red if you think it should be completely revised or removed. Don’t change the text yet.
  3. Make another copy of the document. Include “TLRT2” in the file name when you save this copy. The “TLRT2” version will be the file you edit. Before you edit the document and change the colors, you want to save the original marked-up “TLRT1” version for future reference. You can learn from the “TLRT1” document with the green, yellow, and red text. It will help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Edit the yellow and red areas. You may also need to edit green text to accommodate the changes you make in the red and yellow portions, but don’t waste time repeatedly reviewing the green text you already regard as solid content. As you revise the weaker sections, change yellow and red portions to green.
  5. Proofread each sentence from the beginning. Once all of your text is green, you should be able to read it from the beginning without making any edits. If you still need to change parts of the text, consider highlighting those sections in yellow or red. Take a break and correct those areas at a later time, until everything is green.

When you have trouble identifying whether a sentence should be green, yellow, or red, ask yourself: “Do these words clearly communicate my true intent?

If your sentence is vague or assumes your reader knows something she may not actually know, you will likely benefit from a revision.

Eyes on the road

While the Traffic Light Revision Technique won’t prevent you from making a driving faux pas, it’s a way to analyze your writing like an Editor-in-Chief who aims to transform limp language into crisp content.

Try it to view your writing as if you were a member of your audience!

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Copyblogger Media’s Editor-in-Chief. Don’t follow her on Twitter.

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