My own process for editing requires at least three different run throughs after the first draft.
And in between each edit, I make it a point to step away from my desk for at least 20 minutes.
The first time through, my focus is about coherence: just look for (and correct) glaring errors and things that don’t make sense. Am I being repetitive?
The second edit is a close look at the details: this is where you look for typos that spellcheck wouldn’t catch. It’s where you make sure you’ve got everyone’s name spelled correctly. The teeny details.
The third edit is for readability. Are my sentences too long? Can I make this sound more conversational? Do I need more white space? Where can I add subtitles, bulleted lists, or other visual cues to make the post flow.
A hint if this last one is a challenge: read your post out loud. Make sure that every word sounds like something you’d actually say in conversation. Use contractions (you’re vs. you are). And don’t be afraid to break the rules of traditional grammar. Go ahead and end your sentence with a preposition if that’s the best way to say it.
I’d love to have you write a blog post that hits a home-run.
That may or may not happen, depending on your current writing skills and experience. Just remember, not all blog posts will or should be epic. It’s much more important to be effective and make your point in a memorable way.
Every blog post is different, but the one thing that good ones have in common (I can’t say this enough) is that they make a clear point in an engaging way.
Use this checklist to review your work and make sure you’re covering all the bases.
Try not to second-guess your instincts and first impressions. Note what comes to mind.
- Is there personality to the post? Does it feel like a conversation?
- More description if needed, or perhaps less description
- Any points of confusion, rephrasing if needed to clarify a section
- Is the point of the post clear? Is it supported by the body of the post?
- Does the opening line grab your attention and pull you in?
- Does the title hook you? Your title should include one keyword (for SEO purposes) but be written for humans. Does it make you want to read more? Is there a clear promise inherent in the title?
- Is it scannable? Are there enough subheadings, bullet points? Are the paragraphs too long? Is there enough white space on the page? (Brush up on blog formatting tips with this post: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/06/01/how-to-format-blog-posts-effectively/)
- Is there a clear call to action at the end?
- Pacing Problems: Does the post drag or race too quickly at particular points?
- Do you feel bored at certain points?
- Do you feel the writer’s personality? Is a personal story or commentary included? Or is this something that could’ve been written by anyone?
- Is the post compelling? Does it make you feel anything?
- Are there any spelling or punctuation errors, or places that don’t agree grammatically (tense-wise)?
- Ineffective word choices or repeated words?
- Are points backed up with evidence (links to other blogs, articles, etc.)?
- Is there at least one engaging/compelling image included?
- Are there links to other relevant posts on your site?
If you blog as part of your overall marketing strategy and you’d like your posts to make a bigger impact, these are all areas you’ll need to improve on in your writing.
Assignment: If you’d like me to take a look at your draft, please paste the text in a comment below and I’ll give you general feedback.