Editors, no matter their official title, are here to help brush up your content and give it a polish, from adding in a missing comma to streamlining that clunky paragraph. Let’s see how all the different types of editing overlap and stand out.
Start at the surface: Copyediting
Copyediting can be thought of as the first layer of editing: It encompasses tasks like checking for grammar, spelling and regional differences in language. While we may consider that to be surface-level stuff, that doesn’t make copyediting any less important. Simple spelling errors, awkward phrasing and grammar mistakes reflect poorly on a brand. How will audiences take your message seriously if it’s presented with the same care and attention to detail as a 7th grade research paper on the Roaring Twenties?
What we’re really getting at with copyediting is the language used in your content. Does it follow the rules of grammar? Is the syntax on point? Are there glaring errors in the copy that would make even Donald Trump’s Twitter account blush in embarrassment?
What copyediting entails
When a copyeditor sits down to review an article, white paper, eBook or what have you, they’re on the lookout for a wide variety of issues that could impact the readability of the material as well as how that content presents the brand. Those include:
You could go even deeper with regional changes in spelling and vocabulary if your audience is hyper localized to a specific metro area. For instance, “jawn” is an entirely meaningless word in most of the English-speaking world, but any good copywriter would be remiss if they didn’t include it in content targeting a Philadelphian audience.
Copyediting also means checking that content adheres to any particular style guides. At Brafton, we usually follow AP Style, but we’ve been known to make exceptions when it serves the content or if specific AP rules contradict our clients’ own brand guidelines.
A knowledgeable copyeditor makes all the difference
That may all sound very straightforward, and perhaps spellcheckers and word processing software will one day become sophisticated enough to obviate the need for a hands-on copyeditor, but that day ain’t today. In truth, it takes a deft hand and a mindful editor to navigate all of the different grammar rules, style guidelines and nuances in language and fine-tune content so it’s not only pristine on a technical level but can also be easily read and digested by the target audience.
By almost any measure, that sentence is an indecipherable mess (its circular message basically boils down to “bison from Buffalo that are intimidated by other bison from Buffalo are also intimidating bison from Buffalo”). But grammatically, it’s fine.
Granted, you’ll probably never face sentences intentionally structured in such an obnoxious fashion, but copyeditors frequently need to decide between what is grammatically correct and what reads better to a specific audience. Many literary giants, including William Faulkner, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald, have used excessively lengthy or labyrinthine sentences in their writing. While grammatically sound run-on sentences may fly in “Ulysses,” they don’t really have a place in content marketing.
That doesn’t even account for the fact that language and grammar are constantly evolving. New words enter the lexicon, once-popular terms fall out of use and stuffy language gets cast aside even if it’s technically correct (I give “whom” another 30 years tops before it’s officially tossed into the dustbin of linguistic history).
So, yeah, you need an experienced editor with a sharp eye for details on your content marketing team. Could a machine, software or algorithm handle copyediting responsibilities? Maybe, but you probably wouldn’t want it to. That is, unless your brand identity is stuck in the 19th Century.
Digging deeper into copy: Content editing
Copyediting covers a lot of ground and gets at the nuts and bolts of language and sentence structure, but after that’s done, you still need to dig into the meat of your content. That’s where content editing – sometimes referred to as developmental editing – comes in.
Shocking as it may be, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Even major publications and news outlets misstate facts and get things wrong from time to time. While in theory, brand marketers don’t need to hold themselves to the same journalistic standards as The New York Times, preserving your brand’s integrity and authority is paramount.
The more sophisticated or knowledgeable your audience is, the more thorough your fact-checking needs to be. Which isn’t to say that you can phone it in when writing content targeting general consumers, but a technical audience like IT workers will be far more likely to pick out inaccuracies in your content and call you on it. It’s tough to build brand authority and thought leadership when your readers are constantly pointing out errors in your content.
Structure and flow
Wait, didn’t we already cover sentence structure? Yes, but while copyediting involves checking the syntax of your writing, content editing focuses on the structure of the entire piece of content. Do the arguments follow a logical progression? Do the talking points seamlessly segue from one into another? Is your content structured in such a way that the reader will be able to follow along without any difficulty?
Marketing collateral, even when it’s designed to be informative, educational, funny, engaging or all of the above, will always retain an inherently promotional element. The best content incorporates brand messaging in such an elegant and organic fashion that the audience may not even realize it’s there. Whatever brand message underpins your content, it needs to be earned through persuasive arguments and talking points that are positioned at the exact right moments in a given article or blog. How you structure your content can make all the difference between compelling material that wins over your audience and transparent sales collateral that drives people away.
Brand voice and tone
In a perfect world, each one of your copywriters would have your brand voice down pat, able to slip into that particular tone like it was second nature. Rarely is that case. Plenty of writers will tell you that it’s difficult to completely turn off your inherent writing style in favor of another.
More nuanced or complex brand style guides often require multiple layers of editing to check that copy aligns with the brand voice. Slight changes in word choice or sentence structure can have a profound effect on the message you’re trying to convey, making an eagle-eyed content editor absolutely essential.
A good content editor needs to know your style guide (or your client’s) from front to back and how to apply those rules in different scenarios. Your brand guidelines may prefer active voice, but are there circumstances when passive voice is acceptable? It takes a discerning content editor to make those judgment calls.
Quality content in and of itself won’t help your digital marketing strategy if you haven’t optimized your copy to rank for relevant search terms. You should be building all of your content around heavily researched keywords that closely reflect what people actually search for on Google.
Applications like Moz, MarketMuse and SEMrush can help your marketing team identify search terms that are relevant to both your business and your audience. MarketMuse can even act as an editing tool of sorts by analyzing written copy to check that it includes a wide variety of relevant topics and suggests ways to improve your content depth.
What is content editing?
But what does that mean in practice? If you’re content editing, you’ll pay attention to how the writing fits with your brand voice. You’ll read a whitepaper looking for logical holes or missing pieces, you’ll make sure the tips in an email are useful and applicable, and you’ll want to make sure the scope of a blog post fits a reader’s needs and works for your business.
You’ll also pay attention to how well the content delivers on the promise of the headline and subheads. If this “What is content editing?” section, for example, didn’t include a definition, you’d notice that during content editing and delegate back to the writer—but more on figuring out when to jump in and when to delegate shortly.
Content editing vs. copy editing
So what’s the difference between content editing and copy editing? Here’s a simple break down. Content editing ensures that writing is effective, cohesive, and understandable. This means checking the strength and logic of the argument, the quality of the sources or examples, the match with your brand voice, and the scope of the piece.
Copy editing, on the other hand, identifies and corrects more surface-level mistakes. This means checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and style guide agreement. It could also mean double-checking graphs, charts, and image placement, and proofreading the title, meta descriptions, and captions.
Why is content editing important for marketers?
In content marketing, this type of editing is often grouped into the final copy editing or proofreading stage. It’s clear why this happens: We’re busy, and when you have a list of blog posts to edit for next week, a folder of emails to review, and still want to eat lunch, grouping these two editing tasks together seems like the best way to finalize all that content and still manage to leave your desk.
Establishing and maintaining copy editing standards for your content improves the quality and authority of your content and your brand—-but your audience won’t care about clean, legible copy that doesn’t make sense and your boss won’t care about content that doesn’t align with your overall marketing objectives. Marketers need content editing to make sure they’re generating high-quality content that provides value to readers and contributes to business goals.
There will be editors who argue that paragraph editing is copyediting, but the impact it has on the structure and flow of the article is unmistakable. Therefore, it’s included here as an important element of content editing.
The Most Complete Content Editing Process to Avoid Copy Disasters
This process uses four distinct roles: author, editor, designer, and manager. (Even if you’re flyin’ solo in the content editing department, you always need to know which hat you’re wearing. So this process still rocks for you, too.) Here’s a quick overview of what each person’s role looks like: When working any process as a team, the key is to understand that everyone’s end goal is the same.
As a writer, my goal shouldn’t be to submit a perfect first draft my editor won’t touch. Sure it makes me feel like a content prodigy ? But my greater goal is to sell our flipping-fantastic product. Guess what? That’s my editor’s goal… And my designer’s and manager’s too. As a team, we’re all in this for the same purpose. I trust everyone is at the table for a reason–so I covet feedback and happily incorporate it when it’s spot on. At CoSchedule, we have insanely high standards for our content. We won’t publish anything we don’t think is the best content on the Internet for a given subject. To hit that mark requires input from the talented people on my team.
Content Editing Tools & Software
Grammarly is a free online grammar checker. Grammarly eliminates grammar errors, ensures advanced grammar rules are followed, offers vocabulary enhancement, checks for plagiarism, and corrects contextual writing mistakes. Free and paid plans available.
Evernote is basically a glorified note-taking app. It allows you to save notes and notebooks and also syncs across multiple devices via a saved profile. Evernote premium is their top tier and includes the most features. But there’s also a free plan available.
15. Online Dictionary & Thesaurus
The value of having quick access to an online dictionary and thesaurus should be obvious. But with a vast array of free resources for writers all located in one place, dictionary.com is in a league of its own. Navigating to dictionary.com will provide access to the dictionary and the thesaurus. Both are free.
Canva is the perfect app for creating beautiful creatives, graphics, and images. It’s also a great place to edit images. You can upload images and work with them on Canva’s interface. There are free and paid plans available. The free plan is adequate for just about any small project.
17. After the Deadline
21. Text Verification Tool
Content Editing Services: Finding Great Content Editors
Use the following resources to find qualified editors. If you’re looking for content editing services, keep in mind that many editors use the terms substantive editing and developmental editing instead of content editing.
With that being said, any article we produce for customers is is refined until each clitent is completely satisfied with the piece. We handle all edits and revisions, including formatting, wording, design, and more. Find out more about how our content creation and promotion services work here.
Fiverr is renowned for connecting freelance sellers with interested buyers. Simply create an account, search for content editors, and find the best fit for your budget. Use the “Pro Services” filter to view only those sellers that have been vetted by Fiverr.
Upwork is similar to Fiverr, but instead of you choosing from an ocean of sellers, Upwork makes the seller come to you. To get started, just create an account, post a project, and watch the bids roll in.
Freelancer is similar to both Fiverr and Upwork, but it’s geared toward larger gigs that aren’t traditionally considered “freelance” in nature. Like Upwork, Freelancer allows you to post a job and have interested editors come to you. In general, Freelancer is geared more toward writing gigs whereas Fiverr places heavy emphasis on designers or video editors.
SEO Content editing
In the SEO editing process, the content editing step focuses on making the content as tight and crisp as possible. Always keep your reader and the end goal in mind. What action would you like the reader to take? Are you trying to get the reader to download an e-book or buy your product? Edit accordingly.
The number one goal is always clarity! To achieve that, you need to eliminate ambiguity and make sure your points come across clearly. Good, crisp writing will always beat pompous and fancy content that is tedious to read.
A crucial part of this step is fact-checking. Unfortunately, many writers add in their opinions in the form of facts, which is unwise. If you feel something is off and find yourself second-guessing something, always err on the side of caution and check for proof. Mixing opinions with facts could tarnish your credibility.
Once you finish the content edit, you’ll have each point in a different paragraph. Now go through all the sections and figure out the angle you want to take with your content. Your content angle will also determine your LEAD or the introductory paragraph.
In the structure edit cycle, you will arrange the paragraphs elegantly. The structure edit will also involve linking out to related content within your website and trusted external resources. A website’s internal linking structure helps search engines better understand the content of your website. Additionally, it provides readers with detailed information on a particular topic that isn’t covered in the current article. Depending on your workflow, internal linking can be handled by the content team or by the SEO editor.
After the content edit, your paragraphs might have unique points, but they might not be connected. A great way to make paragraphs flow is to use a generic statement that leads to the idea/paragraph. The narrative is the content angle you want to take. The same story can have multiple perspectives.
For example, the story of a new Oneplus device might describe how it broke into a competitive market and established itself as a brand. However, if the editor wants to take a different perspective, it might focus on the brand’s early success and declining sales over the past couple of years.
This round also focuses on consistency. One example is to use the same format for title and designation. Another example is to use the Oxford comma in your content if you used it once. The style guide generally covers it.
I believe this segues perfectly into our next point, adhering to the brand guidelines. Generally, established brands require you to follow their brand guidelines, which provide rules to follow in punctuation, date formats, acronyms, quotation style, and designation format.
The last stage of the style edit is a strong intro, headline, and finish. Editors generally use the inverted pyramid to provide the reader with the most value as soon as possible. The inverted pyramid structure is a product of old-fashioned technology – the telegraph. Inverted pyramids made sense when news outlets relayed the most important details first to ensure the essential facts of the story could be printed by whoever received it.
We want the reader to get his answer as soon as possible. So cut the fluff and get straight to the point. In a recipe site, for instance, the actual recipe should always be at the beginning, so that the reader can get to the information he is looking for without having to scroll through a long list of ingredients or the chef’s background.
Editors are often hesitant to do this because they fear the reader will bounce as soon as they have the information they need. It could be partially true, but if they like the information you provide the first time, they will choose your site over the others in the long run. Soon they will take the time to get to know you and your brand. Start with the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why), followed by supporting details and background information.
A hook is a way of grabbing the reader’s attention from the very beginning. Different types of hooks include questions, quotes, statistics, or anecdotes to captivate your reader and start your story with a bang.
Once you have a good introduction that leads the writer into your content angle, you need a good headline that aligns with the angle and entices the reader to click. An intriguing headline is one of your most important story elements.
The presentation edit involves proofreading and other cosmetic revisions. You need to align the headline, meta description, and cross-heads with the content angle. Remember to follow your house style rules for measurement units, spelling (US or UK), and more.
Do you think that what you have been working on is ready for the web? The people who use the internet are like sharks, any little mistake and they will tear your pretty little article into pieces. Send whatever you have been working on to Boom Essays, they will check it and edit it for you before you dive in. They have saved me from more mistakes than I can count.
Whether I am at the office, at home, or out with my family, when I have an idea I can jot it down in Evernote and access it from anywhere. This is the app that I reach for when I wake up at three in the morning with the idea that is going to blow everything else out of the water. If you don’t have it then you are wasting the potential of your idea.
It doesn’t matter who interesting your content is, if you have written it so badly that nobody can understand it you are out of business. Grammarly is one of the best content editing tools and I have this little plug-in running on every computer that I touch. It sifts through whatever you are working on and it points out all of your mistakes. And believe me, you are making a lot more of them than you might have expected. I use it for emails and social media when I don’t have time to think everything through.
You know your content is great but nobody is clicking through? Might be because your headlines are awful. Throw them in here and you can find out just how bad they really are. I think that I have got the art of writing headlines down but this thing still points out my mistakes. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer makes it easier to write better headlines, which after all, is a key aspect of your SEO and content strategy!
This service analyzes how people interact with your content so that you can see where you are doing things right and where things are going wrong. This is the key to how I run my business and one of the most useful content research tools to take advantage of. If I can’t see what is happening then how would I know where to focus my attention?
Gutenberg Editor overview
Gutenberg editor in fact revolutionized WordPress content editing process. It offers convenient blocks that let you make your content more organized and visually impressive. Basically, it reduced the need to be tech savvy with HTTML and CSS knowledge to edit content on WordPress. Instead of searching for codes, new users of WordPress could effortlessly drag and drop blocks to position a desired content type in your post or page. Moreover, there are easier options to embed media, and out-of-the-box features to create call-to-action (CTA) buttons and social sharing options.
The Gutenberg editor works through blocks that define different content elements in a single document. This helps you easily incorporate different media elements into your content. Firstly, let’s take a look at the basic aspects of working with blocks.
Transform a block to another
The Gutenberg editor provides easy options to transform a block to another type. For example you can transform a paragraph block into heading, list, quote, etc. You can click the icon on the extreme left of the toolbar, and choose a block type to transform.
There are several scenarios where you want to use the same content in different posts or pages. Generally, you would save it elsewhere and then copy and paste it to the new post or page. Gutenberg makes this process easy with ‘reusable blocks’. So, if you have a piece of content that you would want to use in several posts, you can save it as a reusable block. Then when you want to use it again in another post, you can simply reuse it by adding that block.
Now, when you create a new piece of content, you can find the reusable content saved as a separate section while adding new blocks. Simply click on the reusable content to insert it to the current content.
Add an image
Name your image and add description text for Alt text
Note: always fill in alt text for better site accessibility. Users with visual impairments use screen reading devices that don’t display imagery but will read a description of the image, which editors fill in through the alt text field.
You will then be prompted to a new dialogue screen where you have a few options to adjust the size of the image. You may select the original size, quarter size, thumbnail, or link. (In most cases original is best)
Images can be cropped and resized within Drupal. While uploading the image there is an option to crop. Once the image is placed in the WYSIWYG editor it can be resized, smaller is usually better than larger to avoid pixelation and blurriness. If you click the image four corner squares will appear, click a corner box and resize, it will automatically retain is proportions.
Images can also be placed aligned left or right with a text wrap applied using the styles dropdown menu in the WYSIWYG editor. Click on the image once it’s placed and then select image align left/right. The change will not appear in the preview, once the page is saved/published you will be able to see the correct display.
Images should h ighlight students and faculty in action, avoid posed photos, capture genuine expressions and interactions. Try to avoid large group shots, or when taking a group photo select an individual to focus on. Crop your images to highlight the subject you want the audience to focus on.
If you need to resize or edit any photos there are many free tools available, we recommend Pixlr. It’s very similar to Photoshop, and you can download the Essential package for free.
Add a video
- Click the Content tab underneath the menu button in your horizontal navigation
- Navigate to the files tab
- Select add file
- Clickchoose image and find where it is saved on your computer, then click upload and hit next
- Navigate to the page you want to add the file to and click the edit tab
- Type or highlight the text you want to link
- Click the link to button in the toolbar
- In the search for content box type a keyword in the document name
- Under options>target select ‘new window’ to have the linked page open in a new tab or ‘same window’ to layer the new page on top of the current page
- Click the Insert link button
Note: Only link to PDF or word documents if you expect users to download and print the information. When used digitally, PDFs and word documents must be made accessible in order to be compatible with assistive technology devices.