Day in, day out, you create web content. You have great writing abilities and the subject matter you share is comprised of topics that your readers want. Still, you have a hard time meeting your content goals.
The most successful content creators have a secret – they work with an editor. You could hire someone (if your budget allows) on Fiverr, and Essay Writer Pro, or you can learn the most powerful editing hacks for yourself. Start here.
1. Check the Tense of Your Language
Three types of tense are used in writing – past, present, and future. Take the first step and scan your articles and other content for tense continuity. By default, everything should flow in the present tense. Use past tense for flashbacks and future tense only to flash-forward. Writing with an uninterrupted tense creates ease of understanding.
As you make your way through the unedited piece, make sure that you use the same tense throughout your work. Commonly, slip-ups in this area create unnecessary confusion in your reader’s mind.
He wrote prose from the depths of his soul.
He writes prose from the depths of his soul.
He will write prose from the depths of his soul.
2. Trim the Excess Fat From Your Meat
The “meat,” in writing, is where the valuable mind nutrients exist. Web content only needs the words necessary to state your point. Unnecessary phrases become wordy and, frankly, boring. When you want readers to hang on until the end, cut off the excess fat – it will only weigh down your work.
Comb through your content, looking for unnecessary verbiage, and remove it. Here are examples of heavy phrases and alternatives:
“According to the data we’ve compiled” becomes “we find.”
“Despite the reality that” becomes “although.”
“It is frequently the case that” becomes “often.”
“Under conditions wherein” becomes “when.”
3. Apply the Basic Comma Rules
Incorrectly used commas lead to confusing statements. You need to know when and where to use them correctly. Step three of the editing process is to check your comma placement. Learn all of the basic comma rules and apply them.
Lists should include a comma before the final conjunction:
Use Commas Properly
She has seven orange hats, six yellow shirts, and three red pairs of shoes.
Don’t Use Commas Improperly
She has seven orange hats, six yellow shirts and three red pairs of shoes.
Independent clauses should be separated with a comma:
Use Commas Properly
He held the door open for her, then suddenly ran away.
Don’t Use Commas Improperly
He held the door open for her, while she struggled to hold her books.
4. Lose These Boring Words
Overused words are boring – once they’re seen hundreds of times, they lose their effect. So, rather than writing like a fifth grader, drop the overused words from your vocabulary. Everyone knows what these words mean, but they paint a vague picture and should be avoided.
Some of these words need to be used, but only sparingly.
5. Conclude With a Call to Action (CTA)
Web content is written with a goal in mind, and your readers need to be guided to the next step.
When editing, the final step for you is to tell them what to do. A CTA serves as a jumping point for readers making their way through your sales funnel at whatever stage they stand. So, though you may be wrapping up your content with some witty conclusion that is meant to make readers remember you, re-think that strategy. Your web content serves the purpose of generating leads and sales. So, how will you make that happen?
Use CTAs to ask readers to go out and apply the knowledge they have gained, move onto another piece of content, sign up to your newsletter, or buy something. An understanding of online sales funnels stages will help you decide what type of CTA to use with the content at hand.
Note that a blog isn’t the best place to make a sales approach, so don’t ask your readers to buy your products. Instead, most of your content should lead readers to another piece of content that will give you an idea whether or not the reader fits your target market.
Ebooks and gated content are a great way to find out and gather contact information. After that, you can use your email newsletter to build a relationship. After proper tracking and nurturing, you’ll be ready to show people how your products or services will help them.
Now that you know what you can do to exponentially improve your content with easy edits, decide for yourself whether you want to do it yourself. Check the tense, trim the excess, double check your commas, get rid of boring words and perfect your CTA. Then, once you’ve seen how easy it is to deliver polished web content, make your decision. Either use these hacks each time you write a piece of content or outsource the task to a specialized web content editor.
Janice Kersh is a freelance writer and content manager. She is also a science-fiction nerd and a cookie lover. You connect with Janice via Twitter.