One of my passions is making smart people sound smart. At WebDevStudios, our website agency is filled with a ton of smart people. Placing their expertise in the public spotlight is a responsibility that falls squarely on my shoulders. That’s why I felt compelled to put together these editing tips for content managers.
When you’re in charge of the content on your company website, it’s your job to make sure the company, the brand, the executives and leadership, and the team make an indelible impression. This is especially important if you are insourcing content from within your company.
Of course, content managers usually accomplish this through cleaning up typos and correcting grammar. However, there’s more to it than that. If you find yourself managing website content and blog posts written by your coworkers, you’re going to want to keep these editing tips for content managers handy.
Guide the Content
I’m a big fan of providing a structured outline for my teammates. Once we have settled on a topic, and I have settled on the SEO keyword phrase, I type up an outline to guide the content.
By providing an outline, the author now has structure and a path to help them on their blogging journey. It just makes the process easier.
Select an SEO Strategy
Not all of your writers will need an outline or even want one. Everyone has a different writing process, and some people like going into the WordPress editor and just start typing out their thoughts. That’s okay.
However, once you have their draft, decide on your SEO strategy. What is the main topic of their content? Do your research and find the best keyword phrase for optimization. You may have to change their chosen blog post title and rephrase some sentences to accommodate for that.
Of course, making your smart coworker who wrote the blog post sound smart is one of your goals, but let’s face it—so is SEO! Smart people deliver stellar content. Get the most out of it by optimizing for search engine results.
Make It Readable
Now, it’s time to edit. From here on, this set of editing tips for content managers is presented in the order in which I work. You, however, should decide on a method and order that works best for you. These recommendations are essential, for sure, but you should tackle them in whichever order you prefer.
I like to begin with readability. This is when I focus on breaking up paragraphs and adding headers. Yoast SEO is a wonderful WordPress plugin for guiding me, but here are some easy rules:
- Keep sentences under 25 words.
- Paragraphs should be less than 150 words. I aim for no more than four sentences in a paragraph.
- Some paragraphs are better off as bullet points.
- Headers make everything better. Not only will Google reward you for using them, but your readers will find the content easier to scan.
Honor the Accuracy of the Information
If you want to earn the audience’s trust, you had better make sure the content you’re feeding them is accurate. For me, this can be difficult when so much of our content is developer-focused or code-specific. That’s why part of our blogging process is peer review.
When the content is technical, my teammates have a peer review the article before delivering it to me. This means we did all we can to consider the reader by providing accurate content.
Respect the Writer’s Voice
This is a tough one and purely dependent on the voice, tone, policies, and company culture of your workplace. Here at our web design and development agency, WebDevStudios believes in supporting the individuality of our diverse team of technologists. I honor that by respecting the writer’s voice when I’m editing.
Now, that doesn’t mean anything goes. I have been known to remove cuss words and emojis. I mean, we need to be professional around here. When it comes to the voice and personality of the writer, however, I maintain that within the content they deliver.
Clean It Up
Can you believe I leave the cleaning up process until the end? Some editors tackle it first. I leave it for last. That’s just what works for me.
Eliminate typos, correct grammar and punctuation, and rewrite sentences for clarity. This step is a huge part of making smart people sound smart.
Add Images and Alt Text
Some authors add images and alt text themselves. Some add images but not alt text. Most add none of that.
I’m flexible, and I communicate that to all my teammates who blog. I don’t mind adding images and alt text myself. I’m just grateful anytime anyone blogs.
Encourage and Support the Author
If you’re insourcing content like we do at WebDevStudios, then you know it’s a big deal when someone delivers engaging and educational content. My teammates are normally spending their days strategizing, managing, and building client projects. So, when I get a blog post from one of them, I make a big deal about it.
I normally announce their blog post in our general channel on Slack, and I reward them with a taco. And, because we promote and share our content on social media after publication, I always credit them with a shoutout. I want them to feel appreciated, valued, and encouraged to return to blogging next time they have an opportunity.
1 thought on “Editing Tips for Content Managers”
I do a lot of editing for our tech savvy colleagues who write software related pieces, but for some reason it has never crossed my mind to do some keyword research while editing (even though that’s one of the first things I do when I start my own writing).
Thanks for the advice.