Looking for Input for a New IMPACT + Lesson on Editing and Proofing Content

Posted January 6, 2022 in
Content Content
Hey Content Managers,
I'm working on a new lesson for IMPACT + and I would love some input from you all.
The lesson will be about how to proofread and edit blog content before publishing.

I want to hear some of your tips and suggestions for a smooth process that helps your content go from the messy first draft to the polished, educational gem that wows your audience.
Here are a few questions I have:
  1. What does your process look like between your first and final draft?
  2. How many sets of eyes typically review your content before it’s finalized?
  3. What is your biggest challenge in the editing and proofreading stage?
  4. What is one hack you can share that will make others’ lives easier when it comes to editing and proofreading?
  5. What are your favorite tools for editing and proofreading?
  6. What are the top things you look for when proofreading content?
You don't need to answer each and every question, but I would love if you could give me 3-5 sentences for whichever question(s) you're eager to give advice on.

If you're the first to answer one of the above, please start a thread with that question as I'd love your input as well as anyone else who wants to chime in on that question.

If someone has already started a thread for that question, instead of starting a new one, jump into the existing thread with your two cents (let's get some conversations going!).

I'd love to be able to feature some of your answers in the course and give you a shoutout for your help.I can't wait to learn about your processes and tips.
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Harley VanDyke
What are your favorite tools for editing and proofreading?

I have found https://hemingwayapp.com/ to be very helpful. It's great at showing me where I might want to rewrite a section. 

Thomas Besley
It's good, but it often suggest breaking sentences into tiny chunks. While this may be easier to read, it usually takes any style out of the writing.
Lex Russell
Agree with Hemingway but I don't use it as much as I should! I also always use Grammarly but I've noticed that Grammarly only really works for people who already know grammar and AP Style basics (you have to know when Grammarly is wrong). 
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Harley VanDyke
How many sets of eyes typically review your content before it’s finalized?

Typically only mine. 

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Chazz Hirschfeld
Usually, I have the subject matter expert read over the article if they were my source. Just to make sure "the wording" is correct if it's something I'm not 100% certain of. I also try to have at least one "second set of eyes" look over my writing. Mostly, I use my English teacher sister. In a bind, I've read the article (sentence by sentence) backwards--something I've seen others say to do.
Kevin Phillips
Thanks for responding, Harley.
I have two follow up questions for you:
1) Would you find value in having at least one more set of eyes on your content before publishing? Why or why not?
2) What is your typical process between finishing your first draft and hitting that publish button? 
Harley VanDyke
Yes, I definitely would. The problem is that (up until this week) if I were to have our owner/subject manner expert read/approve it I wouldn't have gotten any content out in 2021. Not that he doesn't care, we are just at that point in growing where we are all wearing too many hats. I'm content manager, Social media/website, Sales, Implementation & the second go-to for the office with all questions.  This past week we hired someone who will help me with content part-time & do payrolls part-time. 

Most of the time I get about 200 - 300 words from our owner/subject manner expert that were thrown on the page in a moment of inspiration. I then take that & rework it / add on to it to make it more of a story. Then I'll throw that in hemingwayapp.com & take a look at its suggestions & make more edits. Then after I think I've got it I'll start a new blog post & give everything one more once over. 
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Harley VanDyke
Connor DeLaney  I take it that's not normal? 😂
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Chazz Hirschfeld
Harley, hit me up if you need a reader. Connor knows how to get me. :)
Harley VanDyke
Will do! Thank you!
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Connor DeLaney
Haha it's not common Harley VanDyke , but bandwidth can do that to us! 
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Chazz Hirschfeld
4. What is one hack you can share that will make others’ lives easier when it comes to editing and proofreading?

Print it out. Don't just proof and edit on the computer screen. You're going to see things in print that you won't see on the screen. 

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Kevin Phillips
Make "getting out the red pen" literal. I love it.
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Chazz Hirschfeld
  1. What does your process look like between your first and final draft?

    First draft is the "writer hat" and you just go with the flow. Try to get all your thoughts down. Do not edit or censor yourself here. If you can't think of a word or phrase, just leave a line or space (Liz trick). 

    Time. Let it alone for a wee bit. If you can't, at least print it out cleanly and then put on your "editor hat." This person cannot respect the writer. You must be brutal. You must have total focus and concentration. Anything that does not move the article forward MUST go. Even your favorite little phrase.

    In the last couple years, I've developed a way to better edit on the page. I save the draft, rename it SECOND draft and then give it a get-go. Then I save that draft, rename it THIRD draft, and go at it again. Yes, this does conflict with my "print it out" stage, but I'm still going to do that when I reach a viable draft. I've found this saves a lot of time. PLUS, if you decide later you liked it better the first way you said it--you still have those old drafts.

    When I think it's all done. I print it out and go over it VERY carefully. Then I ask someone else to read it. And when I publish it, I read it again--on the screen. Amazingly, you will sometimes find something there you never saw before... the different formatting via publishing allows your eyes/mind to catch it. I've had articles read by four subject matter experts and an expert reader and THEN found a mistake (that I had also missed before) at this last stage.

Kevin Phillips
"This person cannot respect the writer. You must be brutal." I really dig that quote.
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Chazz Hirschfeld
Kevin, looking back now, that seems kind of harsh, lol. Maybe "cannot kowtow to the writer" would be better. Just trying to illustrate how different the roles of writer and editor are. I definitely respect writers, including myself. But I'm glad you liked it. Happy to help! :)

Kevin Phillips
I took the sentiment more as "you can't be too concerned with the writer's feelings. If you pull your punches and fail to deliver constructive criticism, the writer won't grow."
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Chazz Hirschfeld
Exactly! Well said! Thank you, Kevin!
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