Content editing: What it is and how to do it like a pro

Content editing: What it is and how to do it like a pro

7 minute read

Content editing: What it is and how to do it like a pro

7 minute read

Content editing: What it is and how to do it like a pro

Nia Gyant

GatherContent Contributor, Writer
Content writing and content editing go hand in hand. Whether you’re working on a whitepaper or social media content, all written content needs editing. Putting it through the content editing process is the key to ensuring that it's as high-quality as can be. It ensures that your drafts are well-written, optimized for search, and consistent with your brand voice.

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Ready to learn the ins and outs of the content editing process? We’ll walk you through:

  • What content editing is and why it’s important
  • How it differs from other types of editing
  • The skills a good content editor needs
  • The content editing frameworks that experts use
  • 10 steps for editing drafts to make them more readable and rank-worthy

What is content editing?

Content editing, also known as developmental editing, reviews content for flow, readability, and ease of understanding.

It’s at this stage in the process that you edit to lift content to a publishable standard. This includes things like making sure it reflects your brand voice and is factually correct. It also involves doing on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

What kinds of editing are there?

Content editing is one of several types of editing. Others include:

  • Line editing, which involves combing through content line by line. The goal is to see how effectively each communicates your message. So, a line editor looks for things like confusing sentences, cliches, and overused words.
  • Copy editing, which focuses on various technical aspects of writing. These include mechanics (grammar, spelling, and punctuation). Not to mention formatting, tone and style, and factual and descriptive consistency.
  • Proofreading, which is specific to writing mechanics. It involves checking for accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Plus, checking for consistency and, if you have one, adherence to your style guide.

Out of these types, content and copy editing are likely the most often confused. Many use the terms interchangeably, not realizing the differences between them.

What’s the difference between copy editing and content editing?

Content editing involves scrutinizing the overall organization, flow, and cohesiveness of a draft. Among other things, this can mean suggesting the addition of missing but important information. The opposite could also be true and involve removing unnecessary inclusions.

In contrast, copy editing corrects technical mistakes such as grammar errors. It also often includes correcting inconsistencies in information and adjusting formatting as needed.

Copy editing also involves fine-tuning language and tone for your target audience based on regional differences. For example, it ensures that an entire draft is written in British English or American English depending on the audience. And it may also correct word choices accordingly. For instance, the word “cuppa” resonates more with a British audience than an American one.

Finally, copy editing ensures the content follows your style guide. For example, using the em dash without spacing on either side. Again, this helps create consistent content.

Need to know: Embed style guidelines in GatherContent so writers have them on hand as they draft content.
Embedded Style Guidelines in GatherContent
Embed instructions and style guidelines for writers in GatherContent’s content editing platform

Put simply, copy editing puts the technical aspect of content under a microscope to catch errors and inconsistencies. Whereas content editing sees the big picture with the goal of improving a draft’s flow and readability.

Why content editing is important

Now, back to content editing specifically. It’s an essential part of the editing process. After all, it ensures that content is on-brand, easy to follow, and optimized for readers and search engines. Ultimately, it:

  • Provides accurate information to help you earn readers' trust and become an industry authority
  • Promotes good readability, logical structure, and smooth flow to provide a good reading experience
  • Maintains stylistic and brand consistency
  • Gives your content a better chance of ranking well and driving relevant traffic (thanks to SEO)

“Content editing is an essential part of the editing process. It ensures that content is on-brand, easy to follow, and optimized for readers and search engines.”

What skills does a content editor need?

To produce the benefits above, there are several skills a content editor must have. We chose eight of the most common. Then, we asked a group of 40+ content editors and the people who hire them to rank their value.

From most to least important, here are the top skills for successful content editing:

  1. Written communication: The overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) pegged this as an essential skill.
  2. Attention to detail: This was by far the second most valuable skill with 88% of respondents calling it essential.
  3. Creative thinking: 52% of respondents said creative thinking is essential and 29% consider it valuable but not a must.
  4. Collaboration: 43% of respondents said it’s essential and 35% view it as valuable.
  5. Time management: Compared to the 38% who said it’s essential, slightly more respondents (40%) pegged time management as valuable but non-essential.
  6. Organization: 45% of respondents said it’s a valuable but non-essential skill and 38% feel that it’s a must-have.
  7. Verbal communication: 47% of respondents marked this as a high-value skill but only 27% think it’s essential.
  8. Proficiency with content management systems: Compared to the 40% who think it’s valuable, nearly 30% say it’s just good to have.
Content Editing Skills Ranked
40+ experts ranked the value of the top eight content editing skills

Curious about the experts’ reasoning for these responses? Here are some of their insights on why the skills mentioned are so valuable. And on what underrated skills are useful and why.

Common content editing skills: what the experts say

Written communication. Lucia Tang, Head of Content at Keeper Tax says:

"The most important skill a content editor can have is the ability to give written feedback in a way that empowers the writer to ‘self-serve’ similar edits in the future. That goes beyond providing stronger ways to express the ideas you encounter in drafts."
Lucia Tang
Head of Content, Keeper Tax

“It means articulating the principles behind your edits, so your writers don't have to do all the work of inductive reasoning by themselves. With this sort of feedback, every round of edits does more than just enhance the deliverable—it develops the writer.”

Creative thinking. “Just about anyone can be taught to proofread, make edits here or there, and use a CMS,” remarks Brooks Manley, Owner of Brooks Manley Marketing. “But the best content editors can approach an article from the audience's perspective, evaluate whether or not it's going to achieve its goal, and provide creative solutions to make it a truly valuable piece. This kind of content editing is what sets apart average content from 10x content.”

Verbal communication. “This may seem counterintuitive since their work is done via writing,” admits Logan Mallory, VP of Marketing at Motivosity. “But a copy editor needs to be able to speak with clients, give feedback, as well as review and go over edits with clients. Good verbal communication can help the editing process move forward more efficiently for everyone involved.”

Underrated skills content editors need: what the experts say

Ability to adapt content for different audiences. Mark Whitman, CEO and Founder of Contentellect shares: “One undervalued skill we look for is the ability to translate complex content into more understandable and accessible insight. Expert writers often use terminology that is highly specialized. Good editors are able to adapt articles for a wider readership without watering down the depth.”

And language isn’t the only consideration when it comes to audience. Robert Beames, Head Content Editor at Flying Cat Marketing says: “The best content editors have a clear understanding of where the reader is in the buyer journey and their pain points.”

"It's crucial for the intro and any CTAs to be laser-focused on meeting this reader at their level of expertise, answering their search intent, and providing genuine value. A great content editor will look for ways to make more of an impact in these sections to increase conversions and improve the reader experience."
Robert Beames
Head Content Editor, Flying Cat Marketing

Problem-solving. “A content editor's job is to solve content-related problems,” says Nina Pączka of Resume Now. “Sentences that are too long, or have incomprehensible wording, poor grammar, and awkward formatting are just some elements an editor has to pay attention to.

However, the real work begins after catching all the obvious errors. The editor's task is to propose the best possible corrections so that the material fits the target audience. This task is often challenging and requires looking for creative stylistic, linguistic, or grammatical solutions.”

As you can see, much skill and intention are necessary to be a successful content editor. But there’s more. Prioritization frameworks can also contribute to an editor’s success.

The content editing prioritization frameworks experts use

The question now is: how do experts prioritize editing content?

Here’s a summary of the content editing prioritization framework that two experts follow.

1. Billy Chan’s 4-step framework

Billy’s editing prioritization framework: Review flow, subheadings, grammar, and headline

Billy Chan, Editor-in-Chief at DroneLast, prioritizes checking the following as part of the content editing process:

  • The flow of the article. In other words, the structure and the sequence of paragraphs. “If the structure is unclear or important points are missing, I give the author detailed feedback and ask him or her to revise the article," Chan writes.
  • The article’s subheadings. Chan explains why: “Online readers generally skim the subheadings to find the information they are looking for. So the subheadings are important to really engage the readers.”
  • Grammar and typos. "I use Grammarly and InstaText for this process.”
  • Headline. “Last but not least, I spend at least 15 minutes polishing the headline with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to make it SEO-friendly and appealing to the audience at the same time. A good headline trumps everything in the article,” concludes Chan.

2. Susan Melony’s 5-step framework

Susan’s editing prioritization framework: Grammar check, review 4Ws and 1H, fish for the hook, fact check, and prune

Next, Susan Melony, the Editor-in-Chief of Product Diggers, explains a 5-step content editing framework as a content editor. You’ll find it shared word for word below:

  • Basic grammar check. “Before I even begin reading, I run the written piece through a basic spell-check and grammar software. I use Grammarly. This eliminates any minor and basic mistakes the article might have and helps you in initial proofreading.”
  • 4 W’s and 1H. “Then, I skim-read the article for the basic 4 W’s and 1H: What? Why? Where? How? When? After highlighting the answers to these basic questions, I move on to the rest of the story. But first, I ensure that all these questions have been answered in the first few sentences.”
  • Fishing for the hook. “It is important for the story to have a ‘wow factor’ that interests the reader. So I identify whether the right hook has been chosen by the writer. This hook should be strategically placed at the beginning of the story to interest the reader in reading further.”
  • Fact check. “Cross-check at least two references, Google any facts and figures, and make sure to weed out any inaccurate information or exaggeration in the article. Ensure that all sources are referenced.”
  • Ctrl + X. “Finally, it’s time to cut short the story and eliminate any unnecessary details. This step is the hardest because when you get to it, every detail seems important. Yet, you must decide what you can fit in that ad space, so you prioritize some information and erase the rest.”

Susan concludes, “Re-read the piece two to three times, and you’re done.”

The 10 steps in the content editing process

Now that you’ve seen how some expert editors go about their work, let's define your process. First things first, carve out enough time in your content workflow for editing. You can’t afford to gloss over it.

Once you’ve done that, follow these steps for a well-oiled content editing process:

1. Read content without making any changes

Read content from start to end before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. If you jump into editing right away, you’re more likely to make bad edits that aren’t informed by what’s covered later in the content. Read first to figure out what you’re working with, and edit second.

2. Study the structure for flow

Ask yourself:

  • Does the argument follow a logical structure?
  • Does each point build on the last to progressively expand readers' topic knowledge?
  • Would moving sections within the content make the information easier to understand? Or more compelling?

Starting drafts with an outline doesn’t mean you can skip this step during the editing stage. However, a thoughtful outline can reduce the need for revisions to content structure.

3. Review sentences for clarity

Check sentence structure (syntax) and voice. Active voice sentences are clearer, more direct, and less wordy than sentences written in passive voice. They improve both readability and comprehension.

4. Check content authority

Start fact-checking in this step. Make sure your data and information are both credible and fresh. If the content features insights from relevant professionals, double-check that they’re authorities on your topic.

5. Optimize for SEO

Check keyword density (the number of times the main keyword is used), as well as where keywords and how they’re used. They should fit into the content naturally.

Add internal links to relevant content. Make sure any external links go to high-authority sites. While you’re at it, review anchor texts for both types of links to make sure they’re descriptive.

For all the images and screenshots in the draft, add or review alt text and captions to make the content accessible. This is an essential but often forgotten aspect of SEO.

6. Format for readability

There’s a lot of work you can do to improve readability. For example:

  • Replace difficult words with simpler ones.
  • Break long, hard-to-understand sentences into short ones.
  • Remove fluff words from the content for a more crisp draft.
  • Make sure your headings and subheadings are short and direct.
  • Create numbered or bulleted lists of steps and key takeaways in the content.
  • Bold key takeaways so readers can still get the gist even if they only skim the content.

💡 Pro tip: Add Hemingway Editor to your editing tools stash. It gives content a readability score and helps you improve it by highlighting passive voice, hard-to-read sentences, and more.

7. Polish the headline and introduction

The headline is key for persuading readers to consume your content.

Ideally, ask writers to share a few headline variations so you can pick the most compelling one. Or, get to work yourself and write down at least 25 headlines using these headline formulas to get to the best one.

Also, review the introduction. Does it push readers to continue reading without being needlessly wordy? Does it convey the gist of the piece, accurately summarizing what readers can expect from the content?

8. Ensure it aligns with your brand voice

Now, analyze the content for its tone of voice. If necessary, make adjustments to align it better with your brand. This includes scrutinizing word choice.

This shouldn’t take long if you’ve provided brand voice guidelines to your writers.

div class="call_out">
Need to know: Write a style guide for different content types you create in GatherContent. Then, share links to the style guide, brand voice, and other documents in the brief. This way, the content collaboration tool can serve as a central repository for all content and guidelines you create.
GatherContent Content Briefs
GatherContent serves as a central library for resources such as style and brand voice guides

9. Give feedback to the writer

If there are significant changes to be made by the writer, provide feedback and suggestions at this point.

If you only had to make small changes—for example, changing the headline formatting from title case to your standard sentence case—leave a comment informing the writer. This way, they can make a note and avoid repeating the same mistake in future drafts.

Need to know: Share feedback and collaborate with writers and team members right within a GatherContent draft. You can also tag writers so they get an email notifying them of what they need to do.
Collaborate on Content in GatherContent
GatherContent makes it easy to share feedback with writers via comments

💡 Learn more: How to provide feedback on content

Now pass on the draft to the copy editor so they can catch typos and grammar errors, and make other technical improvements. Or, if you don’t have a copy editor on your team, take care of it yourself.

10. Give it one final read

Review any edits the writer makes and finalize the changes. Then, proofread to ensure no errors have snuck in and that you’ve checked off everything on your editing checklist.

💡 Remember: Creating quality content isn’t a content writer’s job alone. Professional editing can improve each piece of content, helping it rank and offer better value to readers.

What are you waiting for? Try GatherContent for free to improve your content editing process today.

Ready to learn the ins and outs of the content editing process? We’ll walk you through:

  • What content editing is and why it’s important
  • How it differs from other types of editing
  • The skills a good content editor needs
  • The content editing frameworks that experts use
  • 10 steps for editing drafts to make them more readable and rank-worthy

What is content editing?

Content editing, also known as developmental editing, reviews content for flow, readability, and ease of understanding.

It’s at this stage in the process that you edit to lift content to a publishable standard. This includes things like making sure it reflects your brand voice and is factually correct. It also involves doing on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

What kinds of editing are there?

Content editing is one of several types of editing. Others include:

  • Line editing, which involves combing through content line by line. The goal is to see how effectively each communicates your message. So, a line editor looks for things like confusing sentences, cliches, and overused words.
  • Copy editing, which focuses on various technical aspects of writing. These include mechanics (grammar, spelling, and punctuation). Not to mention formatting, tone and style, and factual and descriptive consistency.
  • Proofreading, which is specific to writing mechanics. It involves checking for accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Plus, checking for consistency and, if you have one, adherence to your style guide.

Out of these types, content and copy editing are likely the most often confused. Many use the terms interchangeably, not realizing the differences between them.

What’s the difference between copy editing and content editing?

Content editing involves scrutinizing the overall organization, flow, and cohesiveness of a draft. Among other things, this can mean suggesting the addition of missing but important information. The opposite could also be true and involve removing unnecessary inclusions.

In contrast, copy editing corrects technical mistakes such as grammar errors. It also often includes correcting inconsistencies in information and adjusting formatting as needed.

Copy editing also involves fine-tuning language and tone for your target audience based on regional differences. For example, it ensures that an entire draft is written in British English or American English depending on the audience. And it may also correct word choices accordingly. For instance, the word “cuppa” resonates more with a British audience than an American one.

Finally, copy editing ensures the content follows your style guide. For example, using the em dash without spacing on either side. Again, this helps create consistent content.

Need to know: Embed style guidelines in GatherContent so writers have them on hand as they draft content.
Embedded Style Guidelines in GatherContent
Embed instructions and style guidelines for writers in GatherContent’s content editing platform

Put simply, copy editing puts the technical aspect of content under a microscope to catch errors and inconsistencies. Whereas content editing sees the big picture with the goal of improving a draft’s flow and readability.

Why content editing is important

Now, back to content editing specifically. It’s an essential part of the editing process. After all, it ensures that content is on-brand, easy to follow, and optimized for readers and search engines. Ultimately, it:

  • Provides accurate information to help you earn readers' trust and become an industry authority
  • Promotes good readability, logical structure, and smooth flow to provide a good reading experience
  • Maintains stylistic and brand consistency
  • Gives your content a better chance of ranking well and driving relevant traffic (thanks to SEO)

“Content editing is an essential part of the editing process. It ensures that content is on-brand, easy to follow, and optimized for readers and search engines.”

What skills does a content editor need?

To produce the benefits above, there are several skills a content editor must have. We chose eight of the most common. Then, we asked a group of 40+ content editors and the people who hire them to rank their value.

From most to least important, here are the top skills for successful content editing:

  1. Written communication: The overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) pegged this as an essential skill.
  2. Attention to detail: This was by far the second most valuable skill with 88% of respondents calling it essential.
  3. Creative thinking: 52% of respondents said creative thinking is essential and 29% consider it valuable but not a must.
  4. Collaboration: 43% of respondents said it’s essential and 35% view it as valuable.
  5. Time management: Compared to the 38% who said it’s essential, slightly more respondents (40%) pegged time management as valuable but non-essential.
  6. Organization: 45% of respondents said it’s a valuable but non-essential skill and 38% feel that it’s a must-have.
  7. Verbal communication: 47% of respondents marked this as a high-value skill but only 27% think it’s essential.
  8. Proficiency with content management systems: Compared to the 40% who think it’s valuable, nearly 30% say it’s just good to have.
Content Editing Skills Ranked
40+ experts ranked the value of the top eight content editing skills

Curious about the experts’ reasoning for these responses? Here are some of their insights on why the skills mentioned are so valuable. And on what underrated skills are useful and why.

Common content editing skills: what the experts say

Written communication. Lucia Tang, Head of Content at Keeper Tax says:

"The most important skill a content editor can have is the ability to give written feedback in a way that empowers the writer to ‘self-serve’ similar edits in the future. That goes beyond providing stronger ways to express the ideas you encounter in drafts."
Lucia Tang
Head of Content, Keeper Tax

“It means articulating the principles behind your edits, so your writers don't have to do all the work of inductive reasoning by themselves. With this sort of feedback, every round of edits does more than just enhance the deliverable—it develops the writer.”

Creative thinking. “Just about anyone can be taught to proofread, make edits here or there, and use a CMS,” remarks Brooks Manley, Owner of Brooks Manley Marketing. “But the best content editors can approach an article from the audience's perspective, evaluate whether or not it's going to achieve its goal, and provide creative solutions to make it a truly valuable piece. This kind of content editing is what sets apart average content from 10x content.”

Verbal communication. “This may seem counterintuitive since their work is done via writing,” admits Logan Mallory, VP of Marketing at Motivosity. “But a copy editor needs to be able to speak with clients, give feedback, as well as review and go over edits with clients. Good verbal communication can help the editing process move forward more efficiently for everyone involved.”

Underrated skills content editors need: what the experts say

Ability to adapt content for different audiences. Mark Whitman, CEO and Founder of Contentellect shares: “One undervalued skill we look for is the ability to translate complex content into more understandable and accessible insight. Expert writers often use terminology that is highly specialized. Good editors are able to adapt articles for a wider readership without watering down the depth.”

And language isn’t the only consideration when it comes to audience. Robert Beames, Head Content Editor at Flying Cat Marketing says: “The best content editors have a clear understanding of where the reader is in the buyer journey and their pain points.”

"It's crucial for the intro and any CTAs to be laser-focused on meeting this reader at their level of expertise, answering their search intent, and providing genuine value. A great content editor will look for ways to make more of an impact in these sections to increase conversions and improve the reader experience."
Robert Beames
Head Content Editor, Flying Cat Marketing

Problem-solving. “A content editor's job is to solve content-related problems,” says Nina Pączka of Resume Now. “Sentences that are too long, or have incomprehensible wording, poor grammar, and awkward formatting are just some elements an editor has to pay attention to.

However, the real work begins after catching all the obvious errors. The editor's task is to propose the best possible corrections so that the material fits the target audience. This task is often challenging and requires looking for creative stylistic, linguistic, or grammatical solutions.”

As you can see, much skill and intention are necessary to be a successful content editor. But there’s more. Prioritization frameworks can also contribute to an editor’s success.

The content editing prioritization frameworks experts use

The question now is: how do experts prioritize editing content?

Here’s a summary of the content editing prioritization framework that two experts follow.

1. Billy Chan’s 4-step framework

Billy’s editing prioritization framework: Review flow, subheadings, grammar, and headline

Billy Chan, Editor-in-Chief at DroneLast, prioritizes checking the following as part of the content editing process:

  • The flow of the article. In other words, the structure and the sequence of paragraphs. “If the structure is unclear or important points are missing, I give the author detailed feedback and ask him or her to revise the article," Chan writes.
  • The article’s subheadings. Chan explains why: “Online readers generally skim the subheadings to find the information they are looking for. So the subheadings are important to really engage the readers.”
  • Grammar and typos. "I use Grammarly and InstaText for this process.”
  • Headline. “Last but not least, I spend at least 15 minutes polishing the headline with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to make it SEO-friendly and appealing to the audience at the same time. A good headline trumps everything in the article,” concludes Chan.

2. Susan Melony’s 5-step framework

Susan’s editing prioritization framework: Grammar check, review 4Ws and 1H, fish for the hook, fact check, and prune

Next, Susan Melony, the Editor-in-Chief of Product Diggers, explains a 5-step content editing framework as a content editor. You’ll find it shared word for word below:

  • Basic grammar check. “Before I even begin reading, I run the written piece through a basic spell-check and grammar software. I use Grammarly. This eliminates any minor and basic mistakes the article might have and helps you in initial proofreading.”
  • 4 W’s and 1H. “Then, I skim-read the article for the basic 4 W’s and 1H: What? Why? Where? How? When? After highlighting the answers to these basic questions, I move on to the rest of the story. But first, I ensure that all these questions have been answered in the first few sentences.”
  • Fishing for the hook. “It is important for the story to have a ‘wow factor’ that interests the reader. So I identify whether the right hook has been chosen by the writer. This hook should be strategically placed at the beginning of the story to interest the reader in reading further.”
  • Fact check. “Cross-check at least two references, Google any facts and figures, and make sure to weed out any inaccurate information or exaggeration in the article. Ensure that all sources are referenced.”
  • Ctrl + X. “Finally, it’s time to cut short the story and eliminate any unnecessary details. This step is the hardest because when you get to it, every detail seems important. Yet, you must decide what you can fit in that ad space, so you prioritize some information and erase the rest.”

Susan concludes, “Re-read the piece two to three times, and you’re done.”

The 10 steps in the content editing process

Now that you’ve seen how some expert editors go about their work, let's define your process. First things first, carve out enough time in your content workflow for editing. You can’t afford to gloss over it.

Once you’ve done that, follow these steps for a well-oiled content editing process:

1. Read content without making any changes

Read content from start to end before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. If you jump into editing right away, you’re more likely to make bad edits that aren’t informed by what’s covered later in the content. Read first to figure out what you’re working with, and edit second.

2. Study the structure for flow

Ask yourself:

  • Does the argument follow a logical structure?
  • Does each point build on the last to progressively expand readers' topic knowledge?
  • Would moving sections within the content make the information easier to understand? Or more compelling?

Starting drafts with an outline doesn’t mean you can skip this step during the editing stage. However, a thoughtful outline can reduce the need for revisions to content structure.

3. Review sentences for clarity

Check sentence structure (syntax) and voice. Active voice sentences are clearer, more direct, and less wordy than sentences written in passive voice. They improve both readability and comprehension.

4. Check content authority

Start fact-checking in this step. Make sure your data and information are both credible and fresh. If the content features insights from relevant professionals, double-check that they’re authorities on your topic.

5. Optimize for SEO

Check keyword density (the number of times the main keyword is used), as well as where keywords and how they’re used. They should fit into the content naturally.

Add internal links to relevant content. Make sure any external links go to high-authority sites. While you’re at it, review anchor texts for both types of links to make sure they’re descriptive.

For all the images and screenshots in the draft, add or review alt text and captions to make the content accessible. This is an essential but often forgotten aspect of SEO.

6. Format for readability

There’s a lot of work you can do to improve readability. For example:

  • Replace difficult words with simpler ones.
  • Break long, hard-to-understand sentences into short ones.
  • Remove fluff words from the content for a more crisp draft.
  • Make sure your headings and subheadings are short and direct.
  • Create numbered or bulleted lists of steps and key takeaways in the content.
  • Bold key takeaways so readers can still get the gist even if they only skim the content.

💡 Pro tip: Add Hemingway Editor to your editing tools stash. It gives content a readability score and helps you improve it by highlighting passive voice, hard-to-read sentences, and more.

7. Polish the headline and introduction

The headline is key for persuading readers to consume your content.

Ideally, ask writers to share a few headline variations so you can pick the most compelling one. Or, get to work yourself and write down at least 25 headlines using these headline formulas to get to the best one.

Also, review the introduction. Does it push readers to continue reading without being needlessly wordy? Does it convey the gist of the piece, accurately summarizing what readers can expect from the content?

8. Ensure it aligns with your brand voice

Now, analyze the content for its tone of voice. If necessary, make adjustments to align it better with your brand. This includes scrutinizing word choice.

This shouldn’t take long if you’ve provided brand voice guidelines to your writers.

div class="call_out">
Need to know: Write a style guide for different content types you create in GatherContent. Then, share links to the style guide, brand voice, and other documents in the brief. This way, the content collaboration tool can serve as a central repository for all content and guidelines you create.
GatherContent Content Briefs
GatherContent serves as a central library for resources such as style and brand voice guides

9. Give feedback to the writer

If there are significant changes to be made by the writer, provide feedback and suggestions at this point.

If you only had to make small changes—for example, changing the headline formatting from title case to your standard sentence case—leave a comment informing the writer. This way, they can make a note and avoid repeating the same mistake in future drafts.

Need to know: Share feedback and collaborate with writers and team members right within a GatherContent draft. You can also tag writers so they get an email notifying them of what they need to do.
Collaborate on Content in GatherContent
GatherContent makes it easy to share feedback with writers via comments

💡 Learn more: How to provide feedback on content

Now pass on the draft to the copy editor so they can catch typos and grammar errors, and make other technical improvements. Or, if you don’t have a copy editor on your team, take care of it yourself.

10. Give it one final read

Review any edits the writer makes and finalize the changes. Then, proofread to ensure no errors have snuck in and that you’ve checked off everything on your editing checklist.

💡 Remember: Creating quality content isn’t a content writer’s job alone. Professional editing can improve each piece of content, helping it rank and offer better value to readers.

What are you waiting for? Try GatherContent for free to improve your content editing process today.

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