You found your inspiration, you tackled the demons of procrastination, and you just cranked out a fantastic blog post.
But don’t you dare hit “publish” just yet.
The best blog posts (and white papers, about us pages, projects for clients, etc.) come after revising your work.
While it might look more attractive to click “publish” and be done with the post, I can assure you that taking the extra time to follow these steps will leave you with better, smarter, and more shareable posts.
1. Take a break
As soon as you type the last sentence of your blog, get up and walk away from your computer. Give your brain a rest from writing while you grab a snack or take your dog for a walk. Work in a corporate setting? Go say hi to a coworker friend or refill your coffee. You’ll come back to your computer with a fresh pair of eyes.
If you don’t have the time to get up, then still give your brain time to refocus. Check your email, some of your favorite blogs, or one of your social media accounts. Spend at least twenty minutes on another task to wipe your mind’s slate clean.
2. Check for silly grammar errors
You know which ones I mean: to/too/two, they’re/their/there, affect/effect, and the rest of the usual suspects. Everyone makes these mistakes, but not everyone takes the time to go back and correct them. Leaving the wrong “to” in a post can be enough to turn off readers.
Then double check that your tenses are all the same. Did you start off the post in active, present tense and then switch to past? Kick your writing into shape and make it uniform throughout.
3. Cut empty words or phrases
Phrases like “in my opinion,” “what I mean to say,” and “it goes without saying” do not hold weight and should be eliminated from your blog posts. Don’t mean to say something, say it.
Now evaluate your adjectives and adverbs. Do you really need all of them? Use descriptive verbs to kill generic verbs and adverbs (e.g. “dash” for “run quickly”). Your readers want a comprehensive but quick read.
4. Check the flow and tone
Take another break and then read over your blog post from start to finish. Does it read too fast or too slow? Do any of your sections sound incomplete? Did your writing change from a serious voice to a comical one? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then go back and whip your post into shape.
If it sounds awkward to you, it will sound ten times more awkward to the reader.
5. Steal a second pair of eyes
Even the best of editors miss something. This is why you should ask a friend, parent, neighbor, stranger in the coffee shop, or trusted online compadre to read over your work. Your writing must be readable and creative, and your editing companion should be under specific instructions to tell you exactly what does or does not need work.
Are you still ready to hit that “publish” button without a revision? Let me leave you with this thought: Time is money. But spending the extra time to write and edit content that rocks will bring you even more money, email signups, social shares, or whatever your primary goal is.
That seems like a pretty great reason to me.
Mandy Kilinskis works a content developer for Quality Logo Products. When not writing gripping product descriptions and killer blog posts about commas, she’s generally busy collecting as many promotional pens as possible. What? She really likes pens.