Content Gatekeeping- Tips for Mastering Content Editing
As communication intern for Hatchit, I’ve been assigned to many tasks over the past six months. My biggest ongoing responsibility is to edit all content before it is published. Jeremy has given the role a specific title, “Information Gatekeeper.” For some reason, every time the gatekeeper comes to mind, I can’t help but think about the gatekeeper in Thor, Heimdall. You know, this good-looking fellow.
Of course editing content isn’t nearly as important as protecting Asgard from other realms, but why shouldn’t it be? Having the opportunity to work with web designers has given me great insight into how much time and effort it takes to make beautiful, innovative websites. And because so much time and effort is put forth, why should silly grammatical mistakes be the make or break factor? The answer is, it shouldn’t!
I believe that following these easy steps will make content editing a breeze:
Be proactive instead of reactive
With any component of business, or life for that matter, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive. When it comes to content writing, management and editing, the best way to be proactive is to educate your team on the appropriate grammar format. As a Manship student, we are taught to apply the AP style to any and all writing – but every writer and office is different. Establishing which grammar guidelines your company will follow makes the editing process much smoother.
Excuse me, but what did you say?
One of the most important things to pay attention to when writing is your tone of voice. Too many times company’s messages are misinterpreted based on tone of voice. I believe that when it comes to successful business writing, there should be a happy medium between showing off your professionalism and your company’s personality. Clients will appreciate your ability to communicate with them professionally because it reaffirms their decision in hiring you. The reason they will love working with you is because of that added bit of personality in your communication.
Check, double check and then check some more
In my editing experience, I have found that I usually don’t find every mistake the first time around. This tends to be the case when I am looking at the wording of a certain sentence or paragraph. At first glance a sentence might sound perfectly fine, but you should never leave published work to first glance. Instead, review the information all at once looking for small errors. Next, look at the information in more detail to determine what’s relevant, and what can be omitted. This step can take as long as needed – within in deadline parameters of course.
The final step to content editing is: you guessed it, editing some more! I suggest one final round of revisions before publishing. Before diving right back into editing, step away from the content. Depending on the complexity of the content, it might be beneficial to take a break and focus on another task for a while. A break will allow you to clear your mind of the information and return focused with the fresh perspective needed to find the best wording for any tricky content.
My last bit of advice would be to assign your own gatekeeper. For whatever reason, poor grammar has a negative connotation. If you assign someone as content gatekeeper, the position feels way more important! (Because who doesn’t like to save the day? One grammatical mistake at a time.)