By Simon Jones – Chief Sub-Editor
Typos. Half-finished sentences. Broken links. These are things you’d expect to find on some Average Joe’s blog, not a business’s promoted tweet or even a presidential hopeful’s campaign collateral. If you want your quality copy to stand out, draw in potential clients and ultimately generate conversions, you need to pay more attention to the words on the screen.
Sure, we’ve all been there – typos are an unavoidable part of the writing process. And they can happen to anyone. But that’s why we don’t jot something down and then immediately post it. Or at least, we shouldn’t.
The easiest way to understand what not to do is to explain how things should be done. At King Content, we implement a multi-check system for all content that comes through our doors. This means our clients receive the highest quality copy, with more than just one pair of eyes glancing at the text.
As soon as a writer submits a project, a content editor or account manager will review the draft to ensure it meets the client’s brief, style and tone of voice. If it requires no revisions from the writer, the head of editorial will also review the copy to verify it hits the mark.
Once this phase is complete, the copy moves over to the sub-editors. Here, we dig our fingers into the roots of the copy, covering everything from fact-checking, inserting links and fixing typos to tweaking flow and hitting specific client style requests.
Additionally, several of our clients have their own legal department, which can alter certain elements of a piece to ensure it aligns with company policy. In this instance, a second review round may be required.
Does that sound like a lot? That’s because it takes more than pressing ‘post’ to publish great content.
The ‘other’ guys
Making sure an errant ‘its’ doesn’t turn into an ‘it’s’ and perfecting our ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘theres’ are but two pieces in a much larger puzzle.
We also use external products to sculpt the copy. Plagiarism checkers like Copyscape are a must, while a hardback copy and online subscription to theMacquarie Dictionary (or whichever dictionary relates to your market) should always be handy. Experience is one thing, but a good editor understands the wisdom of using every tool at their disposal.
“But what about crazy deadlines?” I hear you say. And you’re right. Sometimes the copy must be published straight away – whether it’s a timely event or jumping on the back of viral content. But you should never sacrifice quality copy for timeliness.
If you’re too fast on the trigger and try to ingratiate yourself with the often-brutal social media population, you might end up with the exact opposite of what you intended – as DiGiorno, a frozen pizza brand, found out after attempting to plug its product via the trending hashtag #WhyIStayed. Unfortunately for DiGiorno, the true meaning behind the hashtag was much darker than a night in with pizza.
It could happen to anyone!
Corporate disasters are nothing new, but society’s obsession with social media means unintended blunders occur far more frequently than they used to, and even show up in our personal newsfeeds – in case you feel like kicking a business while it’s down.
Hooters, McDonald’s, SpaghettiOs – all massive corporate brands that at one time or another made fools of themselves. Could any of their online gaffes been avoided? If you ask me: most definitely. Just one extra layer of checking would’ve meant most – if not all – of those posts were not published as they were. Sure, a couple might’ve slipped through the cracks, but with each new set of eyes you have another opportunity to spot an error, a social issue or a problem with the tone of voice. This is a collaborative business, so we must collaborate throughevery stage of the journey.
The same rule applies to copy. We work in a fast-moving content marketing industry that generates a whole lot of content each and every day. It’s a crowded market with firms juggling client obligations, writers and freelancers, as well as their own teams of in-house staff. When the going gets tough and clients are banging down the door with more work, it can be easy to throw up your hands and say: “Good enough! That’ll do!” – but it won’t do. Not if you want that content to have any chance of breaking through the clutter and standing out as a beacon of high-quality work.
It’s all in the timing
Time management is key here. And it starts from the very first meeting with the client. If the team provides a solid workflow – from creating a content calendar to briefing a writer to eventually publishing with the client’s approval – and sticks to it, then you are guaranteed to have the right amount of people overseeing the copy. That means the best quality produced in a timely manner.
It’s not all sunshine and lollipops in this industry. The consumer sees the end product, but not the amount of work that goes into polishing the copy – even something as small as a tweet or a LinkedIn update can have four or five people looking at it before the inevitable ‘publish’ moment.
I sound like a broken record, but what’s most important in content marketing is quality. And in order to deliver that, you need to bin the blogging mentality and approach your content with a keen eye and a willingness to spend time to deliver the best.