This is part 2 of a series. Read part 1 of how to streamline the content review process.
You can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your content review process by asking for the feedback you need when it makes sense. After all, it's not helpful to find out you have the wrong main idea after you've been through 7 reviews. That's why we split content revisions into two parts (and often with different people focusing on them.
The big revisions
Big revisions impact core aspects of your content. Changes to these elements can be fatal, so you want to check them off before you've put too much time and effort in. Most of the big revisions are covered in the C-P-A, so that's why we suggest completing that before you start drafting. [Download an annotated Content-Purpose-Audience Strategy]. The big revisions are:
- Purpose. Why are you creating this content? If you don’t know, your readers won’t know why they’re supposed to read it. So make sure your purpose is clear, and that your main idea and details support it.
- Main Idea. What’s the most important thing you want your audience to know? Is that obvious? [More on serving audience's needs]
- Key Details. Drafts are notoriously short on details. Do yoy have the right key details and enough description to support your main idea and address audience questions/objections? [More on how to drive relevance here]
- Beginning. Is your beginning engaging? Will it entice the audience to explore more of your content?
- Order. Is the information following your open organized in a way that leads to the conclusion? Does your document flow fluidly from one point to the next? A logical progression is crucial to keeping the audience engaged. [More on how to drive audience engagement]
- Ending. Does your close leave the audience with a clear sense of what was important and what they need to think or do. How’s your ending?
The small revisions?
After you've gotten the big revisions out of the way, focus on the smaller, more style-focused changes like:
- Concision and Clarity. Almost all of us overwrite by 20 to 25 percent. The easiest place to firm up your content, then, is to go through and prune out the unnecessary words. You can make great strides towards clarity and concision simply by deleting:
- Unnecessary introductory phrases.
- Parenthetical phrases.
- Deeply nested constructions.
- Qualifying statements.
- Verb Choice. Are you using the most descriptive verbs? Using the most precise and descriptive verbs possible adds energy and clarity to your content and can reduce the need for additional verbiage. It’s helpful to keep the number of verbs per sentence to a minimum, lest you wade into those pesky complicated sentence structures.
- Word Choice. Are you using words that are appropriate for your audience? Jargon's OK if your content consumers will know it. Add explanations/definitions for terms that must be used (sometimes for legal reasons) but may not be widely understood.
Only after these passes (yours and others') should you bother with spelling, punctuation, usage and grammar (SPUG). Why? Because all the previous rounds will likely create more errors. Why waste time fixing content that might get edited out completely?