23-Point Peer Editing Checklist for Creating Exceptional Content

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  • 10/24/2016

    23-Point Peer Editing Checklist for Creating Exceptional Contentprocess.st/peer-editing-checklist/

    An editor is a writers best friend.

    For me, thats literally the case. Ive known Ben Mulholland since my school days

    But for you, an editor is your best friend because nothing helps a writer grow faster than a great editor .

    How will you know if what youre writing is any good? You write to the best of your abilities, so to you even the mostpoorly received article was supposed to be good.

    An editor, however, will be able to sniff out weakness straight away.

    The opening line is weak

    I lost interest during this paragraph

    You dont source this quote

    And so on

    So you need an editor. And an editor needs a peer editing checklist.

    At Process Street, we use checklists for everything we do. We have a pre-publish checklist for blog posts andmarketing emails. We have a checklist for keyword research. We even have a checklist for making checklists.

    In this post, I want to share with you our peer editing checklist for training writers and editors to become the bestthey can be, and creating stellar blog content.

    Lets go!

    1/15

    https://www.process.st/peer-editing-checklist/

  • P.S: Scroll right to the bottom for an interactive version of this checklist!

    Structure and theme:

    What are your first impressions of the post?

    From reading it through once out loud, youll be able to tell where the flow breaks, where you got bored, and all kindsof vital reactions that readers will be experiencing, too.

    In this section, youll check:

    Read the entire post through once aloud

    The post is interesting

    The post is unique

    The post is actionable

    The structure flows logically

    Subheadings make sense when read alone

    Post is scannable

    Read the entire post through once aloud

    Reading a post aloud is the best way to find mistakes and dodgy language. Kate Kiefer Lee says she always readsher blog posts out loud because it helps her:

    Catch errors

    Improve the flow

    Write more like you speak

    Youll catch out any unnatural language while reading aloud, and quickly be able to tell how to rewrite it.

    The post is interesting

    Is the post boring? What kinds of content do you find boring? A good writer can make an interesting article out ofpretty much any topic.

    For example, I once set about writing about the importance of business processes.

    Right?

    2/15

    http://katekieferlee.com/blog/2014/5/4/my-favorite-editing-tiphttps://www.process.st/why-processes-are-important/

  • Right?

    Instead, I turned it into a series of stories: NASA blew up a satellite, the most disastrous train-wreck in historyhappened, and the nuclear reaction at Chernobyl went into meltdown.

    That doesnt sound quite so bad, right? All of these issues happened because of bad processes, so it was theperfect way of showing you how terrible things can be if you dont bother to follow standard procedure.

    According to Neil Patel, there are 9 elements to an interesting blog post:

    3/15

    http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-write-interesting-content#sm.0001d3n8uw25wdtbthx10p0qdq2t7

  • 1. A story

    2. First person writing

    3. Foreshadowing (in this post)

    4. Transition (weve looked at X, now were going to look at Y)

    5. Clarity

    6. Brevity

    7. Flow and detail (think article, not outline)

    8. Short sentences

    9. Scannable chunks of text

    The post is unique

    Uniqueness is the easiest thing on the list! All you have to do is tell a story from your own experience, or put apersonal twist on the post. See at the start where I talk about my friend being my editor?

    Also, I couldnt find another peer-proofing checklist for bloggers on the internet anywhere, so thats another.

    Make sure the post is:

    Telling a story

    Combining data or advice in a unique way

    Sharing an opinion

    The post is actionable

    Yes, actionable does sound like an empty buzzword

    The thing is, it will make or break your blog posts.

    If a user doesnt know what to do with what theyve just read, or even if theyve learned anything they canimplement, theyre going to be disappointed. And so are you when you look at your traffic.

    There are a few simple ways to make posts more actionable, so dont worry!

    1. Use for example, a lot

    2. Demonstrate with images and screenshots

    3. Use videos to show how to do something

    4. Use imperatives to tell your reader what to do

    The structure flows logically

    Lets say youre reading a blog post to find out more about a topic

    What do you expect?

    You expect to find out what it is exactly, why you should care, see some examples, and see how to implement ityourself.

    4/15

    https://www.leadpages.net/blog/unique-content-how-to-create/https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/01/15/6-ways-to-make-your-posts-more-actionable/

  • And thats how blog posts youre editing work, too.

    If youre giving people the how before you give them the why, theyre less likely to read on.

    Heres the anatomy of a perfect blog post, according to CoSchedule:

    Subheadings make sense when read alone

    Subheadings need to convey value and make enough sense on their own to show the reader what the post contains.Cut vague subheadings like What happened? and Why this matters use scannable headings that add value.

    5/15

    http://coschedule.com/blog/write-a-great-blog-post/

  • Read this guide for more information.

    Post is scannable

    Its a fact that readers on the web are going to scan your post whether you think thats good or not. The best thingyou can do is to make it scannable, because readers will first scan the main points to determine whether or not theyshould bother reading the post.

    Show them that its worth it by:

    Using images

    Using bullet points or numbered lists

    Using short one-line paragraphs

    If a post looks like one massive wall of text, no-ones going to read it. Youll get a high bounce rate, itll kill your SEO,and it offers a bad user experience.

    At Process Street, we make it a rule that no paragraph can be over two sentences in length.

    Line editing:6/15

    https://www.freelancewriting.com/freelancing/writing-gripping-subheadings/https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/http://process.st/

  • After going through the piece as a whole, you need to check it word by word, line by line.

    Most people think that this is the only part of editing you need to do, but thats totally wrong. Editing is everythingfrom tone, to style, to content. Not just spelling and grammar.

    Included in this section:

    Run spelling & grammar check

    Opening line grabs the readers attention

    Remove filler words

    Remove passive voice where possible

    Hyphenation is correct

    Call to action at the end

    Run spelling & grammar check

    If the writer didnt have Grammarly installed while writing, its your job to double-check the post for spelling andgrammar problems.

    Common issues include:

    Confused homonyms (there, theyre)

    Missing comma after introductory clause

    Missing apostrophes

    Read this post for 25 of the most common grammar mistakes (but more importantly, install Grammarly and neverneed to check for grammar issues again).

    Make sure the opening line grabs the readers attention

    The best content and copy keeps readers hooks right from the start. The first sentence drags readers onto the nextone. The next one takes them further and further down the page.

    It all starts with a great opening line! Brian Deans the master at this, and even has his own formula for you to do thesame.

    7/15

    https://redpenofdoom.com/2011/10/10/the-evil-secret-to-all-writing-editing-is-everything/http://grammarly.com/http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/common-grammar-mistakes-list#sm.0001d3n8uw25wdtbthx10p0qdq2t7http://backlinko.com/seo-copywriting

  • You can see this exact technique in action on his post about squeeze pages:

    Remove filler words

    Actually, probably, really, very, possibly, like, pretty, which is.8/15

  • Filler words suck the life out of your content, and youre better off deleting all of them.

    This top 10 list from Erin Feldman shows the most common examples:

    1. Just

    2. So

    3. Very

    4. Really

    5. That

    6. And then

    7. But

    8. Of

    9. Some

    10. Like

    Want a comprehensive list of 297? Click here.

    Remove the passive voice where possible

    Its best to describe the passive voice with an example:

    When youre speaking indirectly (the window was broken by the boy), it makes it harder for the reader to makesense of whats being said, and uses unnecessary words.

    Action: Instead of saying the window was broken by the boy, say the boy broke the window. Much better.

    Hyphenation is correct

    Hyphenation is complex, but you want to get it right to avoid confusion. Its not one of those rules that could bethrown away, because without correct usage you could end up making silly mistakes. For example:

    Confusing: Springfield has little town charm.

    With hyphen: Springfield has little-town charm.9/15

    http://www.writerightwords.com/10-filler-words/https://smartblogger.com/weak-writing/

  • There are 20 different rules for using hyphens. If youre unsure, or think that a word seems wrong when hyphenated,check that guide for a quick reference point.

    Call to action at the end

    When the readers finished your blog post, whats the next thing you want them to do?