This is part four in a series on Content Marketing Strategies from Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System.
Day 3 is the last day before publishing, so everything you do on this day will be to prepare your content to go out into the world and to give it the best possible chance of being consumed.
Need to catch up on the rest of the 4 Day Content Creation System? Here are the previous posts:
- A System for Easily Publishing Consistently Great Content
- Day 1: How to Build a “Backbone” for Your Content Marketing
- Day 2: How to Fill in the Details of Your Winning Piece of Content
Review Your Draft and Clean It Up
At this point, you’ve seen your content over a couple of days. Hopefully, this extra time has given your mind a chance to mull over your subject and surface new ways of explaining it. That’s the beauty of this system — you give yourself time and space to develop your best work.
Day 3 Tips
Start the day with a quick read-through to see how your content looks today.
My favorite way to do this is to read it out loud in a monotone voice. If your content still makes sense and sounds good — even with no inflection in your voice — you’re in good shape. If something sounds confusing or unclear when you read it this way, make edits until it is easy to understand.
At this stage, you want to edit and carefully proofread for typos and grammatical errors.
Consider reading your content from top to bottom and then from bottom to top — sometimes reading it in opposite order helps mistakes to come to the forefront. Keep reading and tweaking until it’s just right.
Next, spend some time formatting your post for readability. For more on this, read 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content.
Remember, we read differently online: our eyes scan text. Everything you can do to inject your content with ample subheads, bulleted lists, and block quotes (or call out quotes) will help encourage your readers to consume your information.
Be generous with your return key. Break up long paragraphs into shorter, more compact “thought chunks.” Every place you see a thought “turn a corner” and head in a different direction, hit the return key. Don’t be afraid to to feature a one-sentence paragraph occasionally: when you want to highlight an idea, this is a great way to draw attention to it.
Add bulleted lists. Look for sentences that contain lots of consecutive commas. For example, when you think about flavors of ice cream, do you think of smooth vanilla, sweet strawberry, creamy chocolate, luscious caramel swirl, and crunchy rocky road? Instead of the previous sentence, do this:
When you think about flavors of ice cream, do you think of:
- Smooth vanilla
- Sweet strawberry
- Creamy chocolate
- Luscious caramel swirl
- Crunchy rocky road
As you can see, the bulleted list injects a lot of white space into your page. It’s fast and easy to skim. Read more about writing easy-to-read bulleted lists in the Main Copy chapter of the Master Content Marketing book.
Add excerpts using block quotes. Block quotes or call-outs highlight specific excerpts of text that you’d like your reader to notice.
This is an example of a block quote which is styled differently than the text above and below it. It highlights something special you don’t want your reader to miss.
The beauty of these stylish chunks of text is that they are surrounded by white space, so your reader’s eyes go straight to them. Because they’re formatted differently from the surrounding text, they stand out.
When you’re thinking about which text to highlight in a block quote, use the same thinking we use about subheads. When read separately from your content, subheads tell a story all on their own. Block quotes do this, too.
So as you pull out a sentence or two to highlight in a block quote, think about the overall message your reader will understand if all they ever read are your block quotes. Your block quotes will stand out as people scan your text — will they invite skimmers to read?
Add an image. For more on finding and using images with your content, read How to Fully Engage Your Readers’ Brains with Images. On this final day of polishing your post, find an image that conveys the meaning of your content in visual form.
Pamela Wilson is a 30-year marketing veteran and is the author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.