The content production process isn’t a fast or easy one for content operations teams. It takes an average of 3 hours and 51 minutes to write a blog post, never mind editing, proofreading, and adding media. The time investment is much higher if you create more involved content, such as white papers, ebooks, and videos.
Source: Orbit Media
Large content ops and comms teams need to run like a well-oiled machine to stay on top of a high-volume publishing schedule. Unfortunately, content often gets hung up in the editing process, leading to delays that can throw your entire schedule off.
You know the saying: Work smarter, not harder. Let’s look at seven ways to reduce editing time.
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Editing can seem like a time-consuming process that you are stuck with, especially if you want to keep pushing out quality content that appeals to your audience and drives results. But let us be the bearers of good news.
Yes, you can cut down on the time it takes to edit and still publish stellar content.
Content gets results, but only if it contains information that addresses your audience’s pain points, speaks to their interests, entertains them, or answers their questions. The editing process ensures your content does just that while consistently matching your brand voice and maintaining the style and quality your audience expects.
You can’t skimp on the editing process. Rather, you need strategies to reduce editing time that won’t lower your content quality.
You need every asset to be polished when it reaches your audience. The editing process covers more than proofreading for grammar and punctuation, though that’s an important aspect.
When you look at the big picture of your content, editing should ensure the piece is:
These five Cs of editing tell you what you want to accomplish. They’re also a great reminder for your writers.
Types of Edits
Whether you have one editor or a team, a complete edit covers multiple writing facets. When done well, the content will hit the five Cs.
If you want to reduce editing time, you need your editors to know what they are looking for during the editing process. There are generally five types of edits:
- Developmental or substantive: This editing approach examines whether a content piece has a cohesive message or thesis. It covers topical development and substantive meaning. At this stage, editors also fact-check information.
- Structural: Even if the ideas are there, they need to be in a structure that makes sense. Does the information flow in an organized manner? Is the style and presentation consistent? Like developmental editing, this method looks at the big picture. You can combine substantive and structural edits to reduce editing time.
- Line: Line editing begins the process of dialing in to the details. The line editor assesses content line by line, looking for repetitive words or phrases, tone shifts, inconsistencies in information or brand voice, confusing, and run-on sentences, and pacing.
- Copy: This stage digs into the nitty-gritty of grammar, syntax, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. A copyeditor also checks for formatting inconsistencies, such as font size or style changes and numerical representations. Copyediting requires in-depth knowledge of the written language and company preferences for writing style.
- Proofreading: This step is the final editing pass to ensure no oversights. Though it isn’t always possible, having new eyes on the content at this stage is best. It’s easy to read past errors if one person has been handling multiple editing steps.
These five editing methods help editors focus and organize their tasks around specific content components.
You need a structured approach to the process and the right tools to reduce editing time.
1. Determine an Editing Process
Having an established process improves editing efficiency. It helps your editors move through it in an organized manner. It’ll also make it easier for them to focus on what’s important.
Even if you have one editor, they should tackle the big-picture editing steps first and then move on to the detailed stages. Use the five types of editing to guide you when developing your process, placing the developmental and structural editing before line and copy editing.
Ideally, someone other than the editors completing primary editing tasks should perform the final proofreading stage. Often, this job falls to the content marketing or team manager.
You should include revision processes and timelines to reduce editing time effectively. Define what types of errors should trigger a revision or rewrite. Additionally, you’ll want to establish how long editors have to complete their tasks and how long writers can take to make necessary changes if an asset comes back to them.
2. Create a Style Guide
A style guide is essential. You can incorporate an established style guide, such as the ones the Modern Language Association or the Associated Press publish. However, you’ll likely want to add elements that make sense for your brand.
Your style guide should include voice attributes that ensure the content matches your brand voice. Including word choice, phrasing, and messaging preferences, as well as language writers should avoid, reduces ambiguity.
Your writers will use the style guide in addition to your editors, leading to greater consistency and fewer writing errors. When writers follow your guide, assets arrive to the editors in a more polished state, which helps reduce editing time.
3. Use Content Templates
Content structure can make or break your audience’s experience and engagement. You can have fabulous information, but if the formatting is non-existent, inconsistent, or not reader-friendly, your audience will bounce almost as soon as their eyes land on the page.
Part of the editing process is evaluating the format. Your editors will have a far easier time doing so if you have a standard that applies to all content within a content category.
For example, a blog post should have a structure that includes headings, subheadings, and short paragraphs to improve readability and make it easier for readers to scan the page. Adding bullet points and numbered lists also enhances the user experience.
Content templates provide an established structure for writers and editors to follow. Check out our blog template that sets up a framework for writers to use as they create the blog.
Divvy’s platform lets you upload the template into the content interface, so writers and editors have easy access and everyone knows which format to use. Format evaluation is a much quicker process for editors if they know the writer used the template when crafting the post.
4. Establish an Editing Checklist
Establishing a checklist will reduce editing time while ensuring your editors do a thorough job. Editing will be more efficient because your team knows what to pay attention to with each pass through the content.
It might seem more efficient to review an item for multiple editing elements at one time, but trying to do everything at once is actually a slower process that is more likely to lead to errors. Multitasking can lower productivity by as much as 40%.
When you create an editing checklist, break it down into types of editing and then the tasks required for each approach. Even if one person is doing the line and copy editing, split the checklist into two sections and then add individual tasks under each section.
The copyediting section might contain line items for syntax, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage. Ideally, the editors read through the content for one line item at a time, allowing them to focus their attention just on catching one type of error.
5. Make It Easy To Collaborate
Collaboration can reduce editing time — if it’s efficient. Bouncing around between communication tools won’t cut it.
You need a system that simplifies collaboration. Divvy’s platform integrates communication right within the system.
Our content interface allows multiple users to view an asset simultaneously. When one team member has a question or wants clarification, they only need to leave a message on the item’s workspace.
Additionally, your team can create and edit content right in the system. When a writer or editor revises an asset in the system, it updates immediately, so everyone knows they are always looking at the most current version.
6. Implement an Automated Workflow
An automated workflow significantly speeds up content production and reduces editing time. With Divvy, you can implement and automate a customized workflow for each asset type.
You can allocate team members for each task, assign time limitations, set up notifications, and establish a completion and approval process. When you initiate a content piece, you trigger the system to implement the associated workflow.
The increased visibility ensures everyone knows where an asset is in the production process, who’s responsible for each task, and what deadlines are approaching. The entire process runs more smoothly, so editing is also more efficient.
7. Use AI Editing Tools
Computers can perform rote tasks faster than any human ever could. Take advantage of their superpowers to reduce editing time.
AI software such as Grammarly provides in-text suggestions to aid with writing mechanics and check for plagiarism. These tools also offer coaching on other elements, including tips to improve clarity and reader engagement. Plus, you have the option to purchase a plan that allows you to customize the tone and language and upload a style guide.
Writer is a generative AI platform that you can train on your content. It’ll learn your brand’s voice and provide coaching that helps improve consistency.
AI editing tools will speed up your editing process even more if you use a content operations platform such as DivvyHQ that can integrate these tools.
Divvy can absolutely help you reduce editing time! We streamline your entire content production process, improving efficiency and cutting chaos across the board. Our content interface, communication and collaboration tools, templates, automated workflow tools, and integrations ensure your team has everything they need to breeze through the editing process. Request a demo today to see smooth-sailing content production in action.
What Are the 5 Cs of Editing?
The five Cs of editing are clear, concise, comprehensive, consistent, and correct. The goal of editing is to assess whether content hits all five and, if not, determine what it needs to get there. Different types of editing focus on various elements of written content, but the five Cs drive the editing process.
How Can I Cut Down on Editing Time?
To reduce editing time, you need an established process, a clear vision of the end, and the right set of tools. A strong foundation allows editors to focus their attention and tasks, and using the right tools makes each step more efficient.
Using a style guide and content templates improves the writing process, which makes the editor’s job easier. Editors should also have a solid grasp of the style guide. An editing checklist, collaboration tools, AI editing tools, and automated workflows help move content through the editing process faster.
What Is the Difference Between Copy Editing and Content Editing?
Copy editing focuses on the detailed elements of a piece of content, while content editing takes a broader view. Content editing is the forest, while copy editing is the trees.
A copy edit evaluates a writing piece’s mechanical and technical elements, such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. A content edit assesses content for substance, factuality, logic, and flow. You can reduce editing time by concentrating on one editing component at a time, making it easier to focus, and reducing confusion in the process.
What Are the 5 Major Types of Edits?
The five major edit types are developmental, structural, line, copy, and proofreading. Developmental editing examines content for substance, logic, and cohesive messaging, while structural editing assesses organization, flow, and style.
Line editing reviews word choice, phrasing, brand voice, tone, and pacing. Copyediting covers syntax, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Proofreading is the final review to ensure the piece is polished and publish-ready.