Efficient editorial workflows are crucial in a world of ever-shortening deadlines and multiple demands on our time. By establishing a routine and sticking to it, you can make the editing process less daunting and more productive while increasing the quality of a successful piece of content.
We’ve spent thousands of hours refining the editorial process. Below, we’ll cover four major problems commonly experienced by editorial teams, as well as a nifty solution for each that will make your teams happier and more productive.
Ready? Let’s upskill your editors and improve the quality of their work!
Investing In Your Editorial Workflow: Why Is It Essential?
In 2022, editorial teams have a ton on their plate – and it’s no wonder, when you consider that the average person now consumes over seven hours of content per day. The pressure to pump out more content and ensure that it’s high quality is only increasing.
But, as we all know, good content takes time to produce. Quality editing is essential to polish pieces and make them shine. A well-thought-out and efficient editorial workflow can maximize the quality of your final product while minimizing the costs to produce it.
By offloading some of the more methodical work to technology (like grammar checking or brand tone of voice) and systematizing the rest, you can allow your team to focus on the more important task of editing to the client’s vision.
Not convinced? Here are a few more benefits of investing in an efficient editorial workflow:
1. Increased Editing Accuracy
When you have a rigorous editing system in place, it leads to a better final product that more accurately captures the client’s vision. Editors are able to focus on the content as a whole, rather than getting bogged down in details, which will boost the longevity of your client relationship.
2. Increased Revenue
A well-oiled editorial machine is a productive one. With the right tools and processes in place, editors can churn out high-quality content at an impressive rate. This increased efficiency not only leads to a better product, but it also frees up more time for your team to work on additional projects – increasing your ROI and overall revenue.
3. Improved Team Morale
Happy editors make for better content. When you invest in your editorial workflow, you’re also investing in the happiness and productivity of your team. Creating a smooth process that doesn’t put undue stress on editors means they can focus on their work with a clear head and a positive attitude.
And that’s a win for everyone.
Now that we know why it’s essential to invest in an efficient editorial workflow, let’s take a look at four of the most common problems faced by editorial teams and how to solve them.
Problem #1: Your Edits Are Time-intensive and Expensive
Owing to the detail-oriented and time-consuming nature of editing, it’s not uncommon for teams to fall behind schedule – or worse, impact profitability. This can be a major issue, as edits are often critical to the success of your content (and working relationships!).
Solution: Layer Your Edits
Effective editing is rarely done in a linear fashion. Instead, it’s better to think about it as a layered process, where each successive edit builds upon the last. We recommend three runs to maximize quality: content editing, stylistic editing, and copy editing.
Your “first pass,” so to speak, should be a broad sweep of the entire piece, looking for glaring content errors and structural issues. This is your content editing stage.
Once the big picture has been taken care of, move on to the line-level edits, where you’ll focus on style and tone of voice to make sure they match up to client expectations. This is your stylistic editing stage.
Finally, go back through the piece one last time and look for any lingering punctuation or grammar issues. This is your proofreading stage.
By taking this layered approach, you can ensure that each step of the editing process is given the attention it deserves and that no mistakes or oversights are made. You’ll also be significantly improving speed and systematizing your editing process, opening up opportunities for collaborative work, like using multiple editors, down the line.
Problem #2: Your Grammar, Syntax, and Tone of Voice Are Inconsistent From One Piece to Another
As an editorial team, one of your key tasks is to ensure that the grammar, syntax, and tone of voice in a piece are consistent. This can be difficult when working with multiple authors or contributors, as their writing styles may differ.
Solution: Request, or Create, Style Guides for Each Client
If you’re working with a team of editors, it’s important to establish a common style guide that everyone can follow. This will help to ensure a consistent tone and style throughout the piece and will also make the editing process easier and more streamlined.
At Proofed, we request a style guide from each of our clients and make sure all content conforms to it before publishing. By doing this, we can ensure a high standard of quality and consistency across all of the content, allowing for a seamless reading experience for our users. Not sure how to get started? We’ve written an in-depth guide here.
Problem #3: Your Grammar Checker Sucks
Not all grammar checkers are created equal. Some – primarily those that were procedurally programmed – can miss errors that a human editor would catch.
Solution: Get a Grammar Checker Powered by Artificial Intelligence
For this reason, we recommend a grammar checker that is powered by artificial intelligence, like Grammarly. Artificial intelligence-powered grammar checkers are able to learn from the writing styles of millions of people and can pick up on pesky grammatical irregularities that you’re more likely to miss.
They can also perform additional functions, like analyzing writing style and recommending tone of voice changes to make for a more pleasant reading experience.
Don’t underestimate the importance of systematizing editing where possible. Grammar checkers like Grammarly can routinely save editors 20% or more in proofreading time.
Problem #4: Poor Communication Between Editors on the Same Project
It’s not uncommon for larger editing projects to involve multiple editors, each with their own specific area of focus. This problem is compounded when working with an external editing agency and can lead to confusion and frustration if communication is not clear and timely.
Solution: Use a Dedicated Project Management Tool
A good project management tool can help alleviate communication problems by providing a platform for all team members to share updates, files, and ideas. You can tag specific team members in comments, or even message them directly for fast communication, allowing for transparent and cohesive teamwork.
Our go-to is Airtable: it’s a versatile tool that can be used for everything from content planning to invoicing. You can create different “columns” and “rows” depending on your project, and each entry can be commented on or edited by multiple team members.
We store information like the article title, brief, due date, contact info, and additional notes in each row, which lets us keep track of the project as a whole and inform editors in real time if there are any changes.
Improving Your Editorial Workflow: Final Thoughts
In short, an improved editorial workflow can lead to a number of benefits for your team, including improved content quality, increased return on investment, and a more streamlined collaborative process, all of which lead to better results for your clients.
By taking the time to set up and refine your team’s workflow, you’ll spend less time fixing errors and more time creating great content. And that’s a goal we can all get behind!
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