Editing: The Umami of content marketingPerhaps I’m biased, but editing is the umami of content marketing. Umami is the 5th flavor that enhances all others. Good editing makes everything better.

I’m not talking about the grammar stuff — that’s assumed. And I’m not talking about the edit your writing part of writing.

I think my parents still think most of editing is making sure the commas are in the right spots and everything is spelled correctly [Note: any consistent error becomes house style]. Editing is much more than that, it’s also parsing through and shaping the ideas for your audience and the medium you’re using (words, video, graphic, etc.).

Anyone can sit down and pump out a list of ideas for content to market their product. Editing is sifting and sorting these ideas into the ones that will work (or at least that you hope will work; there ain’t no guarantees). How long will it take to write and produce an ebook? Do you have time to create great content before the campaign needs to launch? Are all of the editing and design workflows in place (and do folks have the capacity to pull it off)? Can you combine R and I to make A (and maybe D and Z)? An editorial eye can take a look at ideas and get them in order quickly.

Some ideas might be fantastic for video, but not in writing. And vicey versy. Editing also involves knowing something about how you want it to look and feel on the “page.” You don’t need to be a designer, but having some concept and point of view about how you want things to look, will help in getting the point across. And that’s the idea after all.

As with flavor, knowing when NOT to edit is also a crucial skill and part of being an editor. Too much salt (or soy) can ruin a dish; over-editing can ruin your content.

Don’t edit for the sake of editing. Sometimes ideas come and are just good ideas. Get out of the way. And don’t over edit to the point of making someone’s distinctive voice sound like you. That’s just ego, not editing. Know when to not get in the way.

Be an editor; it’ll make your content marketing taste even better.

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