Editing is arguably the most intense and important step in content creation.
Without editing, you're practically guaranteed to publish a sub-par product, no matter what kind of content you create.
Just like many of the other steps in this list, editing means something different for every content format.
But, again, it's still essential.
Unedited text reads just as badly as an unedited video looks.
Unedited audio sounds as unprofessional as a buggy interactive feels.
It's tempting to skip this step. After all, you just finished your final product.
But there's still a lot more to do.
Skipping the editing step is a lot like throwing your company's money on a bonfire. All of your time, cash, and hard work goes into something that looks complete, but doesn't feel complete.
That means you won't get the results you want, and you probably won't hit your goals either.
For content marketing to work, you have to make it the absolute best that it can be.
1. Text editing
Editing text is probably the fastest and easiest form of editing. But there's still some subtlety to doing it well.
On the surface, text editing seems like you just need to know how to read, which is mostly true. But you also need to have an in-depth understanding of your audience, and it helps to know some of the most important marketing terminology.
You need to understand your audience because it'll guide how you speak to them.
In other words, you wouldn't talk the same way to a brand new customer as you would a repeat customer. Your repeat customer has more experience with your business, so it'd be condescending and even rude to talk to them like it's their first interaction with you.
So if you're editing a page about how your business serves your city, you can safely assume that your reader is probably new to your industry.
If you're editing a page about pricing information, then your reader probably has some background in your industry, so you won't have to define every single piece of jargon.
The pages you edit for a new audience are known as top of funnel (TOFU) pages. This refers to the sales funnel, or the process by which you earn new customers on your website.
The pages you edit for an experienced audience are middle of funnel (MOFU) or bottom of funnel (BOFU) pages. MOFU pages address how your business can help specific industries, and BOFU pages deal more with pricing, conversion, and contact information.
You can also use some browser-based applications to check everything from your spelling to your writing grade level.
WebFX has its own tool for that called Read-Able. Read-Able evaluates your text based on a URL, direct input, or HTTP referer (spelled with only three R's).
Our algorithm will read your content and tell you how complicated it is to read. Higher reading levels tend to be too complicated, and lower reading levels can be insultingly simple.
The "sweet spot" is writing at an eighth grade level. That's the level that 50% of Americans prefer to read, and a majority prefer to read at a level between sixth and 10th.
So when you're editing text, you're actually creating a versatile form of content that can resonate with millions of people.
Plus, the beauty of text-based content is that you can approach any part of the sales funnel with it. You can use it to rank for any keyword in search engine results pages as well, and it provides the ideal foundation for multimedia like audio, images, and video.
But if you plan to use those content formats, you have to edit them. They're all far more specific than text, as well.
2. Audio editing
Audio editing is arguably the next-easiest form of content editing.
It requires a decent knowledge of audio software to do well, but you can get away with using basic functionality to turn out a product.
You can choose any editing program you want for this, but we recommend Audacity. It's free, it doesn't have any ads, and it has all the functionality you could want from professional audio software.
You can also figure out how to do almost anything with Audacity by using online tutorials. YouTube channels and how-to sites are packed with information about Audacity because so many people use it, including first-time amateurs and life-long professionals.
With it, you can delete whole chunks of a recording, increase the volume for a section, eliminate background noise, remove vocal hiccups ("um," "uh"), and so much more.
For the most part, audio content will fit into your TOFU strategy. It'll direct people to your site and raise brand awareness, but it probably won't convince many listeners to convert into customers.
Still, that doesn't mean it's useless. Your audio content can at least start someone on their journey to becoming a customer.
Edit your raw recordings into a streamlined product and listen to the final product all the way through.
By the time you're done, you'll probably have your recording memorized, but you'll be confident you're publishing an excellent product.
3. Graphic editing
Editing graphics is a little more complex than audio, and it's a lot more complex than text.
You have free options at your disposal. There's always Canva, and MSPaint is surprisingly handy for moving image elements around to make something look just right.
But the real heavy-hitters in graphic editing are Adobe products like InDesign and Photoshop. We recommend learning one or both if you want to create graphics for your site.
InDesign and Photoshop are both professional-level products. You don't technically buy the software — you license it, like music on iTunes — but it's still the best in the business.
Still, InDesign and Photoshop are two very different programs. But their differences boil down to this:
- InDesign is for making graphics
- Photoshop is for modifying images and photos
You can still do everything with just one program, but you can do much more with both in terms of creation, editing, and design in general.
We recommend getting InDesign if you plan to make logos or infographics, and we recommend Photoshop if you're looking to use photos (like stock images) throughout your site.
Just like with Audacity, you can find tons of tutorials online for how to use Adobe products. Most of them are created by other Adobe users as well, so they're much easier to follow than company-made instructions.
Mastering InDesign or Photoshop is a huge asset to your company. If you plan to do it yourself, it takes a lot of hours and mistakes — just like mastering anything else.
If you don't have the time, consider hiring a designer of your own. The cost of hiring a new employee is well worth the value of unique, well-made graphics day after day.
If neither of those options work for you, you could also commission an agency (like WebFX) to do design for you. This has a few unique advantages to it:
- More affordable than hiring an employee
- High-quality, professional design
- Total ownership of final product
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. It depends on what fits in your company's budget and what you have planned for your graphics in the future.
4. Video editing
Video editing is a combination of audio and graphic editing. It's easy enough to do things well with video editing, but it requires high-level equipment, software, and knowledge to create a great final product.
For video editing, you can use any number of software options.
Windows Movie Maker is standard on Microsoft properties, and Final Cut is the go-to for Apple products.
Final Cut is commonly seen as better, but neither property has the same power as Adobe Premiere.
Adobe Premiere — much like InDesign and Photoshop — is one of the world's leading pieces of editing software.
Its intuitive interface allows you to import and trim videos to your satisfaction. A convenient preview window lets you see the state of your video at any time, and an autosave feature minimizes the chance of losing your work.
Still, it takes a lot of time and patience to learn Adobe Premiere. You can go about videography the same way you did with graphic design — hiring someone, learning it yourself, or contracting an agency.
Premiere is an excellent tool for refining video clips into a single, solid product. But when it comes to special effects, Premiere has limited capabilities.
That's why Adobe After Effects exists. Much like InDesign, After Effects lets you create graphic representations, except you do it in video format.
So instead of finishing with a .jpg or .png, you finish with a .wmv.
Then, you can further edit or refine your finished file in Premiere.
In that sense, After Effects is for creation and Premiere is for refining. For this step, you can use either — but Premiere is the more capable choice.
After you've finished editing, you need to find a place to host your videos.
YouTube is one of the world's most popular websites and the service is free. But you could also use Wistia if you're looking for something more professional.
Regardless of what you choose, once you've uploaded your video to a hosting site, you're ready to move to the next step.