As a freelance writer, reviewing and editing your work can be challenging. Your freshly written content is your baby, after all, and it’s not easy being your own critic.
Editing your writing doesn’t have to be stressful, though, as long as you have a checklist in hand and are diligent in ticking off the boxes.
Here’s my checklist that helps me produce clean copy every time. It’s geared toward blog articles but can also be used as a foundation checklist for other types of writing.
Step 1: The Form
- Article has the correct basic structure that includes a headline, subtitle, introduction, body with sections, and conclusion.
Step 2: The All-Important Headline
- Headline has been optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) and readability using the Headline Analyzer Tool.
Step 3: The Beef
- Both the headline and subtitle are engaging.
- Introduction is strong and will grab a reader’s attention.
- Section headings are clear, flow naturally, and at least one will include the article’s keywords for SEO purposes.
- Each topic in the body is fully explored.
- Conclusion succinctly wraps up the article.
Step 4: Accuracy is a Must
- Proper nouns are spelled correctly.
- Sources are cited (to the original source) for statistics and data-backed information.
- Research meets professional standards and has been critically reviewed for accuracy.
Step 5: Spelling & Grammar
- Article checked by Grammarly for spelling and grammar errors, and edits have been made according to suggestions.
Step 6: The Images You’re Using
- Images are attributed to their source and are not under copyright.
- Images have correctly formatted captions.
- Images include ALT text.
- Images include a link to a URL if needed.
Step 7: Add the Links
- Internal links have been included for SEO purposes.
- External links have been included for relevant content.
Step 8: Check for Unintentional Plagiarism
- Grammarly’s plagiarism checker has checked the article to ensure the content is entirely original.
Step 9: The Last Few Details of Self-Editing
- Article has been printed and read aloud to ensure there are no small errors that squeaked through and that there are no areas where I stumble over words and should consider rewriting them.
- Client’s specifications have been reviewed one last time to ensure specific details they requested are not missing.
- Topic reviewed one last time to see if there is anything I may have missed.
Step 10: And Then One More Time With Fresh Eyes
- Article has been set aside for a bit and then read through one last time with fresh eyes.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to use my checklist, or cherry-pick some ideas from it for your own.
And if you’re interested, here are some more suggestions for your Writer’s Toolbox: 5 Simple Tools to Improve Your Writing