You have just penned an amazing blog post and you can’t wait to hit publish.
I’ll suggest you hold on to your horses.
And follow the 24 hour rule.
And what is this 24 hour rule exactly, you might ask.
It is simple; you never hand in any finished piece of writing, or publish anything without leaving it alone for 24 hours first.
I don’t and it works handsomely for me.
The logic behind this self-imposed rule is that your mind is one cheeky monkey. It loves playing tricks on you.
Moreover, it convinces your eyes into joining this game. You are supposedly reading what you have written on paper (or typed into a word document), and yet you can’t pick any mistakes.
Your mind is filling in the gaps for you. It skips over misspelled words; it ignores words like meat when you perhaps meant meet and it just skips over other typos making you think that everything is perfect.
By giving yourself a time frame of 24 hours, you are allowing it to have a look at your writing with fresh eyes – literally.
Not only would you be catching typos and grammatical mistakes, you could also discover some flaws in the structure of the post – how it flows, your main body and your call to action.
Let’s have a deeper look:
#1 Look at your headline
Now that you took a break from your post, see if you still think your headline works a treat.
Has it got all the elements that will make it a great one? Does it make your audience curious enough to click to open, does it spell out a clear benefit and most importantly does it select the audience?
According to Bob Bly, the legendary copywriter, your headline must self select the audience. For instance, have a look at the following examples
- How to prepare vegan meals in under 30 minutes (Moms who are in a hurry)
- 9 ways to make sure you will dazzle your prospective employer, right out of school (Fresh graduates)
- How to hire a virtual assistant when going away on a vacation (Business Owners)
- Do You Give Your Blog Posts a 24 Hour Test Before You Publish? (Bloggers) An alternative to this post.
Making sure you specify your audience will mean that not everybody will click on it. And that’s fine. You’d rather have people who are perfectly suited to the post opening it that most of the people ignoring it.
#2 How is your intro?
According to Derek Halphern of Social Triggers, if you can get people to read 3-4 lines of your post, they are much more likely tor read the entire article.
Really, if the first few lines of your post fail to capture your reader’s attention, you would have let all the hard work you did go to waste.
The few initial lines are critical in setting the mood and the tone of the piece. If you want it to be light-hearted, let it reflect that. If you are going to do an epic one, with lots of date and screen shots, try and clue in the reader early so they know what’s coming.
#3 Check your subheads
Make them benefit laden, make them interesting.
Usually, it is wise to write your headlines and make them as descriptive as you want. Meaning for whom your post is for, why should people read it and so on. For your subheadings though, you can let your creative side take over.
Clarity in the headline, creativity for subheads. < Tweet This
I love a post when the author has shown great clarity in the headline and made the sub-heads a piece of art.
#4 Double check you are striking the right chord
People are emotional beings. We tend to find those things most interesting that strike a particular emotional chord in us.
For instance, every writer or blogger I know, has this deep rooted fear of being caught in public with our client copy full of typos. We want our work to scream ‘professional’ and sadly leaving an it’s when you meant it is is not doing yourself any favours.
For this piece, I am relying on tapping into this emotion: fear of looking like a total idiot, especially in front of an important client. If this hits a nerve, you will read it. If you think, this is simply not an issue for you, or if you have a better system in place, you will simply skip over.
Aim to ignite one emotion. Make your post resonate with your audience.
#5 And how does it read on a screen?
When writing for the web, it is important to adhere to the format you have been given.
For a blog post, make it scannable, break up your text by using sub-heads, bullets, numbered lists or screenshots. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short.
#6 Don’t forget to proofread, of course
And lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out for typos and grammatical mistakes. Spell check is a handy feature, but it is no substitute for a human eye. (That’s why jobs for proofreaders still exist)
The best tip I know to do this is to change the font for the final read and/or make it a different colour. Trust me, this will make a HUGE difference.
Not only you the advantage of 24 hour gap working for you, you now looking at the piece as if seeing it for the first time. Which you are.
Have you got any editing rules that you swear by?
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