Writing and Editing Excellence
Five Questions To Increase Curation Chance and Reading Fans
Critical questions serving as a self-editing checklist for writers
Do you want to increase reading times for your stories?
Do you want to convert your followers to fans?
Do you want more readers?
If your answers are yes to these questions, you found the right resource to inform, educate, and motivate you.
In this story, I share my reading, writing, and editing experience by simplifying the critical factors under five main headings. I converted these headings into questions so that you can use them as a checklist while self-editing and before submitting your articles for curation purpose.
When developing these questions, I wore my reader, writer, and editor hats.
1 — As a reader, these points help me choose and consume content from curated collections.
2 — As a writer, I have been asking these questions to self-edit my content over three decades.
3 — As an editor, I use these points while assessing the submissions for acceptance, particularly for adding stories to a curated collection.
The purpose of asking these questions is to improve the quality of articles and increase the chance of curation. As a byproduct, self-editing by asking these questions can dramatically increase the readability of your content. The primary purpose of curation is to give confidence to the reader.
This list is not exhaustive on purpose but covers almost 80% of critical items. My focus is only on significant points which can make a considerable impact on enhancing the quality of your content.
If you can afford hiring an editor, it can be ideal. However, not many writers can afford hiring an editor. As an alternative, the best approach is to self-edit by asking the following five questions after completing your story and proofread it yourself.
Then, if possible, I recommend conducting peer-reviews of your content. Casting different eyes on your content is a proven quality improvement method.
Here are the questions that you need to ask when self-editing your story.
Question 1 — Is my content easy to read?
Choice of words makes a big difference for readability.
You can check whether you are using common words instead of difficult words which may confuse your readers.
Your first paragraph must be clear and precise for the message you want to convey.
It is the first paragraph that attracts the attention of the reader to continue to read. If you lose your reader in your first paragraph, your story loses a chance for this reader.
If you are lucky to have good readers, perhaps they may skim through your bullet points or jump to the conclusion paragraph.
Your goal is to make the first paragraph compelling so that the readers are motivated and feel obliged to read the rest of your story.
Some readers start reading from the conclusion section. After the first paragraph, you must focus on the last paragraph. Your conclusion should provide important takeaways with not too much detail. You can craft your conclusive remarks in a way that your readers are motivated to read the details of each point you mention in your conclusion.
Question 2 — Does my content give distinct value to my readers?
People are busy. Their time is precious. Nobody wants to waste their time. They want to be educated, entertained, or informed. Readers usually choose to read an article for the following reasons:
- to learn something new,
- to validate their beliefs,
- to stimulate their mind,
- to gain inspiration and motivation.
You need to ensure your content is providing one or more of these values.
Readers enjoy new perspectives, not repeated and recycled ideas.
The critical point you need to focus on is whether your content is novel.
Novelty, in this context, means fresh ideas and unique perspective.
You write for your reader, not for yourself.
Question 3 — Is my content interesting and unique?
It would be best if you can find ways to make your story interesting and even exciting.
Readers would not spend their time on tedious and dull stories.
Your style plays a vital role in making your stories enjoyable and attractive.
Choosing interesting words and metaphors can be helpful to keep the attention of the reader. Humor is another factor in maintaining reader engagement.
Question 4 — Does my content meet editorial standards and guidelines?
When you are reviewing your story from an editorial point of view, you can consider the following key points.
The first item for editorial standards is the accuracy of language. Your content must be grammatically correct with no spelling errors and typos.
The second item is your narration, effective use of words and the logical flow.
The third item is clarity. It would help if you used explicit language with no cluttered statements which may confuse your readers. When you are reviewing for clarity, ensure that you remove unnecessary words and sentences.
The low hanging fruit to meet these requirements is the use of one or more editing tools. The most commonly used tools are the Hemingway Editor and Grammarly.
If you are submitting your content to specialized publications, you need to read their standards and guidelines. There may have extra editorial requirements.
Question 5 — Is my content formatted properly?
You start checking the format of your stories from the title, subtitle, and kickers.
Your title and subtitle should use an established convention.
Keep your title and subtitle as short as possible. Short titles are not only essential for readability but also search engine optimization.
While the title is attracting the attention of the reader, the subtitle should give clues about your content. You can use the kicker to inform the reader about the focus of your topic.
It would help if you used your title, subtitle, and kicker in an integrated way.
Remember, your title is the first factor for readers to decide to read your story.
Then you need to check to format the content. One critical point is the size of your paragraphs. Based on reader feedback, the shorter your paragraphs, the more enjoyable the reading experience can be.
Formatting of visual elements such as photos, videos and other embedded objects must align well with the body of content. A pleasant look gives a good reader experience.
Many readers don’t enjoy stories with cluttered symbols and emojis. Use them sparingly when needed. I prefer not to use them at all.
When formatting your photos, always ensure that the images are captioned with correct source links, and these images are copyright free. You can safely use stock images. There are many stock photo sites providing copyright images. The most popular ones are such as from unsplash.com and pixabay.com.
Following a set of criteria for writing articles not only make it easy to complete but also can help you improve the quality of content and its delivery efficiency.
Your ultimate goal, as a writer, is to gain the confidence of readers and increase the chance of reading times for your content.
Quality is a subjective notion. However, these five points cover commonly accepted quality criteria aiming to improve the readability of your content. The more readable content you produce, the more fans for your content you can gain.
Besides, asking questions is an effective method to detect issues before submitting your content for acceptance.
These five questions can serve as a practical checklist to enhance the quality and acceptability of your articles for curation purpose and giving a pleasant reading experience to your readers.
Each question is important. Skipping even one of these questions can adversely affect the quality and readability of your content.
Use these simple yet effective questions to increase your curation chance, gain the confidence of your readers, and increase the number of your fans.
Thank you for reading my perspective.
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