The path a blog takes from being a rough notion in the brain of one of our clients, to a fancy-looking, eyeball-grabbing, ground-breakingly informative and wise article published on their website, is a long and mysterious one.
Well, it’s not necessarily long in terms of the time taken. And in fact, it’s not terribly mysterious, unless you have no idea how it actually happens. But there are a lot of steps, and if you do find it baffling, well, pull up a barstool and order yourself a beverage. It’s time to demystify the process.
What happens first?
Before proofing and editing can take place, we have to actually create an article. The most successful method of doing this, we find, is to (a) write a brief with all the info the writer needs, and (b) pick the right writer.
So – we take all the info given to us by the client and lay it out in such a way that, if we received it, we feel like we’d be in with a shot at actually writing something useful.
This ensures that – for example – we don’t end up with a 3000-word article in Bulgarian on teaching your hens to sing, rather than the client’s preferred option of a 500-word blog about their new range of cooker hoods, which, by the way, was supposed to be in English.
Picking a writer
If a regular writer is on holiday, or swamped with other work, we’ll send examples of approved content with the brief. If it’s a new client, it’s very useful to know which writers are likely to be a good fit for them – and that generally means that a new client doesn’t get a new (to us) writer.
Proofing & editing stages
At some point before the deadline, we’ll receive the writer’s finished blog by email. Our writers are hand-selected for excellence, and they’re all human beings. This humanity element means that a second eyes ‘n’ brain combination is now required for the proofing and editing process. (If you’ve ever attempted to proofread an AI-written blog, you’ll be aware that that’s also true for AI-generated content, and often more so.) The next steps have been finely honed over several years, and amount to the following:
- Download the emailed content.
- Check it’s not plagiarised. It won’t be, because we know our writers, but it may occasionally have a phrase that needs rejigging to get it through Copyscape. 99.7% passes first time with flying colours. If it doesn’t, it’s usually a quote that triggers Copyscape, and as long as it’s not a 450-word quote in a 500-word article, that’s fine.
- Check the brief again, as nobody can be expected to remember at this point what it was that the client wanted. Was it something about hens? Oh no, look, it was cooker hoods, wasn’t it? Good job I checked the brief.
- Time to read it! Because of the way the human brain interacts with the eyes that are connected to it, it’s a good idea to read it out loud. There’s something about reading it out loud that helps with spotting mistakes, especially missing or unnecessary commas.
- Obviously at this point we’re looking for typos and grammatical errors, but also we’re checking for tone of voice, which depends on the client. Some clients (usually larger organisations) provide their own ToV guides. Others might say, “Can you make it sound like me?” after a chat with Ang. And we almost always can.
- When the proofed version is complete, there’ll be a final format check. If everything is delivered in the same format, it helps both us and the client to concentrate on the actual words, rather than what it looks like.
Due to the unusual and occasionally disappointing way in which the human brain works, it’s necessary to run it through some kind of final check before actual delivery. Grammarly is handy for this – it’s not always right, but it is good at spotting duplicated words and the odd typo.
That’s it – we’re done!!! It’s been quite a ride, as we’ve seen. Now, Ang can let the client know their blog is ready – and the magical, less-mysterious-than-it-was-ten-minutes-ago process can begin again. Oh, and we probably have to invoice it or something as well, but Ang does that.