Writing copy is standard practice for any business. More and more people turn to their search engines to answer important questions like ‘Where can I find tattoo artists?’, ‘How much does an MOT cost?’, and the timeless classic ‘Who would win in a fight between Steven Seagal and a bear?’
Whether searches look for serious or silly information, you can be certain your site’s content is going to be the draw. ‘Content is king’ is one of those phrases that seems to be in every SEO presentation and for good reason. Internet users are on the lookout for intriguing, instant information and making your copy stand out is a sure-fire way to rise through those SERP rankings. While there is never a substitute for human editors, there are loads of online tools to speed up initial edits and track those niggling errors.
To that end, we’ve gone through our well-worn toolbox to bring you these 5 quintessential editing tools to turn your copy from Hemingwho into Hemingway.
Speaking of Hemingway, the famed writer and professional drinker is the namesake behind this free and easy-to-use tool. Digital content is all about short, punchy text and Hemingway channels the master of brevity himself with an app that highlights all the instances of passive language, complex sentences and verbose diction. What’s more, it gives you a handy grade rating for readability to highlight how accessible your content is.
Hemingway is a must for all content but especially content that aims to satisfy mobile users. Smaller screens and short attention spans make long reads a chore so embrace your inner Ernest and trim the fat.
Grammarly is a free app and extension that is great for finding hundreds of grammatical errors. Grammarly also explains errors allowing you to learn from your mistakes and refresh your grammar rules, only with fewer stern looks from your English teacher. Quick and easy-to-use, it gives your article a score out of a hundred to keep you aiming for the elusive 100. Grammarly also has a premium option that provides greater insight into your work.
Grammarly does have a few cons though. It doesn’t currently plug into Google Docs so you’ll have to do this check manually. It is also an American product meaning you’ll have to ignore the Americanised suggestions for a UK English-based site.
AutoCrit is the Penguin Books editor you never had. This premium service is one of the few non-free options on this list starting at $5 a month. It’s well worth the cost though and goes way beyond free tools. AutoCrit is aimed at fiction writing and manuscripts and focuses on everything from dialogue to word choice, repetition, and even momentum. What’s more, it’ll keep you away from cringey pitfalls like clichés, filler words, adverbs and excessive passive voice. All of this means you never have to wake up in cold sweats wondering if your blog post makes you sound like a Twilight fan.
Autocrit provides all of this in the form of suggestions, allowing you to reject anything that doesn’t take into account slang or stylistic choice. This handy self-editing stage is ideal for writers of all styles.
editMinion takes a different approach to other editing tools and keeps track of the errors in your work. This free app gives you a comprehensive overview of your work and shows you interesting statistics like the longest sentence, average sentence length and the most frequently occurring words.
While editMinion may lack the depth of paid tools it is easy to use and free, making it the perfect starting point for editing.
By now we’ve established that online editing tools can all help you improve your writing. Slick Write does all the usual tricks but also sports a thesaurus to save you digging through the grey matter for a synonym. This thesaurus is especially useful when you need to shave off a few characters to fit a paid ad or tweet.
Slick Write is free and easy to use with five tabs to choose from including writing, editing, analytics, settings and thesaurus.
WorkdRake is a nifty little tool that plugs directly into MS Word. It doesn’t check for grammar or spelling, instead hunting for cumbersome phrases that muddy the waters of your content. Phrasing is an integral part of content and picking the perfect phrase can often be the difference between a conversion and a bounce.
WordRake is best used in conjunction with another editor to make sure grammar, spelling and phrasing are all vetted before final edits.
Even if you write the most beautiful article around it won’t count for anything without a killer headline. Headlines, sometimes referred to as H1’s or titles, are the first thing a reader scans when scrolling through their feed. This is where you need to draw them in with a descriptive and engaging headline to draw the clicks. The Headline Analyzer is a free tool that analyses a title to let you know how you can not only improve SEO and skimmability but also clarity, sentiment, and other key metrics.
As content creators, we’ve all seen our share of stock imagery. The cheesy smiles, the pointing at screens, the offices filled with uncanny valley faces and plastic plants, all these have become hallmarks of the ‘stock image’.
That is until you try Death to Stock. Death to Stock is an Artist owned Co-Op that works with the likes of Spotify, Complex and Puma, supplying them with unique and interesting images. You can also browse specific projects, choose the ones you want to support and receive hundreds of images every month. The only downside, this service is a paid subscription so try the free trial before deciding if it’s what you need.
All of these tools are handy and can cut down your editing time to ensure you can focus on the fun part, writing the content. However, while using digital editing tools can be helpful they are no substitute for the human eye so be sure to edit yourself or have someone else read over your work before putting it up on the web. As copywriting experts, we know there’s nothing more damaging to credibility than poor grammar so make the most of what you’ve got and ensure you have the answer to draw clicks. Oh, by the way, the bear would win. Obviously, the bear would win!
Find out more about the magic we offer with our content marketing here and if you feel like you don’t have the resources to do this for your business… get in touch and one of our Content Marketing wizards will help you out.