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An Editor’s Perspective:
Insights You Can Use
Melissa Fach - @SEOAware
Melissa Fach - @SEOAware
• Blog Editor at SEMrush
• Social & Community Manager Pubcon
• Consultant
• Like cats, Star Wars ...
More About Me (not just making stuff up)
Editing Experience
• 2011-13 Editor of SEJ
• 2013-15 Co-Editor at Moz
• 2012-16 E...
In this industry, writing well is a good way
to make a name for yourself.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
And, writing badly is a great way to destroy
your reputation.
@SEOAware
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-tips-for-newbies/219899/
There is a TON of competition out there.
@SEOAware
But honestly, there is not a lot of GOOD
competition out there.
#Pubcon
Why?
Their reasons of writing are often flawed.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
Most Important Fact of the Day
Writing useless content will do
NOTHING for you!
(unless your goal is to destroy your rep)
...
Useless Content Does NOT…
Help your image.
Help your brand.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
SO PLEASE….
Don’t submit articles of no value to anyone.
And stop mass producing content no one needs.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
So what do
editors look for?
@SEOAware#Pubcon
Each publication has different goals.
@SEOAware#Pubcon
Determine Why They Are Publishing
• Ad revenue?
• To be a resource?
• To increase sales?
• Build community?
@SEOAware
Determine Why They Are Publishing
The why determines what is published.
@SEOAware
Example: One SEMrush Goal
To be a resource.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
• To offer how-to, actionable content readers can
replicate.
• Make sure each tip, concept or suggestion is
accurate.
• Sh...
To get published YOU SHOULD know, and
follow, the publication’s guidelines.
They put a lot of work into them for a reason....
“Forbes Contributor Guidelines”
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
ALL Editors Know If You Read the Guidelines
It is painfully obvious when a writer doesn’t follow
them.
When you don’t read...
They have wasted their
time and mine.
FYI, I don’t have time to
waste.
@SEOAware
Some Truths…
We remember who you are.
And, editors across publications talk – often.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
Over 50% of the articles I reject are because
the writers didn’t read the guidelines.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
It is EXTREMELY obvious when you did not
bother to read /study the publication.
#Pubcon
Did You Know?
@SEOAware
Learn a publication’s patterns, know the
subjects covered, and observe their
grammar style.
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Chaitanya Patel
@patelchaitanya
http://bit.ly/2A4w6BW
Headline Capitalization
• Capitalize main words – subjects, verbs, first and last.
Don’t Capitalize
• Articles – a, an, th...
Chaitanya Patel
@patelchaitanya
Personal Pet Peeves: Contractions
Too many contractions will make an article sound casual
and not authoritative.
And, peop...
Many Writers Use WAY Too Many
Contractions Like…
• How’d
• It’s
• You’ll
• We’ll
@SEOAware#Pubcon
• You’ve
• What’s
• I’d
...
Why “It’s”?
• It stops the flow of reading.
• The reader has to figure out if it makes sense…
• Too often people use “it’s...
More on Why “It’s”?
• People use It’s for “It has” instead of “It is”.
• You are forcing people to read a sentence over an...
Most Irritating Contraction
@SEOAware#Pubcon
There’re
Another reason to forget them?
The fewer contractions you
have, the more words you have.
@SEOAware
Learn More About the Editor – Use the Info
What does Melissa Fach like?
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
Want to Stand Out?
Whether you are pitching or submitting an article…
• Know the guidelines.
• Know the site / blog subjec...
What I Look For In a Writer
@SEOAware
It is not this!
@SEOAware
It IS this!
@SEOAware
WOW Me With Your Expertise!!!
Editors know if you are just a “writer”.
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
This Industry Needs Beyond the Basics
Snippets offer the basics.
I want my readers to be able to learn something new
and u...
I want my readers to learn a new skill or
technique they can use and replicate.
In this industry, that is where the value ...
This is what I am used to seeing.
Show Me Something Different!
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
YOU need to be better than the last article
I published on the same subject!
The Content Itself
#1 - Easy to read flow.
If readers have to work to understand your article,
you have lost them (and the editor as well).
@...
Easy to read flow.
A good article should be a pleasure to read.
(It should NOT take effort!)
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Easy to read flow.
The reader should not have to stop reading to try and
figure out what you mean.
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Avoid Choppiness
“SEO is an important skill to have. I do SEO everyday at work for
clients. Your website needs SEO to comp...
This is me when
reading choppy
content.
Don’t do this to me!
Don’t tell me things everyone knows!
“Mobile is huge!”
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
I Know…
I read it like 900
times already!
Empty Promises..grrrr.
DO NOT promise me something in your title that you
don’t deliver in the article.
“If you do “X” you...
Focus on being
outstanding!
Outstanding makes you memorable!
@SEOAware
Write LESS
And write better.
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
Things to Ask Yourself When You
Are Finished Writing
#Pubcon
@SEOAware
What Words Are Not Needed?
PLEASE - remove unnecessary wording.
Keep it simple, clean & easy to read!
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Does the Structure Make Sense?
Go paragraph to paragraph. Does one feed off of the other?
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
What is Repetitive?
Don’t repeat yourself.
Words
Concepts
(Grammarly)
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Do the Images/Graphics Support the Text?
If they are confusing in anyway, you lose them.
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
WHAT YOU NEED TO
KNOW ABOUT YOUR
READERS
Creating Content for Learning Styles
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
• Seeing
• Hearing
• Touching
Make it easy for everyone.
Diversity ...
Tactile Learners
• Hands on.
• Learn by doing.
Use video, graphics,
presentations.
• Detailed tutorials.
• Show them how.
Who is Reading? What Do You Need to Say?
• Noobs – 101
• Intermediate
• Advanced
• Assistant
• The Boss
• Decision Makers
...
Readability For All Audiences
• Make it simple – 8th grade reading levels.
• College educated audience – aim for 12th grad...
What Makes Editors Angry
@SEOAware
• Badly written text.
• Numerous grammar errors. Just use Grammarly!
• Choppy paragraphs.
• Too many spelling errors.
#Pub...
• Obvious Laziness.
• Badly translated articles.
• Text that needs to be rewritten by the
editor to make sense.
#Pubcon
@S...
I should NOT have to work hard to make
your article acceptable.
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
When we laugh at you…
“I will write a good article for you and in exchange you
will give me a link.”
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Yeah, Right…
@SEOAware
What Enrages Editors?
@SEOAware
• Stolen content. (this is where editors talk)
• Disrespect.
• Repeatedly submitting content that never improves.
• Stolen...
Don’t do this…or anything like it!
#Pubcon
Rejected?
Really READ Their Feedback!!!
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
How You Pitch
It isn’t my job to do your job.
@SEOAware
#Pubcon
Melissa Fach
@SEOAware
Thanks for coming!
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An Editor's Insights by Melissa Fach - #Pubcon Las Vegas 2017

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I explain as an editor what I am looking for as an editor, what makes me reject writers, and what upsets editors.

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An Editor's Insights by Melissa Fach - #Pubcon Las Vegas 2017

  1. 1. An Editor’s Perspective: Insights You Can Use Melissa Fach - @SEOAware
  2. 2. Melissa Fach - @SEOAware • Blog Editor at SEMrush • Social & Community Manager Pubcon • Consultant • Like cats, Star Wars & super heroes. #Pubcon
  3. 3. More About Me (not just making stuff up) Editing Experience • 2011-13 Editor of SEJ • 2013-15 Co-Editor at Moz • 2012-16 Editor at AuthorityLabs • 2017 Editor at SEMrush Education • B.A in Psychology • M.A. Mental Health Counseling Writing Experience • Paid Writer since 2005 • Blogging since 2006
  4. 4. In this industry, writing well is a good way to make a name for yourself. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  5. 5. And, writing badly is a great way to destroy your reputation. @SEOAware
  6. 6. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-tips-for-newbies/219899/
  7. 7. There is a TON of competition out there. @SEOAware
  8. 8. But honestly, there is not a lot of GOOD competition out there. #Pubcon
  9. 9. Why? Their reasons of writing are often flawed. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  10. 10. Most Important Fact of the Day Writing useless content will do NOTHING for you! (unless your goal is to destroy your rep) @SEOAware
  11. 11. Useless Content Does NOT… Help your image. Help your brand. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  12. 12. SO PLEASE…. Don’t submit articles of no value to anyone. And stop mass producing content no one needs. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  13. 13. So what do editors look for? @SEOAware#Pubcon
  14. 14. Each publication has different goals. @SEOAware#Pubcon
  15. 15. Determine Why They Are Publishing • Ad revenue? • To be a resource? • To increase sales? • Build community? @SEOAware
  16. 16. Determine Why They Are Publishing The why determines what is published. @SEOAware
  17. 17. Example: One SEMrush Goal To be a resource. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  18. 18. • To offer how-to, actionable content readers can replicate. • Make sure each tip, concept or suggestion is accurate. • Should meet a need by offering a valid solution(s). #Pubcon @SEOAware
  19. 19. To get published YOU SHOULD know, and follow, the publication’s guidelines. They put a lot of work into them for a reason. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  20. 20. “Forbes Contributor Guidelines” @SEOAware #Pubcon
  21. 21. ALL Editors Know If You Read the Guidelines It is painfully obvious when a writer doesn’t follow them. When you don’t read them, you irritate the editor. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  22. 22. They have wasted their time and mine. FYI, I don’t have time to waste. @SEOAware
  23. 23. Some Truths… We remember who you are. And, editors across publications talk – often. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  24. 24. Over 50% of the articles I reject are because the writers didn’t read the guidelines. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  25. 25. It is EXTREMELY obvious when you did not bother to read /study the publication. #Pubcon Did You Know? @SEOAware
  26. 26. Learn a publication’s patterns, know the subjects covered, and observe their grammar style. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  27. 27. Chaitanya Patel @patelchaitanya http://bit.ly/2A4w6BW
  28. 28. Headline Capitalization • Capitalize main words – subjects, verbs, first and last. Don’t Capitalize • Articles – a, an, the • Coordinate conjunction – for, but, nor, or, and. • Capitalize some prepositions, but not all – https://grammarsherpa.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/capital-letters-in-titles-headline-styling/
  29. 29. Chaitanya Patel @patelchaitanya
  30. 30. Personal Pet Peeves: Contractions Too many contractions will make an article sound casual and not authoritative. And, people don’t read in their heads the way that they speak. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  31. 31. Many Writers Use WAY Too Many Contractions Like… • How’d • It’s • You’ll • We’ll @SEOAware#Pubcon • You’ve • What’s • I’d • Would’ve
  32. 32. Why “It’s”? • It stops the flow of reading. • The reader has to figure out if it makes sense… • Too often people use “it’s” when it should be “its”. @SEOAware#Pubcon
  33. 33. More on Why “It’s”? • People use It’s for “It has” instead of “It is”. • You are forcing people to read a sentence over and over to determine if it makes sense! @SEOAware#Pubcon
  34. 34. Most Irritating Contraction @SEOAware#Pubcon There’re
  35. 35. Another reason to forget them? The fewer contractions you have, the more words you have. @SEOAware
  36. 36. Learn More About the Editor – Use the Info What does Melissa Fach like? #Pubcon @SEOAware
  37. 37. Want to Stand Out? Whether you are pitching or submitting an article… • Know the guidelines. • Know the site / blog subject matter. • Know what puts you on friendly terms with the editor. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  38. 38. What I Look For In a Writer @SEOAware
  39. 39. It is not this! @SEOAware
  40. 40. It IS this! @SEOAware
  41. 41. WOW Me With Your Expertise!!! Editors know if you are just a “writer”. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  42. 42. This Industry Needs Beyond the Basics Snippets offer the basics. I want my readers to be able to learn something new and useful. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  43. 43. I want my readers to learn a new skill or technique they can use and replicate. In this industry, that is where the value lies. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  44. 44. This is what I am used to seeing.
  45. 45. Show Me Something Different!
  46. 46. #Pubcon @SEOAware YOU need to be better than the last article I published on the same subject!
  47. 47. The Content Itself
  48. 48. #1 - Easy to read flow. If readers have to work to understand your article, you have lost them (and the editor as well). @SEOAware #Pubcon
  49. 49. Easy to read flow. A good article should be a pleasure to read. (It should NOT take effort!) @SEOAware #Pubcon
  50. 50. Easy to read flow. The reader should not have to stop reading to try and figure out what you mean. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  51. 51. Avoid Choppiness “SEO is an important skill to have. I do SEO everyday at work for clients. Your website needs SEO to compete in the SERPs.” #Pubcon @SEOAware
  52. 52. This is me when reading choppy content. Don’t do this to me!
  53. 53. Don’t tell me things everyone knows! “Mobile is huge!” @SEOAware #Pubcon
  54. 54. I Know… I read it like 900 times already!
  55. 55. Empty Promises..grrrr. DO NOT promise me something in your title that you don’t deliver in the article. “If you do “X” you will be successful!” Bull. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  56. 56. Focus on being outstanding!
  57. 57. Outstanding makes you memorable! @SEOAware
  58. 58. Write LESS And write better. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  59. 59. Things to Ask Yourself When You Are Finished Writing #Pubcon @SEOAware
  60. 60. What Words Are Not Needed? PLEASE - remove unnecessary wording. Keep it simple, clean & easy to read! @SEOAware #Pubcon
  61. 61. Does the Structure Make Sense? Go paragraph to paragraph. Does one feed off of the other? @SEOAware #Pubcon
  62. 62. What is Repetitive? Don’t repeat yourself. Words Concepts (Grammarly) @SEOAware #Pubcon
  63. 63. Do the Images/Graphics Support the Text? If they are confusing in anyway, you lose them. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  64. 64. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR READERS
  65. 65. Creating Content for Learning Styles @SEOAware #Pubcon • Seeing • Hearing • Touching Make it easy for everyone. Diversity helps you with people, social shares and search engines!
  66. 66. Tactile Learners • Hands on. • Learn by doing. Use video, graphics, presentations. • Detailed tutorials. • Show them how.
  67. 67. Who is Reading? What Do You Need to Say? • Noobs – 101 • Intermediate • Advanced • Assistant • The Boss • Decision Makers • Analytical Thinker • Hippie • Perfectionists How do you reach them all with one piece of content? @SEOAware
  68. 68. Readability For All Audiences • Make it simple – 8th grade reading levels. • College educated audience – aim for 12th grade reading level. • Easy to read sentences - length. • Words people can understand. @SEOAware HemmingwayApp
  69. 69. What Makes Editors Angry @SEOAware
  70. 70. • Badly written text. • Numerous grammar errors. Just use Grammarly! • Choppy paragraphs. • Too many spelling errors. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  71. 71. • Obvious Laziness. • Badly translated articles. • Text that needs to be rewritten by the editor to make sense. #Pubcon @SEOAware
  72. 72. I should NOT have to work hard to make your article acceptable. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  73. 73. When we laugh at you… “I will write a good article for you and in exchange you will give me a link.” @SEOAware #Pubcon
  74. 74. Yeah, Right… @SEOAware
  75. 75. What Enrages Editors? @SEOAware
  76. 76. • Stolen content. (this is where editors talk) • Disrespect. • Repeatedly submitting content that never improves. • Stolen images (give credit). @SEOAware #Pubcon
  77. 77. Don’t do this…or anything like it! #Pubcon
  78. 78. Rejected? Really READ Their Feedback!!! @SEOAware #Pubcon
  79. 79. How You Pitch It isn’t my job to do your job. @SEOAware #Pubcon
  80. 80. Melissa Fach @SEOAware Thanks for coming!

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