Week 8 - Finalize Your Edits

Start: Double Check For Errors

A rough draft is a rough draft for a reason. There are stages to completing content creation and it is important to go through each stage of the editing process. When you think you are finished with something, table it for a night and look at it with fresh eyes the next day before you send it. Relying on spellcheck and quick read throughs are not always a full proof method to making sure your content is solid and finished. Perhaps one frame of your video doesn’t flow quite right and could be just a smidge better. Maybe you left out a word and your brain skipped over it filling in the gaps automatically so when you have fresh eyes you are able to catch it. Elevating the way you critique your work is a matter of finding errors that may not even be there to someone else, but to you it’s a big deal. We are our own biggest critics after all for a reason.

If you do not care about checking for errors and improving the quality of your content, no one else will either. One less person competing. Content creation and becoming an influencer through your content takes dedication to not being lazy and taking that extra step with the production process. Everyone’s process is going to look a bit different time wise, and have a few different steps to do so. The point is to have a process you make to achieve the level of production you expect of your content. Aim to exceed your own expectations and to others they will admire the way you do what you do. You must put passion into every single thing you create. In this week’s lesson, we are going to talk through ways that you can create a process that works the best for you and how to make your process a habitual way of creating content each time.  

Path to Success: Get Used to Editing

Believe it or not, if you are doing it right, the editing process to content creation can be quite involved. Training your brain to get used to editing will be better in the long run.  There will be little small changes in your style of editing as you get better at it and you will find that things you thought looked ‘good’ before may have just need a bit of extra time. Taking a second look and getting used to better editing will greatly improve your content in the long run. That’s what we are going to tackle in this section. As you work through the steps for each week, it is helpful to have a pen and paper or a Microsoft Word doc ready to take notes and write down your thoughts. This will serve as a helpful resource to you as you dive deeper into each goal week. Let’s dive into the editing process and how to improve your content!

Content Creation

Step One: How to Tag Properly

“Today it’s not about ‘get the traffic’- it’s about ‘get the targeted and relevant traffic’.” 

―  Adam Audette

At this stage, you are nearly ready to publish your content! I know, it seems like its taking forever. Fine tuning can, but it is worth putting in the time it takes. After all having a finalized, edited version of your content just gives it that extra polished look that it needs before getting it in the hands of your audience. As time goes on you will have a larger pool of content to work with when you need to refer back to a topic or want to publish a piece of content that has already been published before. Taking the time now to make your content the best it can be will in the long term also give you better results in the quality of content you are producing. A big part of your editing process that we are going to touch on now is adding relevant hash tags. 

Hash tags believe it or not are essential to content creation. You want to have a good balance of large, medium, and small tags and they must be relevant. What we mean by that is your hash tags have a balanced scale of how many people follow those tags so you are targeting a diverse group of tag size and they must relate to the content you are publishing so you can target your niche more effectively. You don’t want to tag your content solely with hash tags with millions of followers because your content will drown within seconds of publishing. You also don’t want solely tag your content with hash tags that only have a hundred to a couple thousand followers because your content won’t receive as much immediate engagement. You also don’t want to use hash tags that don’t relate to your content; its confusing and irrelevant.

An easy way to incorporate hash tags in your draft process is to have lists of tags in each category; large, medium, and small. Further narrow down your hash tag choices by only using tags that relate to your niche. There are literally millions of choices when it comes to using hash tags so having lists ready to go to copy and paste makes your life so much easier! Below we have an example of effective hash tag use related to our niche example ‘traveling solo photography.’ To check the size of following for a given hash tag, in Instagram for example, type in the hash tag in the search bar to see how many followers it has. The numbers next to each column is what we will base our example of off. We will take a look at descriptions for your content next!

Large (Over>500k)

#travel  #traveling  #traveler #igtravel #photographer #travelphotography #photo

Medium (Under<500k)

#travelwithlove #photostory #lovefortravel #travelshots #travelstory #igtravels

Small  (Under<100k)

#photoscape #traveltolive #igtravelworld #traveltoday #wanderlusts #dreamtravel

Very Small  (Under<50k)

#travelerstories #igtraveling #loveofphotography #travelandphotography

Step Two: Be Descriptive

“Writing style can be descriptive without being wordy- and wordy without being descriptive.” 
― Rayne Hall

The use of hash tags is one way to become more professional in the way that you develop content. You must also be mindful of the description you put with your content. A personable, and popular strategy that a lot of influencers adopt is write their descriptions like mini journal entries. Adding a short paragraph or two gives your audience something to read to associate with your content. This also gives your audience an idea of who are as a person. Giving short little journal entry descriptions in each of your posts will help your audience get to know you before they ever interact with you. For all you know, you could have a little group of followers around the world! Make your descriptions genuine and set an intention. Set up the tone of who are as a content creator by the way that you put together each of your posts.

A few ways you can be descriptive too without having to tell your whole life’s story is to actually describe what is happening in the photo, or video, blog article, etc whatever it may be. Describe the action of the scene and what peaked your senses most. Talk about the colors of the environment or what was happening in the scene not pictured. In a way you are telling a story without directly talking about yourself. You can tie in quotes and song lyrics too if this is something that sparked a memory for you. If you struggle to describe what is happening in your photo in a way that interests you, it will be hard to capture the attention of someone else. What made you interested in that piece of content to begin with? Start with that and the description will flow easily and naturally. This is important because we are going to talk about adding geo-locations and tagging people to match your description in the next step!

Content Creation

Step Three: Cater to an Audience

“Leveraging community intelligence and making connections is a key component to being a growth hacker.” 
― Ryan Holiday

Creating content is more than simply adding a nice description and a few hash tags. You should aim to get your content viewed by as many eyes as you can. Along with rotating your hash tags using the suggested size recommendations discussed earlier, there are a few more pieces you can add to your content before publishing. You want to be sure that every post you publish has a location added. Content creators just take that extra step not only to inspire others to want to see the places they are showcasing but also to be credited for the work you are doing.

With certain platforms like Instagram, you can search and add the geo-location and on others you will need to type it out. The more specific you can be with the location, the better. Viewers are much more interested in knowing specifically where a photo was taken versus seeing a vague location in a big city. You can also add the name of the place the photo was taken and the location as its own tag. This will double the places your content is posted and remain in many viewers news feeds from the location and the tags!

If you do not catch users by the location and hash tags, another strategy you should utilize is tagging other people and places in your content. It is not usually as helpful to randomly tag whoever pops up in a search. This is a bit of a disorganized strategy and makes it look like you are desperate for people to view your content. You want to strategically tag people and places based on the content you are posting. For example if I am posting a beautiful nature shot, I would want to tag people and places related to nature.

If you can tag accounts that are verified, meaning are recognized as influencers, your content is more likely to appear in the feeds of the people following those accounts. You also run the chance of getting a shout out from these verified accounts which drives a LOT of views to your content. It helps to take the extra step to add these couple of extra pieces to your content to enhance your ability of reaching more people. Next, we will talk about checking final touch ups to your content. 

Step Four: Is it excellent?

“If you are going achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” 
― Colin Powell

Content creation is an art form as we may have stated before. It is a digital representation of yourself, your ideas, and your passion. Spending the time your content needs to have that extra polished touch to it can make the difference in whether someone looks at your work or scrolls past. There are a few things you can check before sending out your content to ensure is is absolutely ready! We have compiled a small little list for you. Feel free to write this list down or take a mental note so you know what to look for every time you create a new post. Getting your content ready is like preparing for an interview. It may seem like a lot of fuss and prep ahead of time but it is worth it when you land the job!

  • Have you edited your content? We recommend definitely using a photo editing program like, Adobe Lightroom for example, to edit all of your photos before posting. There are a lot of free apps as well that you can check out to do basic editing and in order to access all of the features there is usually a small cost. Do a bit of research to find which program suits your style the best. For video editing you are talking a different ball game so you can expect to need a high quality editing program!
  • Did you add a title and description? It matters to not only call your photo something but to share with others where that photo was taken so that they can be inspired to go see it too! 
  • Have you added your partner affiliate code? You want to not only get credit for your content but you also want to be rewarded for any click throughs that are generated from your shares!
  • Is your photo centered? This makes a difference! Check the horizon, the focal point, the subject and make sure it is centered and in focus.
  • Does your photo have tags? Make sure you add relative tags that match your niche and location. If it is relevant tag other accounts as well. Tags will do a lot of backend work for you so make sure you add a few!
  • Did you spell check all your words? This is especially important when you are creating a blog entry. This also goes hand in hand with grammar and making sure you have correct punctuation! Regardless how long your entries are you just need to glance over everything one more time to make sure all of your content is spell checked. 

Developing your own process to do final work throughs will certainly happen over time but if you can use this list as a guideline it is a helpful starting ground! It helps also to table your content just for an hour, or a day so that you can revisit it with fresh eyes. At times I will notice little details or small punctuation errors that I did not catch the first time. Or I will notice a word that isn’t used in the correct way that I intended but my brain glosses it over the first time. Giving your brain a break to reset and then going over your final edit is good practice to make it as excellent as you can! We will wrap up this lesson in our next step by talking about having finalized drafts on hold ready to publish.

Content Creation

Step Five: Set Yourself Up

“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.” 
― Bobby Knight

This lesson has tackled all of the ways to draft up your content to get it ready to publish. Even still when you have your content ready to go, to take that next step to check over and make sure it is perfect. It may sound like a lengthy process but it does get quicker over time! What we suggest you do next is to repeat this process with multiple posts to get an inventory of content ready to go. Get multiple posts ready to go that you have on hand so you don’t have to go through the editing process daily. There are a few reasons you want to get into this habit. You save yourself the thinking process from having to create every single day. You will get faster at the editing process so it is no longer a tedious process. Finally, you will save yourself an incredible amount of time by laying out and scheduling your posts in advance. There is a way to do so!

Sending out content can actually be automated so you can pre-schedule your posts and plan out entire week’s or month’s worth of content. We will touch on this more in our next lesson but just to plant this idea in your brain! There are ways to plan out smarter and make this process faster and more effective for you. Content creation can be a very fun avenue to explore your creativity and passions. Just keep in mind like with any other field it is a process, it takes hard work and effort. If done properly though, content creation truly has the power to change the world. 

Optional: Do Week Nine Content Creation

When you have completed each step for this week’s lesson, you should be prepared to make the necessary effort to edit your content and draft it up properly before publishing. If you feel you have completed each step thoroughly and are ready to move on, take a glimpse at the goal for week nine! 

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