Just before Mother’s day, I came across this very well meaning but poorly phrased piece of content from a youth ministry website.
Hopefully you see it too. The blog post they were promoting actually has some great ideas but I doubt most would have made it past the title and the image.
There are a lot of small lessons you can learn from this, but the most important one is the value of involving multiple perspectives in the content creation process.
Creating content is a lot of work and in all your efforts to knock out your long list of to-do’s, you will be tempted to go with the first decent idea you come across. That way you can start writing the post, creating images, formatting the content for your blog, dicing it up for your Twitter, repurposing images for Instagram, creating promo videos for Facebook, etc. When you’re always creating and publishing content at a fast pace, it’s easy to miss important details. But when you invite multiple perspectives into your content, it forces you to slow down and reevaluate choices of language, design, and all around concept.
No matter how small the organization, you can’t be the only one touching your content.
It has nothing to do with your intelligence or capability. It has everything to do with the reality that your plate is full and you simply don’t have time to examine your content from every angle. If you’re the only one looking at the content, it’s easy to assume that an idea will be communicated clearly because it’s obvious to you. That’s where the mistakes happen.
So even if you are the sole staff member responsible for digital content, bring in a contract proofreader and copyeditor. They’ll help test your assumptions and see if you really are communicating as clearly as you think. You’ll have to adjust your timelines so they have a day or so for editing, but adding room in your calendar for proofing will be well worth it the first time their edits save you from a seemingly obvious mistake, like calling moms of teens “great lovers.”