Revising: the torturous process that improves writing. All blog content deserves at least one thorough second read, but benefits from multiple reads. But what exactly are you looking for? Search “revision tools,” the web results are lacking. I’m not talking about grammar and punctuation, but sentence phrasing, organization, the idea “meat.” Every writer’s unique style and quirks call for different revision tactics, but these nine tips for revising real estate blogs apply to most drafts.
1. Wait time
All content needs to simmer. Write and let it go. Move on with your day. Stepping away from the first draft allows you to return with fresh eyes and better address the mistakes, reframe awkward sentences, or recognize gaping organizational holes. At Power10Social, I write in batches. This particular blog had three weeks between initial draft and its first revision.
2. Reread your old work
This might sound time-consuming, but I find it particularly powerful. Through re-reading, I discovered every draft I’d written had one sentence that started with an independent clause and the word “by.” As in, “By rereading my blogs, I discovered this trait.” Whoops. For another example, after a recent round of draft edits, I realized I’d fallen in love with the word “leverage.” Rereading reveals what special writing quirks to add to your personal “watch out” list.
3. Include SEO practices
Check your blog for basic SEO practices. Each blog should have a keyword that appears a few times, organically, during the writing. Ideally it should appear in the first and last paragraph. Some SEO optimizers like Yoast SEO will warn you if the keyword doesn’t appear in the title, first sentence, or header. Personally, I prefer natural writing over hitting every SEO strategy.
4. Active Verbs
Search and cut as many passive verbs as possible. Generally these verbs belong to the “to be” family, especially in past tense form: “was,” “were,” and “have been.” Stay present and active. Words “is” and “are” belong to the “to be” family, but cutting isn’t always possible for sentence structure or flow. As long the blog varies word choices and incorporates active verbs, no one will notice a few “is” and “are” verbs.
5. “There are”
Cut in general. There are many reasons why this phrase needs to go. There are some that say it’s unnecessary–just get to the point. There are others that cite the phrase signals lazy writing. Do you feel engaged in the writing? Let me redo the above sentences to illustrate the difference. “The phrase “there are” needs to go. Just get to the point. Using the phrase signals lazy writing.” See what we mean?
6.Work the introductions
Introduction definitely are tough. I typically cut the introduction I written in my initial draft; I just write something to get started. Spend some time thinking about hooking your readers. The first sentence challenges writers: it needs the right mix of SEO, selling the general topic, and engagement. Try various tactics like playing with words, asking questions, or launching into an anecdote.
7. Cut the transitional phrases
The best writers transition without transitions. “However,” “in addition to,” and “due to,” are some despised phrases whacked by writers. Note: some search engines and SEO optimizer do love the transition words. Decide what strategy matters most to you: organic writing or an algorithm bump.
8. Befriend the thesaurus
Stuck on a word? Sometimes in drafting real estate client content, some words naturally crop up, like “process” and “listing.” That’s when the handy-dandy thesaurus becomes mightily important. I’m not afraid to use it to discover a better way to rephrase the idea.
9. Call to action?
Somewhere your blog should hint at a call to action–usually towards the bottom, when you ask readers to visit other content or subscribe to your blog. Like this blog. I’m asking if you like this revising real estate blog, please share to your social networks! You can approach the CTA as a boilerplate, a button, or directly in text content.