As a publisher and a writer, I am extremely well versed in the entire content creation process from beginning to end so I thought what better way to connect the two worlds by introducing you to publishing content from the editor’s eyes.
Here’s the thing, when you submit content to a publisher, while it’s not always one hundred percent necessary to format a specific way, you have the ability to make your editors job much easier with a few simple steps; that said, let’s talk about what a publisher loves (and doesn’t love) and why.
The Platform You Use To Create Your Actual Content
So a lot of writers like to use MS Word or OpenOffice to do their writing. It’s understandable, there’re a lot of perks to formatting everything with those tools. However, it doesn’t really translate well for publishers who need to actually post their content into a CMS.
Most of the formatting is lost and some of it is replaced with some really funky characters that end up making no sense.
So, If You Shouldn’t Use MS Word or Open Office, What Should You Use?
Personally, I think you should use a plain text editor. It converts extremely well and doesn’t cause as much frustration when adding HTML formatting. You can get enhanced text editors but the file should be edited and saved in .txt for best results.
Can’t I just copy and paste from Word?
You can definitely try doing that. However, often when you copy and paste from Word or Open Office, the text ends up a little jumbled up and a lot of the punctuation is converted into things that don’t make sense as described earlier. If you do this, you’re going to be creating some extra work for the editor or publisher.
The Checkpoints Of Readable And Free Flowing Content
To make your content worth while, it has to be readable and easy to follow by the end user. You can do this by using subheadings, lists, and lots of white space.
Let’s go over some of the qualities of great content…
- Broken up well; no “walls of text.”
- Headings, subheadings, emphasis and bolding where appropriate.
- Easy to skim; ADD friendly.
All of these are great ways to make your content reader friendly, so you’re only a few steps away from publisher friendly.
To make the most of this content, learn a few basic HTML tags; adding this to your content prior to publishing saves a lot of time and easily makes your work worth more to your client.
The primary tags you should know are:
- Bold tags –
<strong> text </strong>
- Heading Tags –
<h1> text </h1>(This goes for h2 and h3 as well, ask your publisher what they prefer, or check existing content!)
- Links –
<a href="URL HERE" rel="nofollow (in some cases)">Text! </a> (ask your publisher if you should include the ‘no follow’ attribute)
Given your content is in .txt format, and has these HTML tags, you’re leaving very little editing for your publisher to do for you – trust me when I say, they will love you for it!