How many drafts are needed to drive content performance?

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How many drafts are needed to create good content? This is such an interesting question, as technology has evolved over the years. I’ve seen content published on “first drafts” take off and content with too many drafts that didn’t drive any results.

And, of course, AI can help us in the process of checking quality and making suggestions. In general, though,  how many drafts content needs isn’t always directly tied to content performance. I wish it were as easy to say: Oh yea, more drafts set the content up to be more successful. That’s not the case – unfortunately! Or, fortunately, if you are stuck in approval hell.

Nonetheless, let’s discuss what goes into creating multiple drafts of content, including the following:

Importance of Multiple Versions

There’s an advantage to going through several versions of content – especially when each review has a different purpose. In other words, it makes no sense for people to review copy or any content purely on personal preference. “Oh, I prefer that word over this word.” Especially when you want your content to rank in search, be sure to check any opinions on wording against what people actually search for.

Even in the self-editing process, it’s okay to have multiple versions.

How Drafts Support the Writing Process

What those multiple versions look like depends on the content creator. For example, some like to write and write and write and then cut content back. I’ve never been a fan of that process, as it seems time-intensive, but if it works for you, it may take less time.

I prefer to follow this process:

In essence, I consider that six drafts:

  1. outline
  2. adding quotes
  3. adding transitions and my own thoughts
  4. self-edit
  5. editor
  6. finalize

At times, in the self-editing process, I might also ask Google Bard to give me feedback on an article. A response to a draft of this article looked like this:

Sure, I can give you some feedback on your article.

Overall, I think the article is well-written and informative. You do a good job of explaining the importance of multiple drafts and how they can help to improve the quality of your content.

Here are a few specific things I liked about the article:

  • You start by acknowledging that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how many drafts are needed to create good content. This is an important point to make, as it allows your readers to understand that the number of drafts they need will vary depending on the specific content they are creating.
  • You then go on to discuss the benefits of multiple drafts, such as the ability to catch errors, improve clarity, and make sure the content is relevant to your target audience.
  • You also provide some specific tips for drafting and redrafting content, such as starting with an outline and getting feedback from others.

Here are a few minor things that I would suggest changing or adding to the article:

  • In the section on “Importance of Multiple Versions,” you could add a sentence or two about how multiple versions can also be helpful for marketing purposes. For example, you could create different versions of the same content for different channels (e.g., a blog post for your website, an infographic for social media, etc.).
  • In the section on “How Drafts Support the Writing Process,” you could mention the importance of taking breaks between drafts. This can help you to come back to the content with fresh eyes and make more objective decisions about what needs to be changed.
  • In the section on “Understanding the Benefits of Editing and Revising,” you could add a few more specific examples of the kinds of errors that can be caught during the editing process. This could help your readers to understand the importance of taking the time to edit their content carefully.

Overall, I think the article is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the importance of multiple drafts and how to create high-quality content. I would recommend making the minor changes I mentioned above, but otherwise I think the article is well-written and informative.

I hope this feedback is helpful.

Understanding the Benefits of Editing and Revising

Sure, some content can just be pushed out, but any content can see improvements with another set of eyes. That includes looking at the content from the following perspectives:

Some writing professionals will say more drafts are better than fewer drafts, but I think, in general, it depends on the following:

  • who is writing the content?
  • what the topic is.
  • how technical it gets.
  • what the content needs to be optimized for – search, for example.

Tips for Effective Drafting and Redrafting

Be clear about the process from the beginning. Who needs to see the content, what are people editing for, and where is the content produced? I’m a fan of written web content to be produced directly in the CMS whenever possible. For example, in WordPress, I can see the different versions side by side and also measure the content against best SEO practices with the Yoast Plugin.

Remember that the process can take longer or quicker with writers in different stages of their knowledge of the subject matter. More experienced writers might not need as many drafts and stages as a writer in their first job. But just because there are several drafts, that also doesn’t mean an experienced writer (or writer of any experience) is worse of a wordsmith.

It’s all about improving the content for the audience and driving results.

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