Checklist: How to edit for social media

We’re talking in my class this week about writing and editing behind social media posts. Here’s the list I use in my newsroom about what to look for when editing behind each other. 

  1. Do a typical copy edit … spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
  2. Double check every fact against source material or story … proper name, number, gender pronouns, etc.
  3. Check the tone to see if it is a good fit for the story or topic. Also check the context. Is it accurate in spirit, not just fact?
  4. Ask what the post is designed to accomplish, and if the writing and frame are as compelling as possible. Does the post give users a reason to click? If there are questions posed, will those questions elicit interesting answers? Are you asking a question people are dying to answer? **Are you using appropriate tags and handles? ***Are there people/groups you could tag who might especially want to read/share? ****Would it be a good idea to give credit to anyone for having shared something first, written something, etc.?
  5. **Are there images in the post? If so, are they the right ones? If not, is there a photo, graphic, screen grab or quote that would add impact?
  6. Check links in the post if applicable. Make sure links send users to the right story. And make sure they’re publicly available links, not internal admin links.
  7. *Check the voice and content of the post to make sure they fit the platform they’re headed to.
  8. Double check the time the post is scheduled for. Does it match what’s intended (and what’s logged on your organization’s planning doc, if you use one)? Will the post still read correctly at the time it goes live (that time references like today or yesterday are still accurate, that we’re not being too specific predicting tomorrow’s weather, etc.)?
  9. Check that you’re on the right account, and not sending a tweet to Facebook (if you use a tool that covers both), a sports tweet to the news account or newsroom posts to your own accounts. 

What would you add?

*Thanks to Reuben Stern for adding this one.

**Thanks to Taylor Kasper, Makenzie Koch and Hellen Tian for adding other things we talk about in the newsroom!

***Thanks to Anika Anand for this elaboration.

****Thanks to Matt DeRienzo for this suggestion.

4 Comments on “Checklist: How to edit for social media”

  1. I’ve been making a habit of tracking hashtags and using them if they’re relevant to the post.

  2. When there’s breaking news — whether local, national or international — review posts you have scheduled. It’s bad form to send out something inappropriately chipper if there’s a tragedy being reported everywhere else.

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