Editor, Edit Thyself.

There are three kinds of editing. Here’s how to be better at each.

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Think that all writers are capable of, or even good at, self-editing? Unfortunately, proofing and polishing their own work can be a challenge for even the most talented wordsmiths. Well then, you say, that’s why the world has editors, right? Sure, and those people appreciate their jobs, but that doesn’t mean that writers can or should be sending in their copy without doing any self-editing. If you would like to bone up on your personal editing skills, here are the different types of editing and how you can improve at each.

Substantive edits

This type of editing is the mac daddy. The big cheese. The heavy weight. Otherwise known as revising, substantive edits can be time consuming and often involve shifting content, deleting information and maybe even rewriting sections. This is about getting the content laser focused and right.

 Substantive edit helpers: An outline or a client brief that details what content is to be included in the article or project can help make this form of editing move much faster.

 Copy edits

The next level down in the editing hierarchy is copy edits. Once you have the substance on track, then it is the time for going through and looking out for grammar or spelling mistakes. Maybe there’s a word repeated three times in one paragraph or a phrase seems out of place. The copy edit is when that would be fixed.

 Copy edit helpers: In today’s lovely, modern world, there are a whole range of apps that can help you ferret out bad writing choices, clichés, etc. in your copy. Try the Hemingway app, Cliché Finder or Grammarly.

 Proofing

Finally, there is proofreading. This is the final look over to catch any mistakes that slipped through or maybe were even introduced during the previous rounds of editing. You want to look for misspellings, missing punctuation or other typos.

 Proofreading helpers: A good, old-fashioned real person is best. Reading it out loud can help, too. Then do a spell check.

Finally, no matter what kind of editing you are doing, the best thing you can do is give yourself some space. Walking away from your writing and then re-reading it an hour or day later will allow you to see things you missed.

Hostels Are Hot

No longer the go-to spot for college students on a budget, hostels have been reimagined.

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Once upon a time, no college student’s tales of a summer spent traipsing through Europe was complete without the requisite hostel horror story. But while these low-budget, dorm-like spaces were once the only choice for those with limited funds, many of today’s hostels have been reimagined to appeal to a more upscale audience.

Not yesterday’s hostel

The hostel today is probably very different from what many people associate with the name. For instance, a hostel marketplace survey conducted by Phocuswright found that nine out of 10 hostels now have private rooms. The dorm-esque image that has plagued hostels for decades is no longer the norm.

The market for this category is currently valued at around $5.2 billion, and it’s expected to increase 7 to 8 percent year-over-year. Guests choose hostels for their lower cost and convenient locations, of course, but they also site the opportunity to meet fellow travelers as a reason they opted for a hostel. This is probably due to the fact that more than 70 percent of hostel travelers from the U.S. travel alone and are actively seeking to make connections with fellow travelers.

Who loves a hostel?

Millennials are big fans of hostels. They account for more than 70 percent of hostel travelers. This stay option appeals to this demographic for multiple reasons, including that many hostels repurpose unusual property sites, focus on eco-friendly options and use more unusual marketing techniques.

What’s more, the amenities that this group wants can now be found at many hostels. From free WiFi to social events, from bike rentals to onsite food options, the hostels of today are clearly broadening their appeal. Millennials crave the experiential, which is what hostels are all about offering. It’s no wonder that this travel-happy group is so fond of the quirky character that is part and parcel of the world of hostels.

Be Creative with SEO

SEO writing may not lend itself to creativity, but it can. Here's how.

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Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is a pretty big deal these days. Everyone needs it, and everyone wants it, but sometimes you may not be sure how to balance out the need to include it with making your unique content.

Start with keywords.

Before you write any content, do a search with Google’s Keyword Planner. It will help you uncover the terms connected to your topic that garner the most searches.

Use keywords.

Your list of keywords needs to be included in your content to be effective. However, you can’t simply repeat them ad nauseum. Your Google ranking will actually be better if you use more long tail keywords—i.e. three- or four-word phrases connected to your topic.

Solve problems.

Your content and your SEO should be focused on fixing a problem that your audience has. If you write something that your audience finds useful, they will share it. The more they share, the more you get noticed.

Keep it short.

Let’s face it, our attention spans aren’t what they used to be. Your content needs to be short, to the point and, above all, skimmable to catch your audience’s eye.

Add numbers.

Key to organizing content that is easy to skim is including facts and figures. After all, who doesn’t enjoy being able to toss off some bon mot of wisdom to impress people?

Include good images.

Your pictures should reinforce your content visually. And they should have an ALT tag, so they too can be search engine friendly.

Write well.

You are writing for real people to read your content. Be sure that you don’t get so caught up in using keywords that your language becomes unclear or awkward. Think about the language and tone your audience uses.

Long Live Deadlines

5 reasons you should learn to cherish a good deadline.

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Yes, we work in a creative field. And yes, we like all that comes with that creativity—a hip work space, a bit of fun and intellectual stimulation, and friends who think what you do sounds cool and exciting. All of that is true, don’t get us wrong, but it’s still a job, and without deadlines the work doesn’t get done and the bills don’t get paid.

No matter what your field, you have to set some parameters and dates for deliverables. Here are our top five reasons why deadlines are crucial to business success, no matter the industry:

  • Expectations. No deadlines, mean no set expectations. Your client or customer needs to know that they can trust you will deliver on the product or job you have promised them. Set a deadline, get the work done on time and you will earn their goodwill, and hopefully more work in the future.
  •  Value. Time is money. Miss a deadline, and the project’s whole schedule gets pushed back. For Ethos, that could mean a missed print date, a conference that doesn’t have appropriate graphics or signage at the start, or many other issues. Everyone has a lot on their plate at work, missing a deadline gives the impression that you think your coworker’s or client’s time isn’t as valuable as yours.
  • Synchronization. Few projects are run with only one person working on them. At Ethos, most work involves an editor writing and proofing the words, while an art director creates the layout those words go in. If you miss a deadline, the person you are working with can’t do their job. Then it’s confusion, next stop anarchy. Well, maybe not anarchy, but you see what we mean.
  • Progress. Want to know where a project stands? Deadlines can help with that. Sure, you may have to shift things along the way—it is ok to change a deadline if something comes up—but without a deadline, you may not realize that your project has hit a snag.
  • Conversation. Finally, a deadline helps foster collaboration and conversation between the people involved on the project. You have to talk to each other to kick things off and to ensure that everything is progressing as it should.