Tag Archives: CIEP blog

Reviewing and updating the CIEP blog

Andrew Hodges, who is a member of the CIEP’s social media team, has been busy reviewing the CIEP blog to make sure our posts are still relevant, useful and discoverable. In this post he explains what this entails. 

When starting a blog, simply putting content out there is a good strategy: we all know that it’s easier to edit existing copy than start with a blank page. And the CIEP has come a long way since it set up the blog in 2014. The Institute has grown a lot in recent years, and many changes currently under way reflect that growth and the Institute’s chartered status.

Just like a house, some of the blog’s furnishings and fittings still look great after eight years. Others haven’t aged so well, while others have gone completely out of style and could do with more than a revamp.

A blog is a marketing tool designed to serve its members and promote the Institute. The blog therefore needs to remain relevant, and it should be interesting and discoverable to potential members and our wider audiences.

That’s why the CIEP Council asked me to step in and review the posts, as well as the book reviews, with these goals in mind.

The good stuff

There are many excellent posts that remain relevant. These include ‘evergreen posts’ on editorial topics and business skills. How to style ellipses in New Hart’s Rules and Chicago style rarely changes, and when or if it does, that would be big editorial news!

The blog now has over 350 posts, all publicly available for free, and new ones are added most weeks.

Time for change

Some of the older posts are no longer relevant for various reasons, which is why I have reviewed them for the information team and Council.

In the first stage of my work, I divided these into posts that need a content review or deletion, and posts that need optimising. Here’s the reasoning:

Content review or deletion

Out-of-date posts: We no longer need posts on topics such as recommendations for office exercise equipment in 2016 with broken links to sales websites, or a short summary of a 2017 conference presentation. With reviewed books, a new edition may have been published.

Posts with little content: Some of the older posts are short with very little content, and other blog posts have covered these topics in more detail. Very short posts provide little value, and search engines do not rank them highly.

Posts that don’t reflect our values: Some of the older posts take positions on debates that are now old hat. Others use phrases such as ‘non-native speaker’ (when the label is attributed to others) that can cause harm. Some of these posts are still highly relevant but need a content review.

Irrelevant posts: A few posts aren’t directly relevant to the CIEP and the work that its members do.

Optimisation

SEO issues with the blog titles: Some posts have cryptic titles that sound clever. (I used to work as an academic researcher, and this was commonplace in the humanities and social sciences. It can also be fine in other contexts, it just isn’t ideal for the blog genre.)

For example, imagine that you are copyediting a report written in British English. You encounter a sentence and are unsure about whether a certain comma before ‘and’ is optional. Would you search for:

‘Commas: The Chameleon Conundrum’ or

‘Do I need to put a comma before “and”’?

Fabulous references to Culture Club aside, these kinds of tweaks to titles can make our useful evergreen content more discoverable.

Other SEO issues: Other tweaks can improve discoverability too. Each blog post should have a keyword repeated throughout the text and headings (a word or phrase that people are likely to search for online), and things like metadata, a URL that includes the keyword, ALT descriptions and image URLs that reference what is in the picture etc.

You can optimise blog posts by making content changes too. For instance, by cutting up large sentences, including more transition words etc.

But we (the information team, Council and I) have decided to focus on quick SEO wins. This means we won’t be making changes to the main body of the blog posts and book reviews (except for changing SfEP to CIEP).

Wooden blocks spelling out 'SEO'

Progress so far

The first step has been to review all the blog posts and book reviews briefly and come up with an initial recommendation – delete the post, optimise it or keep it as it is.

In summary, a lot of non-evergreen posts from the first three years of the blog (2014–2017) have been recommended for deletion or archiving (if they are of relevance to the CIEP’s history).

For all the suggested deletions, I’ve written a list with a short explanation of the reason for each deletion and have passed this on to the Council. Abi Saffrey, the CIEP’s information director, has reviewed this and then made the deletions.

Next steps

Now we have a trimmed-down set of blog posts and book reviews.

The next step will be to make minor changes to some blog posts (optimising them) and reviews.

These changes will include:

  • changing old post titles to better reflect the content and optimise for SEO
  • inserting or changing subheadings that clearly reflect the content
  • deleting any remaining references to the SfEP
  • making sure the URLs reflect the content
  • flagging up any EDI issues for review
  • checking all the images have URLs that reflect the content and inserting ALT descriptions of said images
  • requesting reviews of newer editions of certain books.

We will keep a log of all changes made.

The next big change for the CIEP blog will be ensuring that all existing posts are available through the new CIEP website.

Did you write an SfEP blog post?

Most of the posts that we will change or delete were originally published when the Institute was the SfEP. If you wrote a blog post for the SfEP, you may want to check whether it is still there. If it’s not and you’re unhappy about this, get in touch and we can have a chat about possible options (perhaps you could write an updated blog post on that topic). And, of course, the same applies if you’ve written a post since we became the CIEP.

Get in touch

About Andrew Hodges

Headshot of Andrew Hodges

 

Andrew Hodges runs an editorial business called The Narrative Craft in Edinburgh, UK. He loves line-editing fiction and ethnography and enjoys chatting with science fiction and fantasy authors about worldbuilding and point of view issues whenever he can.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: letters by Pixabay; SEO blocks by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi, both on Pexels. 

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

A week in the life of the CIEP’s information team

The information team is made up of the information director (currently Abi Saffrey), plus commissioning editors (at the moment Cathy Tingle and Liz Dalby; Harriet Power and Julia Sandford-Cooke will join the team in early 2022). We work quite closely as a team, though we all work slightly differently. We have varying areas of interest outside the core skills of copyediting and proofreading, too, and this helps when we come to divide up work between us.

The information team editors are paid for 15 hours per month of their time, so the work is very much part-time and must fit in around other client work, plus various caring responsibilities such as looking after children, not to mention outside interests and downtime. In practice, this means we tend to spend a little time most days on information team work, as there’s always something to be done!

What we work on

The work is a combination of dealing with small tasks as they arise, commissioning and compiling recurring content for the two newsletters (columns, book reviews and round-ups), and commissioning or writing one-off blog posts or fact sheets, plus longer-form focus papers and guides. We also look at material on the website that needs updating or rewriting, and we answer various questions from members and other interested parties via our team email address. We all write content when necessary, such as blog posts and fact sheets, and Cathy also compiles the quiz – a bimonthly feat of humorous ingenuity.

Who we work with

Abi is our main interface with the Council, but we also all communicate directly with various Council working groups, such as the Values Working Group (ValWG) and the Environmental Policy Working Group (EPWG). We also sometimes work with other directors, especially the training, marketing and communications directors. To get resources laid out and looking as they should, complete with CIEP branding, we work with the design team via the CIEP’s design coordinator, Rich Cutler.

Cycles of work

A typical week, if there is one, is therefore a combination of ‘keeping things going’ – answering emails, communicating with regular contributors, making corrections to existing resources – and working on new resources and content. We all watch what’s happening in the forums, to see what members might need, and we stay in touch with the wider world via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, for example, to find ideas and contributors from the CIEP and beyond. If there are patterns to our work, they are governed by where we are in the publication cycle of the two newsletters – they go out in alternating months. Each of us usually has several longer-term resources that we’re working on at any given time.

The content we produce is both inward-facing (for members of the CIEP) and outward-facing (for non-members of the CIEP). The Edit and Editorial Excellence are our two newsletters, for members and non-members respectively. These help us highlight new resources and other relevant content. Each issue has a loose theme, which we decide in advance. Both newsletters are a real team effort, with content drawn from all three of our remits and the many contributors we work with. Abi also runs the blog, as she has done for several years, and a lot of our content is hosted there and linked to from the newsletters.

Team spirit

We keep in touch with each other via Slack, which enables us to work together although we are in distant corners of the UK – Cathy is in Scotland, Abi in the east of England and Liz in the southwest. There’s usually a conversation going on about some resource or other, or a task that needs doing or a decision to be made, and occasionally personal things such as birthday cake, children with colds, or holidays. We all understand that we have other commitments, so although we all try to respond as quickly as we can, we’re not on call 24 hours a day. Although we rarely meet in person, especially right now, the regular communication we share helps us feel like a proper team. When so much of what we do in our professional lives is done alone, this is a real pleasure.


Check out all of the CIEP’s resources!


 

About the CIEP’s information team

The CIEP’s information team works with contributors across the globe on guides, focus papers, fact sheets and, of course, blog posts. If you’ve got an idea for a resource, get in touch: infoteam@ciep.uk

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: information by Philip Strong; info by Giulia May, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.