Pre-Publish Checklist for News Publishers and Bloggers

Last updated on Mar 12, 2024

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Pre-Publish Checklist for News Publishers and Bloggers

Whether you are running a blog or a full-fledged news website, the articles you put out fuel all your traffic. It is also one of the major hooks to retain and grow your audience. Good content has the ability to convert flyby visitors into loyal audiences. But as you grow and scale your website, it becomes more important than ever to have a set number of checks and balances to ensure that the quality of your content isn’t compromised.

Imagine this scenario, you start out your website by writing articles yourself. Soon you build a team and your duties are limited to checking the articles before they are published. After scaling further you would probably be looking at more ways to generate revenue from your website while editors take over the role of managing the content on your website. In order to ensure that your content quality remains unchanged throughout these transitions here is a checklist that you should follow. 

1) Content Accuracy
The accuracy of your content is sure to bring you traffic and praise from your audience. As a result, the first thing to check for is the accuracy of the content you publish.

  • Factual Accuracy: Double-check all facts, figures, and quotes. Use a minimum of two sources. especially for sensitive or controversial topics. You should further add credibility by citing sources, and add a link to such sources. This brings transparency and builds trust with your readers.

For content pieces where sources can’t be cited for confidentiality reasons, ensure that the source of information (or the person disclosing the information) is genuine and reputed. Your website’s credibility is at risk when you publish an incorrect article and can cause your audience to lose trust.

  • Technical Accuracy: Ensure technical details, product specifications, and code snippets are accurate and up-to-date.Since these are repeated very often, it is possible to overlook these details. An error here is highly likely, and if you ask me, feels a bit silly. Readers expect established publications to have error free publishing and such errors can dent their belief.

    Editors should verify technical details by looking at a reference page or sheet and not rely on memory. This will help reduce these types of errors. If you are seeing these errors often, an additional editor specializing in the segment can help immensely.

  • Objectivity: Maintain a neutral and objective tone, avoid personal opinions or biases. Reserve opinions for reviews and opinion pieces. If the writer has an opinion on the matter, it would be beneficial to cover it separately and link it to the article for interested readers to visit.

  • Clarity and Concision: Use clear, concise language that your target audience understands. Avoid jargon or overly technical terms without explanation. This helps reduce bounce rates and helps increase the time on site for your website by engaging your audience. Introduce new terms with examples to help your audience understand them better.I’ve seen it to be a common occurrence in tech, business and lifestyle verticals.

  • Structure and Flow: Ensure the article has a logical structure with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Check for smooth transitions between sections. Certain publications have a set structure for each type of content, be it news, reviews or opinion pieces. If you have a structure created for certain types of articles, ensure that these are met before publishing. A uniform structure also helps a loyal reader to connect with these content pieces better.
  • Headings and Subheadings: Use informative headings and subheadings that accurately reflect the content and aid scannability. Think of headings and subheadings as a guide that helps readers navigate on the article. Readers these days skim through the article to quickly gather the information they are looking for. A structured article also helps search engines find content for search queries. This should also help you with organic search traffic. My suggestion would be to use a table of content for lengthy articles to help your readers. If you are on WordPress, checkout our list of will help readers to jump the section they need.

2) Technical Criterias
Good content with poor discovery is useless. Here are a few technical checks to ensure that your article meets all the technical criterias.

  • SEO Optimization: Include relevant keywords in the title, meta description, and body text, but avoid keyword stuffing. Ensure that your URL has the required keywords. Do this just before you hit the publish button, so that you don’t forget it. Personally I prefer to finalize my URL, copy it, hit publish and then move on to distribution. It has now become a process that ensures that I never miss it.
  • Internal Linking: Link to relevant internal articles for context and to improve website navigation. Internal linking is a strong SEO practice that is often overlooked. By linking internally, you not only boost your SEO but also build paths for readers to visit other related pages and consume your content.

  • Broken Links: Check that all external links are functioning properly. Broken links are bad for SEO and also cause a bad user experience for the reader.
  • Image Optimization: Ensure images are high quality, relevant to the content, and properly sized for web use. Use alt text for images to improve accessibility and SEO. While choosing the image, watermark it appropriately if it is exclusive to your publication. While selecting images ensure that the size works well for readers on mobile devices. You can also use image optimization plugins to ensure that these images don’t affect your page load speed. I've put together a list of the best image optimization tools for WordPress, do check it out.

  • Mobile Responsiveness: Verify that the article displays correctly and is user-friendly on all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

Also Read: Unlocking SEO Strategies For Enterprise Publishers

3) Basic Hygiene 

  • Proofreading and Editing: Proofread thoroughly for typos, grammatical errors, and formatting inconsistencies. Consider a second set of eyes for proofreading. Ensure that the article is copy-checked by an editor after the writer has drafted it. This ensures that errors are caught before the article goes live.
  • Copyright and Permissions: Ensure you have the rights to use all images, videos, and other content in the article. Add credit to images and videos when using them from a different source. It is required to seek permission from the original content creator when reposting their content.
  • Legal and Ethical Compliances: Just ensure that your article is legal. Checking the article for plagiarism ensures that your publication does not plagiarize someone else’s content.

  • Scheduling: While you are in the rush to hit the publish button when it comes to breaking news, don’t rush while scheduling articles. I’ve often seen articles with embargoed content getting published before the embargo. Simply because it wasn’t scheduled correctly. This can be a major issue,so double check the time and date before you hit the schedule button for articles.

Bonus Tip: 

Check your content management system (CMS) for built-in features to automate some of these checks, such as broken link detection and SEO optimization. Most popular CMSes have most features in-built. If you are on WordPress, you can use plugins that can help with SEO and scheduling articles easily.

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Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy is a Senior Manager for Content Marketing at iZooto. At iZooto he's helping publishers retain their hard earned audience. He has spent 8 years in the digital publishing space as a consumer technology reviewer. He has worked with Gadgets 360, India's best technology website creating content across different formats. During his stint with NDTV he reviewed nearly 300 gadgets including smartphone, tablets, and wearables. Aditya was anchoring a show called Daily 360 that used to be streamed live on the Hop Live app.

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