There seems to be some controversy when it comes to whether it is appropriate to edit your content after you have already posted and syndicated it online. It depends on your approach and your reasons for editing after the fact.
If you have an obvious reason for editing after your content has already been posted (such as typos or important information that you didn’t include in your original post), it is perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, if you have posted an article that caused people to react in a negative way and you revised the content in order to satisfy those people and dilute some of the controversy, that is something else. It is acceptable if you revise the content based on your having rethought your original communication. In other words, if you feel that you were wrong in the first place to write and post what you did and you are revising it to correct an error, that is perfectly fine. However, if you are revising it only to please other people, you are compromising your own values and that is not a good thing to do because others will not respect you the way you deserve to be respected.
Transparency is critical
If you choose to revise your content, it is very important for you to be transparent with your readers about it. Being transparent means that you don’t just quietly remove your content from wherever it was posted online, revise it, and put it back, hoping that nobody notices the difference in the different versions of the article. The difference may be if the content that you are revising has other people’s comments attached to it or not. If other people have not left comments, it isn’t as important as if they have left comments. The reason is that if you revise the content after comments have been left for you (and others) to read, you are making your readers who left the comments look foolish. And that is just not fair to them. In that case, you run the risk of new readers reading your revised content and reading the comments that were a reaction to the version of the content that came before the revisions not understanding how the readers who left the comments could have felt the way that they did. It doesn’t create a good situation.
Be discriminating about what and when you revise content online
First of all, if decide that you are going to revise your content after the fact, you should state that at the beginning of the revised article. You need to explain to your readers why you felt compelled to revise the content and, if appropriate and necessary, apologize for having done so. It is always important for you to demonstrate integrity to your readers and if you aren’t honest about what you are doing with the content, you are inadvertently demonstrating a lack of respect for them. If your readers don’t feel that you respect them, they most likely won’t continue to read the content that you are sharing with them. If you want to approach the situation in the correct way, you should either explain the reason for your revisions or move on and write an entirely new article. People will have a lot more respect for you and will be much more willing to read whatever you are sharing going forward if you approach it in that way. Also, the negative press will be forgotten much more easily if you handle it properly.
Taking constructive comments into serious consideration
On many occasions, when it comes to your readers’ comments on your posted articles, the information that they are sharing is valuable and really does help to improve upon what you originally posted. It is critical that you don’t dismiss any of the comments that you receive because there is a great potential that each one contains valuable nuggets of information that will help your business in some way.
It goes without saying that the best time to revise your content is before you ever post it online. However, it is important to keep an open mind about it and to realize that there are exceptions to the rule at times. It is up to you to decide if you feel that revising it after it has already been posted will make it better or worse. Whatever you decide, make sure that you always have integrity, honesty, and that your readers understand that you are sharing your content with them in order to help them in some way and to add something positive to their repository of information.
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Carolyn Cohn is the Chief Editor of CompuKol Communications LLC. Mrs. Cohn has a wealth of experience in business writing as well as having a strong editorial background. She manages all of the company’s writers, journalists and editors as well as writing, editing and publishing several business articles a week on a consistent basis, which are syndicated globally.
Mrs. Cohn has run several editorial departments for other companies. She has over 25 years of editorial experience and her expertise covers a wide range of media, such as online editing, and editing books, journal articles, abstracts, and promotional and educational materials.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohn has established and maintained strong relationships with professionals from a wide variety of companies. The principle that governs her work is that all words need to be edited.
Mrs. Cohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.
Mrs. Cohn is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).