If you’ve spent time editing out wacky copywriter formatting “choices” and word processing-isms then you know the pain here.

The situation:

  1. Brief over a topic skeleton (me, 15 min)
  2. Draft written (them, a week)
  3. Edits suggested (me, 10 min)
  4. Edits made (them, 1-2 days)
  5. Final review (me, 10 mins)
  6. Copy all & paste into CMS (me, 30sec)
  7. Manually clean up formatting in CMS (me, 5-10min)

Clean up formatting
made easy

If you don’t publish at high velocity, or have never really experienced this, then that’s understandable.

However, when working with text content at scale like in SEO agencies, or other content agencies. Eliminating 5-10 mins from the production pipeline adds up you’re publishing 20 blog posts at a time.

Some of this can be avoided with very specific initial formatting rules as part of a content brief, but even then there are issues. There is also the problem of different writers having different habits when using document-processors, with double lines, double spaces, formatting changes away from default, font choices, bullet formatting, title formatting etc. Every formatting diff adds up and needs to be normalized for publishing into a CMS.

I usually try to get copywriters to stick to formatting guidelines like these in a word processor.

  • Default heading formats (heading 1,2,3 etc) –
  • No font-sizes, or bold or colours changes away from defaults
  • If list use list formatting, don’t paste in a symbol, or type a number.
  • If table, leave formatting stock
  • Don’t add sources down the bottom
  • Don’t change link colours/styles from stock

But even then I’ve seen some wild stuff coming back.

Publish to your CMS like a Shopify or WordPress blog without formatting & styles

Step 1: Copy text from Word or Google Docs

Step 2: Paste into HTML cleaner


Step 3: Set to strip out what you don’t want

Step 4: paste into CMS

Other ways

You can always do the plaintext route

There are always better ways, and different tools this is one way I’ve found which works quite well for me. If you have a different or better way to do something similar, feel free to slide into the comments below.