Why writing needs a professional editor

Editing is both an art and a technique. The art of editing encompasses more than checking grammar and proofreading (although they are important aspects of it). A professional editor is to copywriting what an architect is to building.

Imagine building a complicated structure without an architect or structural engineer! It would be highly risky and unthinkable (if not illegal). Sales, marketing, editorial content and books are also structured but many people think editing is an unnecessary luxury. Far from it!

Thankfully, no-one’s life is at risk from poorly constructed copy, but your company’s reputation and the goodwill you’ve built through years of hard work may be on the line. What’s also at risk is the financial investment you’ve put into creating content or having it created. This is why the editing element of any writing project is critical to its overall success and efficacy.

What does a professional editor actually do?

Fundamentally, an editor provides a second set of eyes that see your copy collateral from a valuable perspective - the same one as your readers.

A basic misperception about editing is that it’s done only at the final stage of writing, which is true for on-page and technical editing, but much as you employ an architect at the beginning of a building project, professional editors are highly valuable at the outset of the writing process. Among other things (listed below), an editor ensures strong foundations are in place and the writing will be “on message”. Other aspects of the technique of editing are as follows:

  • Developmental editing – checking the organisational structure, effectiveness, voice, tone, readability, comprehensibility, pacing and practicality.

  • Content editing – making sure your content is well crafted, easily digestible, on message and meets your readers’ needs.

  • Line editing – this is the fun bit, much akin to the interior decorating and ‘dressing’ of a house once construction has completed. It includes: refining sentences, suggesting alternative word choices, working on clarity, flow and grammar.

  • Technical editing – once the copy is at a final stage, this includes copy editing and multiple stages of proofing or proofreading.

It’s easy to see from the above that there’s more to editing than meets the eye.

The most cost-effective way to acquire editing services

Choose a copywriter who is also an experienced editor. Many writers will happily hand you raw copy and expect you to apply the editing. I offer all of the above as a standard part of the service I provide. So, you only pay one bill, no extras and no surprises.

Editing existing copy

At this point, you may be asking this question:

What if I’ve got copy that I (or someone else) has already written, can I just buy editing services from you?

Absolutely, I do this often, particularly for technology clients or those in knowledge-based industries (legal, medical, or another specialism) whereby they may already have content that can be re-purposed.

My technology clients, for example, are often highly accomplished experts in their field but (by their own admission) not the best writers. However, they can be prolific creators of content - even if it’s just a stream of bullet-points. I encourage this. I can take what they produce and use my editing expertise to turn it into marketing, sales or editorial collateral. This can be referred to as co-collaboration and it’s a cost-effective way for us to work together.

Collaboration can save you money on your copywriting bill.

Alongside providing great copy, here are my other value adds:

  • Experience – 25+ years as a journalist and copywriter.

  • Values – the values I care about are: integrity, openness, being helpful and delivering excellence.

  • Qualifications – Journalism, publishing and Media Law.

  • Quality – I have processes and systems in place to ensure quality and accuracy and that all copy is as clean as it can be.

  • Objectivity – I see you as your external audiences do, which gives me a valuable perspective.

  • Convenient and cost-effective – high-level skill when you need it but not when you don’t (you’re not paying the salary of a full-time employee).

Get in touch for an informal chat about your editing requirements or sign up to my newsletter crammed full of useful information I don’t share anywhere else (fill in the Subscribe form below).