Elevate your messaging with the help of an editor’s eagle-sharp eyes
We’ve all been there. That feeling when you’ve worked for days or weeks on a large report, one you’ve read dozens of times. You think it’s ready to go and hit “publish” only to find a glaring typo embedded in a key message on page 8.
It’s hard to proofread your own writing because your brain already knows what it wants to say — so you often read what you meant to type rather than what’s actually on the page.
Luckily, there’s a cure for this dilemma: employing the talents of a skilled copy editor.
What is copy editing?
First, let’s get one misconception out of the way: copy editors don’t change your message or your voice. Rather, they amplify it — by getting rid of pesky errors that could be obscuring your meaning.
In the most traditional use of the word, copy editing involves spotting and correcting errors such as:
- Grammatical missteps
- Punctuation misuse
- Incorrect word choice
- Awkward or unclear phrasing
The benefits of partnering with a copy editor
Skilled copy editors love grammar like most people love puppies or finding a forgotten $20 bill. When it comes to clear writing, they’re the Tom Brady of subject-verb agreement, the Simone Biles of grammatical parallelism, the Serena Williams of avoiding passive voice. You get the idea. The point is they’re language specialists. Why wouldn’t you want them on your team?
By contracting with an editor, you can banish the fear of ever again confusing easily misused pairs like compliment/complement or mistakenly using I versus me with other names. Copy editors also know what a comma splice is — and why it’s wrong — so you don’t have to add revisiting that long-forgotten ninth grade English lesson to your already lengthy to-do list.
Ever found yourself debating whether it’s home in or hone in? Or precisely where in your otherwise compelling sentence the semicolon should go? Copy editors have your back on potentially vexing word and punctuation conundrums such as these, allowing you to focus on the ideas at the heart of your messaging.
Copy editors also look for inconsistencies in facts, gaps in logic, and other organizational discrepancies — like a colleague’s surname errantly spelled two different ways, or inconsistent use of % versus percent — that may be hard to spot without an objective pair of eyes.
Perhaps best of all, copy editors are literal experts in distinctions between various style guides, such as AP style versus Chicago style. So, they can help you stay in sync with your company’s preferred style mandates, saving you from the need to pore over online style manuals for hours on end.
Other forms of editing
What copy editors do often depends on the level of editing you request. Conventional copyediting generally focuses on correcting stylistic errors as outlined above.
But you can also seek professional help with other levels of editing, including:
- Substantive editing: With this level of editing, editors dive more deeply into the structure of your sentences to make them as clear as they can be. In a substantive edit, editors may rework paragraphs and even organizational idea flow more extensively than what is typically involved in a standard copy editing review.
- Plain-language editing: This editing process focuses on converting industry jargon into simpler terms to appeal to a wider readership.
- Proofreading: Proofreaders seek to catch any remaining grammatical or typographic errors in a text before a document’s final publishing.
Editors can work with you to identify the precise type of editing that best matches your project goals. So, now you know: no matter what you’re working on — whether it’s a massive annual report, a corporate newsletter, or social media messaging — you don’t have to write and edit your pieces alone.
By trusting a copy editor to review your writing, you can feel assured that your final product will be error free, logical, consistent, and compelling.
Ready to engage a skilled copy editor to take your team’s written communication to the next level? Reach out to let us know how we can help.