Why Everyone Needs an Editor (Seriously, Everyone)

By Lisa Horn

copy editor graphic

Look, you know your stuff. You have industry insights and knowledge up to your eyeballs. You may even be a pretty good  writer who can string together a blog post or email that clearly lays out your value proposition.

So, then, why do you need an editor? 

Well, besides the fact that editors are super cool and fun people to be around, a good editor serves as a bridge between your expertise and the audience you aim to reach. They’re masters of tone and style  who work in conjunction with writers to ensure content is clear, concise, on-brand and applicable to the audience’s needs. 

Renowned magazine editor Arthur Plotnik said it best: “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”

How Editing Services Can Support Your Business’s Content Efforts

The purpose behind publishing content as a part of your marketing strategy is connection. You want to connect with potential buyers to provide a solution that helps them fulfill their mission. And these prospects equally want to connect with businesses that can help them solve a problem or capitalize on an opportunity.

Content is a way to find your tribe and allows your tribe to find you.

While the right content has the power to attract and convert, inferior content has the power to repel and send your ideal clients to a competitor. Editors work with your expertise to create content that’s so in touch with what buyers need that they won’t think of looking anywhere else but you.

No matter how knowledgeable or skilled a writer is, their work can benefit from the talents of a professional editor. What does an editor do and what are the benefits of content editing services? Let’s dive in.

Copy Editing vs. Content Editing: What’s the Difference? 

Copy editing, content editing … it’s the same thing, right?

Not quite. Think of it as micro vs. macro editing.

Copy editors look at the details such as punctuation, style and syntax. They fact-check and ensure proper source attribution. This is the micro side of editing.

On the other hand, content editors look at the big picture, such as how the content captures reader interest, is structured for logical flow and understanding, and delivers on its intended goals. They look at consistency and brand standards. This is the macro side of editing.

Put the two together and the result is a piece of audience-centric content that connects with readers and delivers on intended marketing goals.

What Are the Benefits of Content Editing Services? 

Content editing is an essential aspect of content production because it enhances your credibility, appeal and impact on your target audience. While there are many benefits, these nine are the most powerful reasons to include content editing within your publishing protocols.

1. Objective viewpoint. When you’re passionate about a subject, it’s easy to write a lot. Sometimes, however, more isn’t mo betta’. Superfluous details can inhibit readability and understanding. An editor helps differentiate what is essential and distills it down for a more general audience.

2. Quality control. In the broadest sense, content editing is the quality control mechanism within any publishing endeavor. It prevents any subpar or incomplete content from reaching the public domain where it can detract from your reputation.

3. Improved accuracy. Content editing confirms that the text is factually accurate as well as true to the established style and brand guidelines. This ensures not only that the magazine, blog post or other communication piece does not disseminate incorrect or misleading information but also that it enhances your reputation as a reliable source.

4. Increased readability. Content that is properly edited employs clear, concise and understandable language. This enhances the overall readability and makes your content accessible to a wider audience.

5. Consistency. A consistent tone, style and voice is one of the hallmarks of an engaging reading experience. Content editing makes sure the message is consistent within the individual article as well as holistically throughout an entire publication, blog or marketing project.

6. Tighter structure. Comprehensive content editing makes sure that the content is arranged logically with smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, sections and entire articles. Having a tight structure and flow makes reading more enjoyable.

7. Tailored audience. A content editor works to align content to the target audience’s preferences and expectations. By tailoring the content to readers’ interests, it is more engaging and relevant.

8. Stronger brand identity. Consistent and well-edited content not only enhances your brand identity, but it also fosters trust and loyalty among external audiences (readers and advertisers) as well as internal audiences (staff, board members, volunteers and any other stakeholders).

9. Reader satisfaction. When content is edited to be relevant and informative to your audience, they have higher satisfaction when engaging with your content. If you can resonate with readers and keep them engaged, they’ll keep coming back for more.

What’s at Stake When You Skip Editing?

What happens if you publish content that hasn’t been properly edited? The world probably won’t end, but you will risk eroding your brand image and losing client trust.

And, you may also be risking your bottom line.

According to Josh Bernoff, terrible writing costs American businesses nearly $400 billion every year. His article in The Daily Beast speaks to the fundamental inefficiency within emails, reports, websites, marketing materials and press releases. While there are differences between internal and external communication, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how poor content can negatively impact lead generation, sales and customer retention. 

That’s not all. In the article “3 Ways Terrible Writing Can Kill Your Business,” Inc. contributor Jessica Stillman posits that it’s possible to diagnose a company’s problems by the way it abuses the English language. It’s an interesting concept, one that she argues well in her post. 

She writes that “business gibberish,” “linguistic pomposity” and “wordy boasting” can provide deeper insights into what’s happening within a company. 

The takeaway: Inferior content isn’t only bad reading, it’s bad for business.

Content Editing: The Difference Between Good and Great Storytelling

Content editing is a foundational piece of the publishing process. You may not directly see it, but you definitely know when it isn’t there.

When considering which content agency is right for your business, look at whether they offer both content writing and content editing services. This enables your content provider to not only create original content to spec but also to edit any internally written copy so your brand voice is consistent throughout all communication methods.

Content, done right, should evoke feelings — inspired, intrigued, empowered, surprised or even outraged — depending on the goal of the content and the action you want readers to take. Content editing ensures that the feelings your audience experiences are in alignment with your brand voice and content goals. 

Like Plotnik said, the fire is there, and your target audience wants to see it; good editors clear away the smoke and reveal the power, heat, passion and value within your words.   

Lisa Horn

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