The Case for the Content Editor: Polish Makes Perfect

By Kathy Wilson, ETMG Writer

Editing_redpen_istockIn today’s world of information overload, most of us are tasked with writing for a broader audience than just our personal journal. Whether you’re writing a blog, a newsletter, web content, a technical document, or a piece of marketing collateral, you need to overcome the challenges that writing for various audiences presents.

If you are one of those rare individuals whose writing is always perfect “right out of the box,” good for you! If that’s not the case (meaning you’re like the rest of us), you should consider working with a content editor, sometimes known as a developmental editor. A content editor can help you clean up spelling and grammatical errors, tighten your document’s organization, and add polish to your writing style.

Answering any of these questions in the affirmative, may mean you need the help of a content editor:

  • Are you a content expert for whom English is a second language?
  • Are you a technical whiz who could use someone’s help polishing your datasheets and training manuals?
  • Are you a busy executive with a weekly blog who would like to leave final edits and quality reviews to someone else?
  • Were you often napping during 5th grade English when pronouns and infinitives were discussed?

For writing to be of the highest quality, it must include all the required elements such as organization, compelling content, and appropriate voice.

If you’re writing a blog, you don’t want to be too formal, and if you’ve writing a white paper, you don’t want to be too chatty. Documents such as datasheets and application notes are technical by nature but still need to be written in a way that is easy to digest. Slang expressions are fun to use but often don’t work for a global audience. Long run-on sentences need to be broken up into shorter, more digestible sound bites. And overused buzzwords can often be swapped out for something fresher and more thoughtful, helping you break through to your distracted reader and enhance impact.

While a copy editor corrects obvious errors, the content editor does that and more. Because the content editor “has your back,” you are now able to:

  • Quickly get high-quality content to market
  • Avoid embarrassing errors
  • Maintain a voice that is both appropriate and uniquely yours
  • Focus on your message and leave the rest to an expert
  • Build trust and enhance credibility as you send your writing out into the world

The next time you think you’re ready to publish a white paper, case study, or marketing brochure, consider having a content editor give it a once over. Adding a final editorial review to the writing process can take your writing from ho-hum to Like! to Wow!

For more information on this topic, check out:

Resources:

Copy Editing vs. Content Editing, wor-mart.com

Communications for DMW, Copy editing vs. copy editing

Developmental editing, Wikipedia

Further Reading:

How to Write for Email vs. Social Media vs. the Web

6 Elements of a Great Newsletter

Word Up! Quick Tips on Microsoft Word

 

 

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