On Monday, it was time to shine a light on the behind-the-scenes efforts of great cinematographers and what they bring to the table when making awesome videos. Today, it’s time to give copyeditors the due they deserve.
These folks spend countless hours pouring over already written documents, picking apart the errors. Yes, they watch over even the worst writing being done, because it is their job. Imagine reading countless pages of technical writing or the ramblings of a scientist about matter agitation.
Ultimately, most people don’t know what a great copyeditor really does for you (they assume that all you get is the first piece listed: grammar and spelling corrections). So, here’s some of the services and benefits you can expect from an expert editor.
- Grammar and spelling corrections. This is the most obvious benefit. A good editor will go through your document with a fine-tooth comb, looking for errors. He or she should be able to do this significantly more quickly than your average English student.
- Keeping your voice. Sometimes the right word choice escapes you when you’re writing or you find yourself using the same word over and over again. This should be noticed and altered to reflect your voice and to strengthen what you have say.
- It saves time. Sometimes, when you’ve got an idea racing through your mind, your writing reflects that pace. Words, phrases, and even entire sentences can be mixed up beyond recognition. But you only have enough time to write the darn thing. Other elements of your business require tending. So, you pass it off to the copyeditor, who is quick to recognize your mistakes and, if he or she has worked with you long enough, can manipulate the text to reflect your actual meaning.
- It helps your professional image. While people reading your ads and articles won’t fault you for the occasional mistake, consistent errors can frustrate or turn people off entirely from what you’re saying. Again, when you’re busy, the last thing you need to worry about is going back to correct your errors.
- Keeping the message clear. Often, while you are hammering away at the keyboard, you risk misquoting yourself. This may mean offering a 100% discount instead of the 10% you intended. The person looking over your materials will catch these business-breaking follies and make sure that your business message is consistent.
Having done plenty of copyediting myself, I can’t express enough how many errors can be averted by having a great in-house copyeditor. Often, you can find this skill in a current or new employee who is responsible for other things in the office. A strong English background and a proclivity to write excellent copy on his or her own is a good indicator of potential editing skills. Really, it requires a willingness to read over the same piece of copy multiple times and the ability to actually notice errors.
Next time you are preparing an article, a blog post, a book, or just good ol’ marketing copy, remember to hand it off to someone who can clean up behind you so you can move on to the next project.
Image c/o Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net