It’s not easy to find the right editor for your website content, internal documents, or ebook.
And at the same time, it can be difficult to be pitch perfect in every respect of running your business or non-profit. So what if you have a few spelling errors and misplaced commas on your website? It’s the message that matters… right?
Unfortunately, potential clients will judge you on the quality of your writing, even if writing isn’t your specialty. Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
Before your work with an editor, however, be sure you vet them by asking the following five questions to ensure they’re going to be more help than hindrance.
Question #1: Ask About Their Training
Look for any training the editor has, whether this be through higher education (i.e. a B.A. in English) or through professional certification or experience. Editors may have experience writing and editing as volunteers for non-profit organizations; as interns for small or big businesses; or as paid editors for an organization.
And don’t be afraid to ask about their experience editing the types of things you need help with (i.e. websites or ebooks).
Question #2: Ask For Testimonials
Editors should either have their own website or be featured as an editor on a website for an organization. This website should have client testimonials about the editor. The editor should be open to sharing a portfolio of their work and should be willing to let you talk to their clients about their experiences working with the editor.
Question #3: Ask For Their Portfolio
If part of a marketing firm, an editor may not be hired to work on every project (i.e., a website redesign might only involve graphics and not writing). Make sure to ask to view projects an editor has worked on. Read through the content to check for errors. Their representative projects should be error-free.
Question #4: Ask For a Sample Edit
It’s not unreasonable to ask to see proof of concept. An editor should be willing to edit a paragraph or to simply point out the errors in a few sentences that you have written for your organization. Remember that a quality editor does more than fix common grammar errors like sentence fragments, missing commas, dangling modifiers, and wrong word usage, however. A quality editor also can spot issues such as extraneous detail, lack of transitions, lack of detail, missing exposition, inconsistent style, and more. They should do research and ask you questions in order to make your writing the best it can be.
Question #4: Ask About Terms of Engagement
Editors understand that writing is a process. They will require that you agree to a set hourly rate for editing or a set fee for the type or length of your project ahead of time. But they should also allow you to ask questions about their corrections, suggestions, and comments. And while your final product should sound professional, it should also be a solid reflection of your brand. A worthwhile editor will try to work with you and not make you sound more like them.
It takes more than good experience and technical expertise to be a strong editor for small businesses and non-profits. You need someone you can trust, someone who wants your organization to communicate effectively, clearly, and with style.