If you’re not sure when you should hire a copy editor for your content versus trying to rework it yourself, our answer is always: it depends on a lot of factors. You should ask yourself if you can produce error-free writing on your own, for instance. Or if you have the time, energy, and know-how to go through all of your content systematically.
In short, if you’re not a copy editor, you just might need one. Below are some of the situations we see most often when people need a copy editor.
Situation 1: When Dealing With a Document That Needs to Be Error-Free
When proofreading your resume for a much sought-after job, you probably ask people you know to look it over for you. The same should logic should apply to your business or non-profit, however. Writing is often the first thing consumers see when they encounter our organizations. You don’t want customers, donors, or volunteers to find a typo or awkward sentence in the first thing they see.
And unless you employ a professional editor, there are likely to be errors (with spacing, font size consistency, parallelism, etc.) that you may miss. There are also errors that even software like Grammarly, which we both use and recommend, won’t always catch. These include issues of style, such as when a sentence effectively conveys meaning and when it doesn’t. Professional editors recognize the diverse style of different types of writing and can edit accordingly. Having the feedback of a well-trained editor can mean the difference between impressing consumers or alienating them.
Some documents you might want to hire a copy editor for include:
- Print newsletters
- Business plans
- Grant proposals
- Technical documents
- Employee manuals
Situation 2: When You’re Using Any Kind of Advertising (Digital or Traditional)
Even though you may not think of yourself as a writer and your organization may not offer writing as a service, consumers expect the content in your advertising to be error-free. Whether you’re running a Google ad or paying for a radio spot, your advertising is selling what your organization has to offer. Error-free advertising content shows that you care about details.
If you have unintentional spelling or grammar errors in your advertisements, on the other hand, you may turn off consumers that you could have landed otherwise. Advertising also often intentionally breaks grammar rules in specific ways that only those who work in the industry may realize. It’s a fine line between using an incomplete sentence because it’s catchy and using one because you didn’t realize it was an incomplete sentence, in other words. If you’re spending money to deliver your advertising message to a broad audience, you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Some types of advertising you might want to hire a copy editor for include:
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Radio ads
- TV ads
- Newspaper ads
- Other types of digital ads such as Yelp or Yellow Pages ads
Not sure which type of advertising you need? Check out this article on the differences between traditional and digital marketing:
Situation 3: When You Are Creating Content For a Website or Other “Free” Venue
One of the best ways to advertise your organization is by crafting blog posts and downloadable content for potential consumers. Original blog posts can be unique pages on your website that get archived by Google for unique keywords. You can also woo potential customer or donors by creating a short white paper on a topic in which you have expertise. For the price of their name and email address, they can gain access to your white paper and subscribe to your email newsletter.
This type of content is also powerful because you don’t have to pay an intermediary, like a marketing firm, to deliver it for you. Of course, these efforts will have little positive impact if your blog posts and white papers have noticeable grammar, spelling, and style errors. Having a professional editor smooth out your rough edges and make sure that your prose flows well can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful digital marketing campaign.
Some types of digital content you might want to hire a copy editor for include:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Social media profiles
- Email newsletters
As small business owners and non-profit managers, we literally write for our livelihoods. A trustworthy professional editor can aid you in crafting the best possible representation of your organization to ensure you attract customers or donors.