Copyediting vs. Content Editing

Even the most talented, detail-oriented writers make mistakes. Fortunately, professional editors can fix these issues before your content is published.

The editing process has several steps—including content editing and copyediting. So why is it so important for editors to review your content, and what are the benefits of hiring them? The first step in choosing the right editor is to learn what these professionals do.

What a content editor does

Your story needs a solid structure and a smooth flow. And your company’s printed and digital marketing materials need to have a consistent tone of voice and accurate facts. A content editor makes sure that your content meets all these goals.

What are the responsibilities of a content editor?

Essentially, a content editor helps to ensure high content quality. They’ll read your entire manuscript or business content and make sure that it’s structured well and that your tone and style are consistent throughout.

If your content editor finds any red flags, they’ll make suggestions on how to fix them. Keep in mind that they’ll provide constructive criticism, so be prepared to accept some feedback on the content that you’ve worked so hard to develop!

What types of material do content editors work on?

All written material needs a content editor to ensure that it makes sense. From a book manuscript to advertisements and digital content, all kinds of writing benefit from a professional editor’s eye.

Although a content edit often makes people think of books, companies need help editing their content marketing as well. Some organizations even hire a web content editor to make sure that their digital content is ready for the public to read. In other words, every content writer needs the help of a professional editor.

What skills do content editors need to have?

A content editor needs to have a firm grasp of written language. This helps them identify grammatical errors or typos before the content even gets to the copyeditor. They must also know how to accurately and adequately research a wide variety of topics so they can fact-check any statements that the content writer makes. If they find any errors, they may notate them with the appropriate copyediting marks.

Finally, your content editor should be an expert in whichever media you’re working in. Editing a manuscript is different from editing web content or social media posts, so be sure to find a content editor who fits your needs. Once their job is done, it’s off to the copyeditor!

What a copyeditor does

After the content editor has completed their job and any issues they found have been fixed, the copyeditor steps in. This phase of the editing process basically puts your content under a microscope. Your copyeditor will look at the language you’re using and help you ensure your writing is free of typos or misused words.

What are the responsibilities of a copyeditor?

Copyeditors are responsible for making sure that your content follows the rules. They’ll check for any inaccurately used words or technical problems with the verbiage. As masters of written language, copyeditors must know what mistakes to look out for and how to fix them.

Additionally, your copyeditor needs to understand the content writer’s goals. For example, if an editor is part of a company’s content marketing team, they need a firm grasp of the business’s brand guidelines. Most organizations have buzzwords that they use and verbiage that they avoid, and your copyeditor should be able to identify components that don’t match the branding.

A good copyeditor catches typos and grammar issues. A great copyeditor stays up on current copyediting trends. New words and phrases are constantly added to dictionaries, and your professional editor should be aware of new lingual developments.

When should you hire a copyeditor?

Even the best book author or the most experienced content writer will make an occasional mistake, and a copyeditor can help fix these errors before the content is put in front of the public. If you feel that your content is ready to be published, it’s time to hire a copyeditor. They’ll make sure that your content makes sense and may even handle some proofreading duties.

Who should hire a copyeditor?

There are two main types of people and organizations that should hire a copyeditor:

  • An author who has just finished a manuscript they want to publish. Remember that a book will go through several phases of editing, including substantive editing (also known as developmental editing), content editing, line editing, copyediting, and, finally, proofreading. People don’t want to read a book that has errors that these editors will catch!
  • An organization that is publishing any printed or digital content. Although your website, whitepapers, and advertisements don’t usually need substantive or developmental editing, you need to make sure that your content is free of errors. If you’re willing to represent your company with sloppy or mistake-riddled content, your potential customers will take notice—and you could lose business.

Whether you’re an individual author or part of a company’s content marketing team, remember that everything that you write and publish is a reflection of your work and professionalism. To ensure that your content is free of mistakes, have a content editor and a copyeditor review everything before you launch it to the world.

Importance of having a content editor and a copyeditor review your content

When you make the decision to hire an editor or a copyediting service, keep in mind that a comprehensive edit includes several stages, including:

  • Substantive edit, or developmental edit
  • Line edit
  • Copyedit
  • Proofreading

Each phase of the editing process is important. If you have one professional editor that will handle all editing phases, it might be best to show the piece to someone else for one last proofreading before it’s published. Fresh eyes can sometimes catch a spelling or grammar mistake that an editor who’s read a piece several times might miss. And because proofreading before publishing is so important, you don’t want to skip this step!

Why is proofreading important before publishing?

Proofreading is your content’s last check before it’s published. It corrects any typos and spelling mistakes and can even catch that one lingering grammar mistake that the rest of the comprehensive edit missed. Your proofreader will also scrutinize each word and sentence to make sure that the capitalization and punctuation are accurate.

In other words, proofreading makes sure that your content is ready for your target audience to read.

Why is editing for structure and flow important before publishing?

By the time your story or business content gets to the proofreading phase, it should have already gone through a substantive edit and content edit.

For example, during the book editing process, your manuscript should lay out a story with characters that develop throughout. As the author, you could be accidentally overlooking gaps in the continuity or assuming that your readers will connect pieces of information that aren’t actually as clear as you might think. A professional editor can perform a substantive edit to make sure that the story makes sense.

Similarly, any printed or digital content you produce for your company should also be edited for structure and flow. If a blog or advertisement doesn’t make sense, your potential customers could become confused—and you could lose business.

Why is fact-checking important before publishing?

It is imperative that you fact-check all your content before publishing. It’s both unethical and unfair to your readers to include incorrect information that you convey as factual. Fact-checking is a crucial part of the editing process for both businesses and authors.

For example, maybe your company is publishing a whitepaper or a new blog. Any data about your industry, your products, or your competitors must be entirely factual for various reasons, including:

  • You’ll lose credibility. You want your business to be seen as a thought leader in your industry. Any misinformation that you publish might cause distrust among your existing and potential clients.
  • There could be legal ramifications. Intentionally misleading or inaccurate information about the goods and services that you provide—or that other companies in your industry provide—could lead to a lawsuit against your company.
  • It will hurt your SEO. Search engines like Google build powerful algorithms that can often identify misinformation. If your digital content contains inaccuracies, the search engine could flag your website as untrustworthy. Your SEO could drop, and potential customers won’t find you as easily online.

Book authors need to have their writing fact checked as well—particularly if you’ve written a nonfiction manuscript that discusses actual people, events, or data. Fact-checking is just one of the many benefits of hiring a professional editor.

Benefits of hiring a content editor and a copyeditor

When you hire a professional content editor and copyeditor, you can rest assured that your printed content and digital marketing are ready for the public to read. These experts will review everything from fact checking to tone of voice to grammar.

If you’re looking to publish any sort of content as an author or for your business, you should consider hiring a content editor and a copyeditor.

Why should you consider hiring a content editor and a copyeditor?

All writers make mistakes—and that’s why the editing process exists!

Sometimes authors think they’ve written a story that flows and makes sense, but they need a substantive edit to make sure they don’t have any structural issues. Other times, businesses update their websites, publish blogs, or post on social media. Content editors will confirm any factual statements in your company’s content and make sure that you’re communicating accurate information. The content editor will also make sure that your story or business content conveys a consistent tone of voice so you don’t confuse your readers.

You also need a copyeditor to take a close look at your content. They’ll make sure that you don’t have any partial sentences, run-ons, or typos. In other words, if you’re thinking about publishing content, you should hire some professionals to edit it.

When should you hire a content editor and a copyeditor?

Content creation is a specialized skill that not everyone possesses. Your content writer should know what your goals are, and if they’re writing for your company, they should be well versed in SEO best practices so that you get the most bang for your marketing buck.

However, content creators need a content editor and copyeditor to make sure the written pieces are ready for the public to read. Your writer has likely looked at each piece multiple times, and their eyes could easily glaze over some basic errors. When your writer is done creating the content, it’s time to hire a professional editor.

What should you consider when hiring a content editor and a copyeditor?

The first thing to consider when hiring editors is to find a good fit. Some specialize in digital marketing, and others specialize in different literary genres. It’s your job to find the right editor who truly understands your project and the message you’re trying to convey. If you don’t feel like someone is the right fit, keep looking until you find someone better suited to edit your type of content.

You should also take your budget into account. You can either hire a freelance editor or an editing service to handle the process for you. Each editor’s cost will vary depending on the length of the content and exactly what you need done. If you have a long novel or are completely revamping your website, let them know! You might be able to get a good deal on a large project price instead of paying by the word or by the hour.

Let us make your content Elite!

Editors at Elite Editing are experts in all things editing. We offer affordable, personalized, and scalable services that we’ll customize to fit your needs. We’ll make sure your novel is ready to hit the bookshelves and that your company’s copy is primed for success.

Visit our website today to learn more!

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