Copy editors transform content into compelling, clear content
What is copy editing?
Sometimes you’ve written content but know that it’s not quite right or that it needs a polish. .
This in-between stage of the content writing process is copy editing.
What do copy editors do?
Professional copy editors will transform your words into compelling language that stands out from your competition and makes sense to your audience. They’ll turn your draft content into professional documents to win you more business or communicate your messages clearly and succinctly.
Highly experienced copy editors will ask what it is that you want to achieve from your content and help deliver it. They’ll re-write elements of your draft, re-structure the sequence of content and create eye grabbing titles or headlines.
Great copy editors work efficiently and professionally to copy edit business documents so they are clear, accurate, interesting and convincing to readers. They make sure that the entire document speaks with the same ‘voice’ and tone. Very simply, they make sure that that what you’re writing is clear and easily understood.
What skills do copy editors need to have?
Any professional copy editors you work with will be whizzes at grammar, syntax and proofreading. They’ll know their apostrophes from their comma splices and put their knowledge to good work for you.
They will have good, long-term experience of copy editing a variety of documents. For example, at Proof Communications the documents we work on range from a few pages to over 200 pages.
Your copy editors will be adept at quickly understanding the content and context of your documents so that their edits are consistent throughout. This means, for example, that if a copy editor makes a change to a phrase on one page, they will change it every time it pops up. Consistency is very important, especially when copy editing significant stakeholder documents such as annual reports, product disclosure statements, reconciliation action plans, sustainability reports and initial public offering documents. Excellent copy editors are alert to this.
An important part of copy editing is proofreading. Your copy editors need to be great proof readers, too. Proofreading is not for the faint-hearted. It requires enormous attention to detail and significant concentration. Being able to correct typos, incorrect grammar and poorly constructed sentences are just part of a copy editor’s job, but an essential part.
If you’re not a natural born copy editor, here’s our advice on how to copy edit marketing content if you’re not a copy editor.
What types of documents do copy editors work on?
Whether your document is aimed at reporting to stakeholders, such as an annual report, winning new customers with compelling marketing materials, or winning a tender, bid or business award, a copy editor will help.
For instance, sometimes copy editors will edit draft documents written by experts who need to turn their words into persuasive and interesting material for non-experts.
Other times copy editors help marketing teams who want a bit more polish on their organisations’ documents.
It’s amazing how the fresh eyes of a copy editor bring a new perspective to a document. Even the most well-written content benefits from independent copy editing by someone outside of your organisation.
How do I choose a copy editor?
The Institute of Professional Editors is a good place to start when you’re looking for an excellent copy editor. Expert editors should be members of the IPEd, which offers many continuing education training to keep everyone’s skills up to date with changes, trends and technology. Proof Communications is a corporate member of IPEd.
Where do I go for copy editing help?
For support from our professional copy editing services in Australia, contact Proof Communications today or ring us on 02 8036 5532 or 04 11 123 216.
We’ll be happy to help you by copy editing your marketing, sales, business development and stakeholder communications. Our copy editors do this for many listed companies, government and SMEs and we’d love to help you, too.