10 Reasons Why You Need a Copy Editor
“We made too many wrong mistakes.” – Yogi Berra
Why do I need a
a copy editor?
If you didn’t notice the mistake in the sentence above, then you have already seen one reason why you need a copy editor. If you still don’t see it, look at the sentence in a different format: Why do I need a a copy editor? Now you see it, don’t you? If your company produces any written or online materials you might want to consider some of the following reasons for adding a copy editor to your editorial process:
- Copy editors read differently – Most of us skip words when we read because we are reading for content. A copy editor reads every word … slowly! In spite of tools like spellcheck, using a copy editor is still the best way to make certain that your work is free of mistakes.
- Copy editors bring a new perspective – A fresh set of eyes is always a good idea. Writers are so familiar with their work that they can easily miss some mistakes that will be obvious to a new, objective view.
- Copy editors ensure consistency – A copy editor will ensure consistency in your work by helping you select/create a style guide. Whether you are writing marketing materials or the content of your website, there will be times when you have to decide which of two alternate spellings you prefer, or whether an abbreviation is acceptable. Once you have made those decisions and added them to your company’s style guide, the copy editor will be use the style guide to make sure that all subsequent texts are consistent with the guide.
- Copy editors check for accuracy – Does your text reference websites, phone numbers, or statistics that may change from year to year? Are there any calculations? A copy editor will check your references and do the math, if necessary!
- Copy editors ensure clarity – Using a copy editor will ensure that your text is clear and understandable for your audience. A copy editor will ask questions if the meaning is unclear and make sure that your understanding of the material is explained in the best way possible.
- Sometimes it’s okay to split an infinitive – You don’t need to be a grammarian to produce good written materials, so leave that to the copy editor.
- Bigger isn’t always better – Is your text bogged down with complex words, when simpler words will do the trick? You can rely on a copy editor to make suggestions to simplify your copy, while still conveying your message.
- Copy editors respect the author – A good copy editor can make suggestions to improve awkward language or structure without altering your writing style.
- Using a copy editor will save you time and money – Do you have the time to edit your own materials (even if you do, you shouldn’t) or do you expect someone else to do it in addition to their other job duties? Ensuring that your text is professional and well-written can save you the time and cost of correcting and reprinting materials that have already been published.
- Copy editors support your company’s commitment to excellence – Your company’s values are reflected in your written words. Are values such as quality, efficiency, accuracy, consistency, clarity, and professionalism important to you? A copy editor will make sure your words reflect those values.
Copy editing is needed for anything that you publish, be it marketing materials, technical manuals, website content, product/service documentation, training materials, etc. There is nothing more embarrassing then promoting yourself or your company with materials that are riddled with typos, grammar mistakes, inconsistencies and poor sentence structure. How can a potential customer expect that you will do quality work when the materials you publish do not live up to the same level of quality.
About the Author – Karen Feher is the resident copy editor for WhiteRock Business Solutions. In order to follow her own rule about not editing her own writing, she asked her daughter, a high school English teacher, to edit this piece! #copyediting #copymistakes
WhiteRock Business Solutions specializes in making businesses better from the inside out and serves as an interim COO or operations manager improving all aspects of business operations from overseeing day-to-day operations to implementing operational controls and procedures to improving business processes, to implementing systems and coaching and mentoring staff. WhiteRock turns business strategy into reality. WhiteRock is located in Orange County, California and can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net.