This Guide will enable you to:
Everyone needs an editor. No matter how talented a writer or content creator is, there’s virtually no instance in which their work won’t benefit from a second set of eyes, some objective questioning and and, ultimately, some improvements.
Anyone can publish content online with just a few clicks, and the editing process is often overlooked, forgotten, ignored or simply deemed unnecessary. As a result, the internet is flooded with poorly written, confusing and inconsistent content that’s falling short of its potential.
The good news is that this presents a growing opportunity for well-edited content to shine. As competition for online attention continues to intensify, “good enough” is no longer good enough. Audiences increasingly demand high-quality, concise and engaging content from the sites they visit, and if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll simply move on to the next search result to get what they need. Robust editing can go a long way in ensuring high-quality output.
Good editing is fast becoming an important search engine optimization (SEO) consideration, too. Search engines have become far more sophisticated in their understanding of user behavior in recent years, meaning poorly-edited content now presents a significant risk of negatively impacting its discoverability.
Some writers and content types benefit from editing more than others. Some of the best journalists, storytellers and creative minds in the world struggle with writing and lean on developmental editors to help them synthesize and organize their ideas effectively, while others are great at expressing and structuring their ideas, but benefit from copy editors to add extra clarity and punch to their work. Even veteran writers and editors who have mastered their craft have blind spots that should be checked with a quick edit, especially after spending hours working closely on a project.
Brand publishing operations should think about the following facets of editing:
- Different types of editing are required. Content editing relates specifically to the content of a piece of writing. It evaluates the information included in a written piece of work, and the way it’s structured and presented to the reader, at a high level. Structural and stylistic editing goes a level deeper than content editing to examine and improve the organization, clarity and “flow” of the piece. This can also be where brand-related elements can be checked, added or enhanced. The final step of the editing process is copy editing and proofreading.
- Structuring an editing process effectively can mean mixing and matching various editing types depending on the content itself as well as the resources available. This includes setting the right expectations for writers.
- Giving feedback to writers effectively and efficiently is perhaps the most overlooked part of the editing process. How feedback is given can affect the end product as well as relationships between team members.
This Guide will walk through the various types of editing above, as well as how to structure an editing process in a way that keeps momentum and clarifies expectations, ensuring a healthy relationship between editors and writers, while also creating the best work possible.
Types of editing
Editing is often thought of as a single discipline, but in actuality, it encompasses a range of practices and procedures, each serving their own purpose and striving toward a different intended outcome.
For the purposes of most brand publishing operations, there are three key types of editing that can be easily defined, built into publishing workflows and, ultimately, used to greatly improve the quality and consistency of their output: (1) content editing, (2) structural and stylistic editing and (3) proofreading and copy editing.