Good to great

Content's best friend: the editor

A generally accepted principle in writing – regardless of whether it is technical, creative or non-fiction – is that a writer should never edit their own work. But why? The person who wrote the words will have checked it for errors, right? That’s correct – in most cases, they will have checked it, perhaps several times. But because they are so familiar with what they have written, their (by now weary) eye often skips right over typographical errors, inconsistencies, repetition and other shortcomings in their text. And that only applies to errors the author, if they hadn’t read it 50 times already, would normally pick up!

Editors are writers who, to be honest, don’t do a lot of writing. The editor’s role is to review other’s work with a dispassionate and frank gaze, and to craft it into the very best it can be, without changing the essential flavour – or facts – of the original text.

Depending on variables such as the skill of the author, whether the writing needs to conform to an organisation’s style and where it will ultimately be published, a piece of writing may require anything from a ‘quick and flick’ copy edit, to, in consultation with the author, more radical and considered surgery so that the text achieves its objectives.

Skilled editors are diplomats: it comes with the territory. They understand that a piece of writing may have been lovingly crafted by an author who will jealously guard every comma and full stop and is sceptical about the need for an editor. They’re the expert, right? Experienced editors know how to get around roadblocks like this to gain cooperation and buy-in from invested authors to achieve the improvements necessary to make the text shine.

Editors are fast learners – if you have a style guide or house style, our editors will pick it up and apply it faster than you can say ‘no italics’! Their mission in life is to apply established standards so that an organisation’s content is always consistent, correct and user friendly. And as your staff become accustomed to working with an editor, you’ll find, in most cases, they’ll develop an interest in producing higher quality written output themselves.

An editor is an integral member of any writing team tasked with producing content that is professional, polished, consistent and error-free.

Why not take one for a spin today?

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