Have you heard of ‘copywriters’, ‘copyeditors’ and ‘proofreaders’ but you’re not sure exactly what it is they do? It might be worth finding out.
Because if you produce any written work at all – as an independent writer, for an organisation, or for your small business – these writing and editing professionals really can make a big difference to your content and your credibility.
Finding the right professional for you
So, when you need support with your writing, which kind of professional is the right fit for your project?
I run a small business or represent an organisation and I need someone to write creative text for my website and/or marketing materials.
You need a COPYWRITER.
A great copywriter will craft text for you that persuades your readers to buy or engage with what’s on offer. They will be creative, have an excellent range of vocabulary and understand what motivates people.
The work a copywriter does is quite different to the tasks involved when editing a piece of writing, but some copywriters also offer proofreading and editing services.
I’m working on a longer writing project and I need someone to help me with the content and structure.
You need an EDITOR / COPYEDITOR.
The content and structure of every type of text are important, and this is especially true if you’re working on a longer project.
If you’re an independent author writing a book, it can be a great idea to invest in a developmental (or structural) editor. Your editor will point out any issues with the content of your work, how it’s organised, and if anything is missing. They will also offer suggestions on how to improve your project.
If you’re working on a different type of project, a copyeditor may be the right person to help. Traditionally, a copyeditor focuses on the mechanics of the language you’ve used – that’s things like grammar, spelling and punctuation. However, many copyeditors also focus on aspects such as style, tone and organisation, especially outside of book publishing.
I’ve written a text and need some help to make sure I’ve used the right tone, style and sentence structure for my audience.
You need a COPYEDITOR.
The traditional role of a copyeditor doesn’t involve checking style and tone, but many copyeditors will do this alongside their checks for correct and consistent use of language. This is a crucial stage in making sure that your text is fit for purpose and is applicable to all types of writing.
For book authors, you might prefer to search for a line editor, who will focus on how each sentence fits with the rest. Line editors do not usually check grammar, spelling and punctuation, so be prepared to hire a separate copyeditor for that stage.
My writing project is complete but I want to make sure there are no errors in it before I publish.
You need a PROOFREADER.
Your proofreader is the last person to check your text before you publish. Even if you’ve had your work copyedited, it’s still worthwhile having a proofreader take a look at it. They will pay very close attention to your use of grammar, spelling and punctuation to make sure there are no errors or inconsistencies.
A fully-trained proofreader will also check each aspect of the layout of your work to make sure everything looks as it should before publishing.
Since your proofreader is not concerned with the content and style of your writing, they are able to support you with the final quality control check of a wide variety of projects. Some examples include:
- website copy
- books (fiction or non-fiction)
- academic papers
- important business letters/emails
- training materials
- instruction manuals
- blog posts
- articles for a newsletter
- official documents
Working with multiple writing and editing professionals and sticking to your budget
Did more than one of the scenarios above apply to you? It’s not unusual to need support during multiple stages of your work.
In fact, if your time and budget allow, it’s a wise choice to invest in someone with the right expertise to support you at each stage of writing and editing. Text crafted by a copywriter can benefit from being copyedited, and EVERY text can benefit from a proofread!
If money (or time) don’t allow for support from more than one professional, one option might be to ask a copyeditor or proofreader to complete a ‘proof-edit’. This basically means that they will do both light copyediting and proofreading of your writing.
If your project is already in its final format, take care when choosing someone for this job. Copyeditors who don’t also offer proofreading services may not be as diligent when it comes to checking the layout of your work. Likewise, proofreaders who have no experience in editing may not be as skilled at suggesting minor changes to improve your style or tone.
Whatever your situation, getting support from a professional with your written content is a great investment to make. It will give you more confidence that what you’re communicating is polished, precise and professional.
More on getting support on a budget next time. For now, thanks for reading!