We’ve all heard the saying ‘quality, not quantity’, but what does this mean when it comes to your content?
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Ensuring that your written content is consistently accurate and of high quality has a big impact on your reputation – whether you’re a business, a brand or an individual. I’ve seen countless examples of people being put off by bad grammar or simple typos (many of which are very amusing, but not good for business). In a world full of scammers trying to separate you from your money, projecting a professional and trustworthy image is crucial. From a consumer’s perspective, if you can’t get something as basic as spelling correct, you can’t be a trustworthy business.
SO, DO I NEED AN EDITOR?
But does this mean that you need to hire an editor? You might think that I, as a freelance editor, would respond with a vehement “yes!”, but that’s not necessarily the right answer. An editor will always be beneficial for your content, whatever sector you work in. Some business owners will think that editors are reserved for novelists, and some authors will think that they are capable of editing their own work, but a professional editor will always be able to increase the value and quality of your content.
A good editor can elevate your written content by identifying the elements of your story that will engage your target audience. However, hiring an editor is an investment in your business (even as a book author) and should be treated as such. There are some situations where you should wait before bringing on an editor. In this post, I want to break down some cases where hiring an editor too early might not be the best use of your resources.
WHEN TO HIRE AN EDITOR
Anyone who wants professional, quality written content should explore hiring an editor. An editor is trained to correct hard-to-spot errors, navigate obscure grammatical rules, and ensure you’re engaging your target audience.
People have a fairly two-dimensional concept of an editor’s role and what they do. This leads some people to think that they can do an editor’s role themselves, but a professional is trained to correct many different elements in one piece of writing. An example of this is ensuring consistency throughout, whether this is within one self-contained post or story or across several posts or a series of books. For example, if you have multiple platforms and post across different social media outlets you should have a sense of consistency throughout; this includes the tone of voice, style of writing, and specific grammatical and style choices. Many of my editorial services are specifically designed to tackle this matter. An editor hired to work with you on a recurrent basis can ensure that your messaging is consistently presented to your consumer, cementing a distinctive brand image and instilling trust in your business.
Even if you are confident in your writing ability, your content will benefit from a fresh pair of eyes reviewing it. This is crucial for spotting those pesky typos that the writer is likely to miss because they’ve spent so long staring at the content: since they know what it’s meant to say, they lose the ability to spot mistakes.
Furthermore, an editor can assess the clarity of your writing. Your words will make sense to you because you know what you’re trying to say. However, someone else reading your words might come away with a different message entirely. An editor can approach your work from an objective perspective, ensuring it makes sense and conveys your intended meaning.
Sometimes, you’ll want an editor with specialist knowledge to help fact-check your content. My work on Blockchain Live’s blog, On the Block, relied on my basic knowledge of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, you might be concerned that your content is confusing for readers with little or no prior knowledge of your topic, in which case an editor without specialist knowledge would be beneficial.
WHEN YOU SHOULDN'T HIRE AN EDITOR
Well, it depends on who you are, what your goal for your content is, and what kind of budget you have. No two writers, businesses or bloggers are the same, so each will have varying needs when it comes to their content.
If you’re writing a novel, there’s no point in hiring an editor before you’ve gone through the manuscript a few times yourself to try and tidy up the plot, structure, and any glaring errors. You’d also be wise to wait to hire an editor until you’re sure that you want to take your novel further and begin investing money, as well as time, into it.
There are some people who want to publish their book for themselves and their loved ones and aren’t interested in selling it: in this case, I’d recommend not hiring an editor unless you’re truly willing and able to spend the money with no chance of getting it back. If you decide it’s the right time to hire an editor but you only have a small budget, you might choose to only have one level of editing, such as proofreading, rather than pay for multiple edits for your content.
Similarly, if you’re a business, there’s no point in hiring an editor until you have a content plan with a clear goal, such as converting views to sales or increasing brand visibility.
No matter what you're writing, your content will always benefit from an editor's work. However, when you start paying for professional help, be clear on why you're spending money and what you hope to gain from this investment. Know what you want to gain from your written content and, remember, timing is everything: ensure you are in a position to make the most of the editorial services you purchase. The type of editing you require will depend on the needs of your content and your aim in publishing it (more on this here).
If you have a project that is ready to be edited, why not find out how I can help you?