How to Better Your Content With a Copy Editor

January 7, 2022
Téa Liarokapi

The copy editing profession is not a new concept in the publishing sector. Still, it could be considered new when it comes to other businesses that create and curate content, primarily written content.

A copy editor is a much-needed addition to a marketing team – especially when talking about the creative aspect of marketing – as copy editing helps professionals craft unique pieces of segmented content that can resonate with audiences on a one-on-one basis.

A copy editor’s job is to make a brand’s content better, and, since the devil is in the details, a good copy editor’s skills lie in the perfect use of English – or the preferred language -, the ability to proofread extensive forms of copy and improve its readability, and good communication skills.

But let’s get a little more specific.

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Do you need a copy editor?

In marketing, copy editors are essential for a variety of things that have to do with copy and content and the way everything is combined.

A digital marketing action – whether we’re talking about a social media campaign, a paid ad, or an email newsletter campaign – needs perfect design, targeting to get the message across, and expert copy.

In an email newsletter campaign, for example, your email design is just as important as your email copy, which, in turn, is just as important as your brand’s tone and your style guides. A copy editor can make sure all these elements are tied together.

Therefore, a copy editor is a person whose work goes beyond pinpointing and editing basic grammatical and syntactical errors that will make the result error-free. Their work also involves making necessary changes in copy, tone, writing style, or rewriting content in a way that will showcase the brand’s personality and how it can tie in with their target audience.

This is quite important because:

Statistics on why consumers unfollow brands on social media

(Image Source)

As you can see, irrelevant content can make users stop following your brand, and in the overly populated social media world, this is not something brands can afford.

Copy editing and segmented content

Apart from the content’s readability, syntax, and sentence structure, ensuring the perfect reading experience as a copy editor has a lot to do with segmentation. Again, this goes for all digital marketing actions.

Content that is relevant and can elicit an emotional response from your audience is paramount, as readers will consider it to be high-value, authoritative, and something that stems from their action and provides a real solution to a real problem.

This is why copy editors need to be familiar with their target audience, its pain points, and individual interests.

Tying all elements together is something a copy editor can’t do without understanding the user’s behavior, especially if their niche is not hyper-specific and can provide services for all types of industries.

For example, an email marketing and marketing automation platform can provide services to a wide variety of industries that can range from other SaaS platforms to small businesses, eCommerce stores, dropshippers, travel agencies, coffee shops, or even larger ventures. The diversity of the audience makes creating non-segmented content that will be beneficial for eCommerce marketing alone and presenting digital campaigns that would push that content to coffee shop owners or real estate agents would be redundant.

Copy editors need to follow the brand’s stylebook and tone and segment the audience accordingly, as much as they follow perfect sentence structure and syntax, especially when doing substantive editing.

A copy editor’s tasks – how are proofreaders different?

A copy editor’s work is so complex because some tasks, like proofreading, could overlap with the tasks of other members of the marketing and copywriting teams.

For example, a copywriter is responsible for the creation of targeted messages, a designer is responsible for putting a “face to a name” and creating compelling visuals, and a proofreader is there to make sure the copy is spotless.

The first thing a copy editor will look for is errors in the text itself. So, corrections in grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation are their responsibility. The main idea behind this is that a proofreader needs to receive content that will need a few basic edits.

The editing process will ensure that a proofreader will know what seems to be an error – for example, an inversion or missing punctuation in the form of a punchline – and what actually is an error that needs to be addressed.

After creating potless copy, ensuring that the flow is correct is within a copy editor’s job description. If, for example, you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and resources in your blog, as well as blog tools and a dedicated team of writers, making sure your blog posts flow well and are easy to read is of great importance.

That is a copy editor’s job, as they can be objective about and ensure the flow of the blog post – or your brand’s marketing messages in general – is not confusing to the reader since they’re readers themselves and not the message’s creator.

Of course, the flow of your marketing message needs to be consistent as well as easy to read. A copy editor will ensure your brand’s tone of voice is consistent and evident throughout your online – or offline – presence.

For example, a publishing house’s online presence can’t differ from that of its brick-and-mortar store’s, and that includes product descriptions, prices – unless we’re talking about online deals -, and even decoration.

Another essential task of a copy editor is fact-checking. Nobody wants to see content that doesn’t stem from a specific user action and doesn’t resonate with them, but reading “fake news” or content that doesn’t stem from factual evidence – provided it’s non-fiction, of course – could be even worse.

Also, according to Forbes, “U.S. respondents found fake news to be more of a threat than terrorism“. No brand would like to jeopardize its well-being because they didn’t fact-check or create a piece of work that makes no sense.

But what does a copy editor do that is different from what a proofreader is called to do? In theory, a proofreader also needs to copy edit line-by-line, fact-check, and ensure the content is perfect.

Their main difference is that a proofreader won’t need to check for every single detail, as they’re the ones who have a more “manual” role. After all, a proofreader is the last person to check the copy before it is incorporated into the brand’s marketing message and ready to go live.

So, a copy editor’s work is more complex and they’re the ones to ensure that a proofreader will only need to check for missing commas or spell checking.

And if we’re talking about the case of an email newsletter campaign, a landing page, or a website, a proofreader is the one to make sure that the final product is perfect and ready for your audience to receive. That includes broken text or websites that are loading slowly because of the elements used.

The copy editing tips to know and follow

Up to this point, we’ve explained what a copy editor does and why they’re necessary for any brand and marketing team. But how can copy editors work more efficiently?

First of all, a copy editor needs to be aware of their deadlines and how to work around those without compromising their work. It’s important for copy editors to take breaks and gain a fresh perspective on the content they’re editing and how it aligns with current marketing trends.

Secondly, copy editors need to make necessary cuts and save content for different purposes. If there’s a statistic, a paragraph, or a design that doesn’t work with your brand’s current goals, you can always let the copywriter know that they could save the material and use it elsewhere. Excessive content doesn’t mean low-quality content.

A copy editor also needs to be super specific on what their audience needs and what the goals of their marketing team are and work towards achieving those goals. To achieve those goals, they need to create specific copy that resonates with the audience and has a sense of urgency.

Lastly, copy editors need to make sure there is no room for mistakes or excessive questions when it comes to their edits. What they need to do is to ensure that all audiences understand the marketing message. Brands could use surveys or quizzes in the early stages of their digital marketing campaigns to achieve that, and copy editors could study the data and make sure their edits are spot-on as they go along.

The takeaway

When it comes to copy editing, a dedicated team can make all the difference and ensure your content works for your audience as well as your brand.

After all, a copy editor is a role that is paramount in all businesses that create and curate content, whether we’re talking about digital agencies or prestigious publishing houses.

And as mentioned in the beginning, the devil is in the details, so make sure to invest in tools and processes that can streamline the copy editor’s work and give you outstanding results.

Téa Liarokapi
Téa Liarokapi is a Senior Content Writer for Moosend, an email marketing and marketing automation platform, and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas - and cats - to play with.

About the Author

Téa Liarokapi
Téa Liarokapi is a Senior Content Writer for Moosend, an email marketing and marketing automation platform, and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas - and cats - to play with.