Editors are a vital part of any business that writes anything down, in print or on the web. As it turns out, that’s most businesses. Not convinced that editing is important? Trust me: nobody likes it when there words and grammar ain’t good. (See? That was horrendous, and I apologize.) But having an editor on staff, or employing an editing team, doesn’t always fit into a company’s budget. If there’s no room in the budget for your own staff of editors, contract and freelance editors offer several benefits and could be the solution you’re looking for.
Editing: Kind of a Big Deal
If my example sentence in the previous paragraph wasn’t enough to convince you, there is plenty of evidence that editing is crucial for businesses. Content that is poorly written or riddled with errors can give your company a bad reputation.
At best, it looks like the content was written quickly; at worst, it looks like either carelessness or a lack of expertise. Either way, a bad reputation doesn’t inspire trust, confidence or motivation in the reader. Even something as minor as a spelling mistake can mean the difference between a shopper and a stopper: a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. This unfortunate side effect of inadequate editing costs companies millions in lost opportunities.
Friends Don’t Let Friends DIY Edit
Editing your own writing is kind of like being your own lawyer. Lots of people think they could do it, but it’s much harder than it looks. (It has long been said that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.) This is because editing your own work is far harder than editing someone else’s—it’s actually extremely challenging, even for excellent writers. Usually, editing your own work results in missing mistakes, even obvious ones, simply because you know what you meant when you wrote the words. As a result, you are much more likely to skim over your own typographical errors and grammatical mistakes than another reader would be. An editor, on the other hand, offers a set of fresh eyes, a fresh perspective, and grammatical and stylistic knowledge you just don’t have. If your company maintains a blog, is adding content to its website, sends emails or communicates with other people through text (hint: that’s most companies), you should consider hiring an editor.
What Contract Editors Can Offer
Editors are people who make their living dissecting, polishing and bolstering language, so they know what they’re doing. Just as a doctor is well versed in human anatomy, editors are well versed in syntax, grammar, and all things writing. They are professionals: many have degrees in English and years of experience (not to mention very worn copies of The Chicago Manual of Style). If you aren’t interested in hiring full-time editors, contract or freelance editors are the next best thing.
In addition to their wealth of knowledge, contract and freelance editors also offer other benefits. One of these benefits is that working with contract employees allows you to cut overhead costs by eliminating the cost of supplies, a full-time salary, and the kind of benefits offered to full employees. Contract and freelance editors also offer much more flexibility; you can hire contractors only when you need them, which saves both time and money. Hiring contract editors may even help save the company money: hiring freelancers (for editing or otherwise) can cut company costs by at least half.
What In-House Editors Bring to the Table
Though many companies, particularly those that are small or just starting out, can’t afford to hire an in-house editing staff, companies with a large budget may benefit from an editor being just a cubicle away. This works best when there is a large volume of work to be edited; if there isn’t much to edit, or the work is inconsistent, in-house staff might spend more time twiddling their thumbs than polishing verbiage.
But if the work load is significant, the benefits can be as well. An in-house editing staff can offer expertise, plenty of availability for face-to-face communication, and a deep knowledge of the company that freelancers typically don’t have. Editing is good for more than just blog posts and white papers! An in-house editor can also go over important emails to investors or clients, talking points for an interview with the CEO, and the text on the company website. With in-house editors you’ll never have to worry about an embarrassing typo in an important document. (If you’ve ever written “Have a good die,” you know what I’m talking about.)
Your Friendly Neighborhood Red Pen
While it’s tough to edit your own writing, you may not need to make a new hire—there might already be an editor in your midst. It’s entirely possible that someone on your staff is a word nerd who would be only too happy to rid the company’s missives of typos and bad grammar. (We’re all over the place: check for tattoos of punctuation marks or strong opinions on Helvetica.) If you don’t find a grammarian among your number and you need help with editing, consider bringing in a professional. Whether you hire a contract editor or a whole in-house editorial team, you’ll be glad you did.
Interested in hiring a contract editor, but not sure if you have enough work to keep them busy? Just looking to edit one or two things? Content Runner could be able to help. Contact us and we’ll see how we can work together to give your content the edge it needs.