My copywriter blog

What is copy editing and why do you need it?

by | Copy editing, Copywriting

When your words shine, you shine too. Here is the secret to polished copy your audience wants to read

Do you want to know the secret to polished copy your audience wants to read?

Picture this. You put together an article, report or an email. You have an objective your words need to fulfil.

But if your copy contains awkward phrases or monotonous sentences, your reader might stumble through it and lose interest along the way.

Also, if your copy contains grammar and spelling mistakes, it’s possible you’ll lose credibility and your reader’s trust.

Beyond that, if you use complicated words, you might alienate your reader. Because your reader might not understand the message, you are trying to get across.

At this point, you realise the importance of copy editing.

Let me explain.

What is copy editing?

Copy editing is the process of correcting, revising, and adapting a text, such as an article, email or report in preparation for publishing.

Both the writer and the reader benefit from the end result.

What is copy editing not?

Copy editing is not proofreading, which involves meticulously combing a piece of work for grammar, spelling and typographical errors. Also, a check to ensure a document conforms to style guides.

Why is copy editing necessary?

When you write, it’s easy to dart from idea to idea. As a result, the crucial parts of your message can end up buried under the weight of excessive text.

Copy editing helps you to arrange your thoughts. More importantly, it helps you to place information in a way that draws readers in and most compellingly, take an interest in your message.

What does copy editing involve?

When you copy edit, you polish and refine your text. To do this, you eliminate repetitions and make revisions to paragraph structure, sentence structure, readability, tone and flow.

At the same time, you check spelling and grammar.

Consider this. When you trim nonessential words, you draw your readers’ attention to the essential points.

To put it another way, you make your words enjoyable to read and give the reader the information it wants to have.

My point is this. Copy editing improves the clarity, logic and flow of your writing so that it makes sense to your readers.

What’s more, your writing will appeal, because it’s in keeping with your desired tone of voice.

A word of caution

Don’t start copy editing until you’ve put your first draft down on paper.

Why is this so? Copy editing as you go slows you down. And in any case, once you’ve completed the first draft, you’ll have to edit it again.

It’s pretty obvious once you think about it.

Then, once you’ve completed your copy editing exercise, you’ll bring clarity to your thoughts and ensure your voice is clear.

Better still, the more you copy edit, the more confidence you’ll have in the end result.

Here’s how you copy edit

You can choose to copy edit digitally using track changes on a computer.

Or you can do it the old fashioned, yet highly effective way, by printing off your text and marking it up.

The bottom line is this

When you copy edit, you remove barriers between the reader and the writer.

As a result, your frictionless content will fulfil the promise that it makes.

Most importantly, your professional, relevant and well-organised words will help you to attract and establish a loyal following.

And isn’t that what you want?

And finally

If you’d like help with copy editing, drop me a line, and we’ll set up a time to chat.

Claire Hawes, Copywriter and owner of The Content Boutique

About Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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