Editor’s Picks: Why Your Business Needs a Content Editor for the Purpose of Marketing
In July this year, President Trump visited the UK in a much protested trip that included, among all things, an inflatable baby caricature of Trump that was flown over Parliament Square, London and a campaign to try and get Green Day’s 2004 seminal hit song American Idiot to the top of the UK charts. Both of these stories were widely reported by publications around the world, but there’s one particular story that I’d like to focus on.
The Washington Post, an American publication that broke the Watergate scandal and the recipient of no less than 47 Pulitzer, covered the American Idiot campaign that cited an article written by Green Day vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong for Clickhole.com. The problem is, Clickhole.com is a satirical site operated by the same team behind The Onion and that article is literally fake news.
All references to Clickhole was eventually removed after a few hours but this being the internet, that embarrassing moment is forever enshrined through screen captures and social media. The moral of this story? If you’re in the business of creating contents, whether as a pure content creator or simply for content marketing, hire an editor, or even two for good measure.
The process of content editing and copy editing
In publishing terms, the editing process is usually divided into two, content editing and copy editing. Content editing mostly looks at the big picture, it analyzes what the piece is missing or doesn’t need and add or remove lines as necessary and reorganize and rewrite the piece to make it more presentable and interesting to the reader and corroborates any external sources. Content editing is more of a collaborative process with the editor guiding the writer on how to improve their writing.
Copy editing on the other hand, which for the purpose of this piece includes proofreading, is a mostly technical process. It looks at the actual words and detects any grammatical or spelling errors, improper word choices and miscellaneous formatting issues. Copy editing is an extremely laborious, yet equally important process. It is usually the final stage of evaluation content has to endure before being published.
Extolling the efficacy of editing
In content marketing, editors usually perform double duties as content managers as well. They give a guideline on what types of content to create and when to publish them. In this manner, they perform a supervisory role that guides you from before the content is created all the way to when they’re published. This way, your team of writers and content creators can focus on what they do best, which results in these benefits:
- Ensuring tonal consistency
If your company is in the business of creating contents, chances are you have a team of people with different personalities and style as your content creators. If it’s a blog where personal styling is encouraged, then that won’t be a problem but if those contents are to be published on behalf of the company, you want to ensure that they stay on the same page. This is where a content editor would come in handy.
Writing is inherently a creative process and for quite a number of people, it provides an avenue for an outpouring of personality. That in itself is not a bad thing but in the professional realm, that personality might have to be toned down a bit. A content editor could act as a filter, smoothing out or adjusting the personality to better fit the image the company is trying to portray.
- Ensuring that the message is properly conveyed to the readers
Continuing on from the point above, half of what it means to be a good writer is the ability to get your point across to the reader. Nobel Literature Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro succinctly described this idea as one person writing in a quiet room, trying to connect with another person, reading in another quiet – or maybe not so quiet – room. The problem of course is that one person’s way of connecting might be different from another, which might result in a literal case of lost in translation.
A content editor could serve as the bridge to this divide, making sure that the writer’s intended message is conveyed to the readers. If there’s a joke somewhere or a pop culture reference that seems ambiguous, content editor could ask the writer to clarify this. Irony and humor doesn’t always translate well into words and making sure that the proper context is added to the writing is why your business needs a content editor.
- As a form of quality control
Last but not least, and directly referencing the incident that inspired this piece, both content and copy editor is there to ensure that your writing is always up to standards. It is an inescapable truth that we live in a era where every single mistake we made is scrutinized and amplified to a deafening volume. Good writing barely gets a thumbs-up while silly mistakes and blunders are forever immortalized in viral news sites and online message boards.
Content editors could fact check and corroborate sources while copy editors do the often thankless job of cleaning up your messes. On a good day, the hard work that those people are doing might not be noticeable but on a bad day, writers around the world are forever grateful for the fact that their latest typo is caught before going the way of covfefe and making an appearance on a Twitter trending topic.
Technically, you could simply assign your writer to perform all of these functions themselves but this is not advised. Self-editing might be okay for copy editing but content editing requires an objective mind. Just like how doctors and nurses are the worst patients, a writer isn’t to be trusted to edit their own work. Besides, forcing them to edit their own work can take time and focus away from what they should be doing in the first place, making great contents for your company.