Structural Editing

Developmental Editing



My nerdy passion and expertise lies in the last two parts of the content editing process.

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Are Copyediting and Proofreading Really That Important?

Though many people don't think too much of it, reviewing content to make sure it is easily readable and error-free can have a huge impact on how professional, knowledgeable, and trustworthy people think you or your company is.

Your writing is a reflection and a facet of you and your business. If your writing is riddled with mistakes, it can cause people to question how much you care about the quality of your work. If what you're saying is all over the place and you're not communicating your thoughts clearly, it may not be evident that you are a knowledgeable expert in your field.

As the first and often only way potential clients get to know you or your business, your copy may be the deciding factor that causes you to win or lose business.

Want more in-depth information about the importance of copyediting and proofreading? Check out this article I wrote that goes into more detail about some reasons why these services are so invaluable.

What Sort of Content Should Be Reviewed?

Anything and everything that is going to be published, sent, or printed for people to see outside of your immediate organization can benefit from copyediting and proofreading. I can put together a short list, but it is nowhere near comprehensive:

  • Website pages
  • Email campaigns
  • Project proposals
  • Billboards
  • Posters
  • Marketing slicks
  • Blog posts
  • Style guides
  • Contracts

Current and potential customers and clients are seeing what you're sending out. For all the reasons noted in the above section and more, you want all that content to be in tip top shape before it gets to them.

Which Service Do You Need?

Whether you need copyediting or proofreading services depends on how finalized your content is. If you're still in any part of the writing phase or feel like your content still needs some massaging, you are not quite ready for either of these services. The last two editing phases are to fix and perfect the details of content (reviewing sentence structure; suggesting better ways to write things; checking for grammar, spelling, consistency, etc.), not reorganize it or suggest major changes.

Once your content is finalized, that's when it needs copyediting. This is the stage where there are likely a good number of edits that need to be made or errors that need to be fixed. A copyeditor will be checking for consistent thoughts and tone of voice, readability, and smooth content flow. They will make sure your content follows any existing writing style guides or is at least consistent in stylistic choices.

Once the content has been copyedited, it is then ready to be proofread. At this stage, there should be little to no errors in your writing. Instead of looking at your writing on the sentence or paragraph level, a proofreader is looking at the little details, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It can also include ensuring that formatting is correct and that there are no broken links if applicable. They are essentially reviewing the final "proof" of your writing before it gets published, printed, or sent out.

Think of copyediting as a hairbrush; this is the time to brush out all the big "knots" (errors and inconsistencies) and make your writing smooth. Proofreading is more akin to a fine-tooth comb; this is the time to fix any small errors that the hairbrush may have missed. If there are too many errors, the fine-tooth comb would get stuck and you'd have to go back to using the hairbrush, which is exactly how it would work if a proofreader came across too many errors – they would send you back to a copyeditor.

You can read more about the differences between copyediting and proofreading in this other article I wrote!

Do You Really Need Both Services?

You may have noticed that everything a proofreader is looking for is already covered by the copyeditor, but that doesn't make proofreading any less important. A copyeditor has to focus on a lot of different things – their task is more of a big picture edit. Yes, they're also looking at the fine details, but with so much to think about and review, there's a good chance that they may miss some of those details.

That's why a proofreader focuses solely on the fine details at the word level. They are the last, fresh set of eyes to find anything that the copyeditor missed. A proofreader should not be looking for better ways to arrange your sentences or better words to use – they are simply there to correct.

The Short of It

Both copyediting and proofreading are important for whatever writing you are putting out there. I can provide either service, but you shouldn't hire me (or anyone else) for both since each stage requires a fresh set of eyes to catch anything the previous person might have missed.

If your content is ready to go but hasn't been reviewed for errors or inconsistencies or some of your sentences may need a little bit of massaging, you should hire a copyeditor.

If you simply need someone to check for any missed grammatical errors and typos, you should hire a proofreader.

Is it time to make sure you're sharing professional, mistake-free content?

Whether you're ready to work with me, need some more clarification on what services you'd best benefit from, or need more proof that I can get the job done, shoot me a message! No matter what, I'm excited that you see the benefits of error-free copy.