Grammar Rules

Copy Editing 101

copyediting 101 Copy editing is the process of improving the formatting, style, and accuracy of the text. This is different from proofreading, which looks as spelling and grammar errors and corrects just spelling and grammar errors. Copy editing involves making sure that the facts states are correct and properly cited, that the entire article is understandable from start to finish, that words are used appropriately, among other things. Copy editing is very important for blogs and online publications, which often don't have a dedicated person to assess each article in this way. Here's an introduction to copy editing and a brief overview of what needs to be done when checking your blog posts or articles for formatting, style, and accuracy.

The Five C's of Copy Editing

When evaluating the formatting, style, and accuracy of the article, there are five "C's" that need to be examined. It's important that your article has each of the following before it's published. To evaluate this, you need to ask certain questions and make the necessary changes. The five "C's" are:

  1. Clear - Is there anything in the article that could be confusing, such as acronyms, sources, locations, references, words etc? Is there a better word or a better way to say something? If in doubt, ere on the side of caution and do what it takes to make it clear.
  2. Correct - Are the facts correct? Do people have their names spelled correctly? Do they have the right titles associated with them? Are statistics cited and stated correctly?
  3. Concise - If a sentence is 10 words long, can it be said in eight or seven without changing the meaning? Are there words and/or sentences that are redundant? Are there words and/or sentences that don't provide any meaning or value to the overall paragraph or article, and can be removed?
  4. Comprehensible - Can the article be understood from start to finish? Does it use any industry jargon that needs to be defined or explained? Is the information organized in a way that is logical and easy to follow?
  5. Consistent - Are things like tone, perspective, and the spellings or proper nouns the same throughout the entire article? Does the article fit your brand and the topics that your blog/online publication covers?

Why Copy Editing is Important

Copy editing is important for any blog or online publication because it is the last defense against bad writing and serious mistakes that could end up hurting your credibility. Instead of publishing an article that is confusing, or has a factual error in it, taking the time to edit the copy in this fashion can prevent those mistakes from getting published. You don't necessarily need to have a person dedicated to copy editing the way that newspapers and magazines do, but taking this extra step will set you apart from the rest. Everyone understands that your articles need to have correct spelling, great grammar, and need to be original. However, not everyone understands the difference clear, concise formatting makes to an article, or the difference in quality when industry terms are properly explained or when the best words are used.

Of course, copy editing saves you from embarrassing headlines and text fillers that shouldn't have gone live in the first place. It also provides an extra set of eyes to catch mistakes, or simply allows one more run through of an article before it goes live. Sure, it's a digital world where things need to get published quickly and where mistakes can be changed without everyone knowing that the mistake was made in the first place.

Hopefully, you want to be better than everyone else. Copy editing is a way to do that because hardly anyone else is paying attention.

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Why are Writing Companies Good for Small Businesses?

why writing companies are goodWhen folks hear the words "writing company", they may think of things like article writing companies or essay writing companies; entities that don't have the best reputation. However, a writing company isn't just a content mill creating mediocre articles or a service designed to do homework for college students. Writing companies are also content marketing firms and blogging agencies that knows what it means to produce great blog posts and web content, that are much more than machines manufacturing words for SEO purposes. They can bring enormous value to a small business that needs help with content creation. Here are a few reasons why writing companies are good for small businesses:

Most Small Businesses Aren't in the Business of Writing

That's an obvious one, but a small business has a lot of writing to get done, no matter the industry. Sales letters, newsletters, social media updates, web content, lead nurturing emails, are just a few of the things that a small business would need to write as part of normal operations. Not to mention the heftier projects like a business blog, eBooks, white papers, and case studies. We're not saying that a small business can't accomplish all that, but unless that small business is a writing company or has a few people on staff to write all these things, a writing company can help a small business to produce quality content.

Marketing is Much More than Content

Some small businesses might say that they already have a marketing person or two on staff, and that's enough to handle the business' writing needs. It might be, but marketing is much more than writing this blog post or composing that Facebook update, and your marketing staff could be swamped as it is. In fact, it typically takes a small business between one and three hours to write a blog post, which is a huge time suck considering all the other duties your marketing person/staff has to do (working with customers, following up with opportunities, create marketing plans, designing marketing campaigns, track those campaigns). Sure, you might not have a whole lot of writing that needs to get done, but marketing people sure have a lot that needs to get done. A writing company helps take the load off as well as allow you company to experiment with different types of marketing content.

Writing Companies Focus on the Writing

Like the marketing person/staff, small businesses have a lot to deal with. It can be tough to find the time to write a blog post or to create that ad for the newspaper when you also have customers to help, phone calls to take, accounting to worry about, inventory to track, and employees to manage. So, why not leave that stuff to a writing company that can not only do the job well, so that you can focus on the customers or on business operations? This way, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief, as its one less thing they have to worry about, making it easier to do all those other duties, and to do them better. Even your marketing person or staff would appreciate the extra help.

Overall, writing companies are good for small businesses because writing companies can take the time to write great content and to tell the story of your company, while leaving you the business. After all, most small businesses didn't get started so they could write blog posts or emails or newsletter articles all day, every day. Leave all that to a business who did.