Gather round folks, I’m about to tell you a cautionary tale of why it pays to hire a copy editor.
Back in my heyday of being an executive assistant for an international management consulting firm, I recall being asked by a partner if I would mind proofreading a white paper produced by one of his project teams. Being the helpful sort of person I am, I agreed to add it to my to-do list for the day and waited for him to email me a copy of the document…
Unfortunately, the very first thing I saw when I opened that PDF was a glaring spelling mistake on the front cover of the white paper. D’oh!
I flagged this to the partner, who sheepishly admitted he hadn’t noticed that error on the front page – and neither had any of the project team, or the PR company that had completed the initial review.
As you can imagine, there was radio silence from all (except the partner) when I returned a scanned copy of the document with a fair few more instances of red underlining and scribbles than they were expecting!
The moral of the story is: it’s difficult to do your own copy editing because your attention to detail becomes less accurate the longer you spend invested in a piece of text. This is a common struggle that most business owners face (myself included), particularly when they create lots of content – but there’s no need to let errors get the better of you.
Here’s a list of 5 reasons to consider hiring a copy editor for your small business:
1. Two (or more) pairs of eyes are better than one pair
If you’re a busy solo entrepreneur or part of a micro team, it’s likely that your content will have only been seen by a few (if any) other people before it gets published.
Without a fresh pair of eyes, you increase the likelihood of missing a spelling mistake that might change the meaning of a sentence or lead to a misunderstanding – plus, there’s nothing more frustrating than noticing a mistake after sending out a newsletter!
2. You know what you mean – but others might not
Having your writing reviewed by an external party helps you remove your emotional attachment to your words. We have a tendency to assume that certain things make logical sense purely because it makes sense to us, but this definitely isn’t always the case…
3. They’ll save you time
This goes back to the overall question of how you value your time. Rather than spending your time pondering (or procrastinating) over how to phrase a particular concept, why not allow someone with a flair for words to help you with some suggestions?
That time you might spend agonising on wording or structure could be better spent elsewhere.
4. They’ll make sure you sound polished
Your copy editor will help you present yourself, your company, and your writing in the best light possible.
They’ll make sure your writing flows well, that it has accurate references, and that it’s a pleasure to read but without changing its substance. When your content is a pleasure to read, your audience will engage with it more – and they’ll be more likely to share it with your future potential clients.
5. It doesn’t cost as much as you think (and it’ll help increase your income in the long run)
According to the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), the current suggested minimum hourly rate for copy editing is between £30-£34 depending on the level of support you need. When you consider the income you’ll generate from your marketing materials, this is a small price to pay for peace of mind!
Marketing content filled with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors can be a big issue for businesses that want to maintain a polished and professional appearance.
However, ensuring that you avoid these minor mistakes doesn’t have to be an arduous task. By enlisting the services of a copy editor, you can rest assured there’ll be less chance of an error being sent out to your entire audience, making you look like an amateur.
So why not take the next step, and commit to your professional appearance by hiring a copy editor?