It’s no secret I love to write. And I’m a logophile (for further explanation, see here). It’s also not much of a secret that I’m a wee bit (read: over-the-top and out-of-control) of an English language fanatic. And it goes WAY beyond correct spelling, proper use of grammar, sentence structure, and insistent, unwavering use of the oxford comma (I will fight you if you say it’s not a thing). So it should come as no surprise people frequently ask me to take the proverbial red pen to their papers, letters, proposals, resumes…you name it.
Confession: I’m not only good at it, I really enjoy it. Crazy English/grammar standards notwithstanding, I like to think I also possess a talent for being able to edit and elevate someone’s material without completely erasing their own unique voice and tone. Side note: the irony is not lost on me that I am finally circling back to my degree which, up to this point, has been rather underutilized in my chosen lines of work (BBA in Marketing). I’m not just editing work, I’m creating it. I am a copywriter. What does that look like? It’s proofreading, copy editing, content editing, and creating copy. For some further explanation and pricing, see below. (Hint: “copy” is just industry speak for written material.)
Anyone else having flashbacks to high school English?
When proofreading, I’ll be examining your content and looking for any typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling.
If you know you’ve got good content, are satisfied with your writing style, and just need an extra pair of eyes to make sure it’s all buttoned up, this is what you’re looking for.
Let’s talk about copy editing first. This is essentially a step up from proofreading. I’m checking for all those same things, but I’m also looking at consistency, sentence structure, choice of words, formatting, etc. Basically, I’m not only looking for errors, but also correcting the language of the text.
If copy editing is looking at how you’re saying something, think of content editing as looking at what you’re saying. If it’s non-fiction, is it factual, consistent, and free from contradictions? In fiction, I’m looking for plot holes, errors or discrepancies in plot/story lines, and discrepancies across characters and dialogue.
If you have written content (articles, papers, books, blogs, etc), and you’re needing a bit more of a scrutinizing view, this is what you’re wanting.
My guess is I don’t really need to explain what “creating copy” means, but I will anyway. Just for kicks and giggles.
This is when, you guessed it, I’m the one actually writing the content. This could be in the form of a blog post, online article, resume, a paper…you get the idea. Your job is to supply the purpose and intended audience, resources, guidelines, formatting parameters, any necessary research, and/or any other information I need, and my job is to transform the “stuff” into an articulate, intelligent, and fabulous piece of written material.