Let me tell you a cautionary tale of why it pays to consider hiring a copy editor.
During my time as an exec assistant at an international consultancy, I remember a Partner asking me to go over a white paper one of his teams created. 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 the PDF was a glaring spelling mistake on the front cover of the white paper. Oops!
I flagged this to the Partner, who sheepishly admitted he hadn’t noticed the error on the front page – and neither had any of the project team nor the PR agency 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 tiny team, few (if any) people will see your content before it goes live.
This lack of feedback means it’s easy to miss a 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!
But, if you have your copy professionally edited, your editor will give you the confidence that you won’t be sending out any rookie mistakes to your entire audience.
2. You know what you mean – but others might not!
When we write, we naturally assume that the reader understands what we’re talking about. However, this isn’t always the case.
Having your writing reviewed by an external party helps you remove your emotional attachment to your words. It also helps you identify gaps in your explanations or confusing words.
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 will make sure your writing flows well, that it has accurate references, and that it’s a pleasure to read without changing its substance. When your content reads well, your audience will engage with it more – and they’ll be more likely to share it with your future prospects.
5. It doesn’t cost as much as you think (and it’ll help increase your income in the long run)
For businesses to look sharp, they have to be careful about typos and grammar in their marketing – otherwise, it sends the wrong message. But avoiding these little errors doesn’t have to be hard.
According to the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), the current suggested minimum hourly rate for copy editing is between £30-£42, 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!