How to Improve Content Through Professional Copy Editing

Do you need to know how to copy edit?

Professional copy editing can cost a lot of money so if you can do some if not all of the work yourself you can save yourself some money and also the embarrassment of using poorly worded copy. Sales copy for use on your website or even in a magazine or even for a leaflet needs to perfectly written; if it is not the reader will compare your product or service to the quality of the writing. After all if you cannot take care with your writing will you be able to take care with your products? Poorly written copy or copy that contains errors can cause significant levels of lost sales so it is vital to proofread and edit your copy to get it perfect.

Learning how to copy edit

Being able to copy edit is not too difficult if you are willing to take your time and you have a good eye for detail. More often than not however it is best not to edit or proofread your own work. We are all too familiar with what we have written to spot errors and also to see where things could be worded better. However the following simple tips will help you to copy edit more successfully even with your own writing:

Our copy editing tips

  • Don’t proofread your own work if possible; if you have to proofread your own leave it a few days so that you can become less familiar with what you wrote and get into editing mode rather than writing.
  • Make the best use of your software; while far from perfect most computer word processing software is capable of capturing many spelling and grammatical issues. There are also other standalone sites and programs that you can use to further check your work. However proofreading by a person will still be required.
  • Don’t try to do editing at the same time as you do the writing; you will lose the flow of your writing and your fiction editing will not be thorough.
  • Use a different format to edit than you used for writing; most people now write on their computer so using a printed version of the copy is often easier for editing purposes.
  • Look at the big picture; if you are talking about the “Top 10 reasons to…” do you have 10 reasons listed and so forth.
  • Read your work in reverse; the act of reading your work in reverse will help to disconnect your brain from what you have written and help you to concentrate more on the individual words. You can also try blowing up the font on your screen so you see much less or even using a pencil to read each word in turn so you read slowly. All of these ideas can help with proofreading.
  • Read your copy aloud; record what you read and play it back. By hearing the words as they are written you can quickly find where sentences sound incorrect, words that are not right and poor flow amongst many other potential problems.
  • Are you using more words than you need or the wrong words? Read each word and ask yourself if it can be removed or changed into something more appropriate. Copy needs to be to the point and persuasive, if it is not change it.

Other options to copy edit

The best option when it comes to copy editing is always to use an experienced third party but if you don’t have the funds for that the tips above will help you to ensure that your copy edit is done well. There are many other articles that you can read on copy editing such as these 7 tips to improve content which you can use to add to your knowledge of editing.