In May this year, hundreds of journalists walked off the job at top newspapers around the country, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review.
They were protesting Fairfax Media’s latest round of job cuts – 125 editorial positions were slashed from its metropolitan mastheads. While the strike created headline news, one headline went unnoticed… Until it was published, at least. During the week-long strike, The Sydney Morning Herald went to print with a page-one headline that read, embarrassingly, ‘Household debt a threat to ecomomy’.
A typo in bold type on one of the most respected papers in the country? It was possibly the best press the striking journos could have hoped for – published proof that their editorial skills were not disposable, but essential. It’s also a simple way to explain why you should consider hiring an editor or a proofreader to review your business material before publishing it, online or in print.
Even if you aced English at high school or routinely correct your best friend’s bad spelling, enlisting the help of an editor is a smart idea. Here’s a few reasons I reckon it’s worth the investment…
Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? Employ an editor or a proofreader and you can expect that they’ll pick up the embarrassing typos, the repeated words and the misplaced apostrophes on your behalf. If you care about your brand and how it’s perceived, keeping the wording clean is essential (more on that below). And if you often find yourself getting confused about the rules of grammar, it’s a real relief to offload the finicky stuff to an expert.
The real value of working with an editor is allowing them to massage your ideas into shape. You might have a great blog post concept in your head, but struggle to get it out succinctly. Maybe you’re stumbling over one awkwardly long sentence in your ‘About’ page, or have lost your way with the flow of a press release. This, friends, is where an editor shines. They’re trained to smooth out the problems on the page, without losing your unique voice. Think of your editor as the fairy godmother who turns plain Jane copy into a sparkling Cinderella.
Sure, people will gloss over mistakes in your website copy or marketing material. They’ll see a typo, automatically correct it in their mind and keep on reading. But every time you let a little error slip through, it damages your brand. It looks sloppy and careless, which dilutes your message and lowers your value. Good, strong writing, on the other hand, is seamless. You don’t get props for it because when people read well-crafted copy, they don’t even notice it. Instead, they’re thinking about how great that product would be in their life, or how awesome that designer would be for their project.
If you enjoy the creative collaboration process, you’ll love working with a pro writer and editor. Just like in other creative fields, they’ll help you conceptualise your ideas. They’ll take the time to talk to you about your aims for the project, the style that best represents your business and what information you need to get across. Then they’ll work their magic before allowing you to give feedback, taking in your suggestions and tweaking the wording till they’ve nailed your vision. Meanwhile, you get to direct the whole show without the stress of trying to do it all yourself. Win-win.
I’ll be honest – I’d love to be part of your dream team. If you’re looking for help writing, editing or proofreading your business materials, get in touch here.