Content Editing

What to Look For When Hiring Content Editor

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When you hire a content editor to improve your writing, you must look for something beyond impeccable use of the English language. While correcting errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation is a vital part of copy editing, a professional editor performs a number of more specialized functions. It’s in these areas of expertise that content editors truly prove their worth.

If you’ve made the smart decision to hire a content editor, look for one who can accomplish each of the following:

Cut the Fluff
Using 100 words when you could make the same point in 30 weakens your writing, no matter its purpose. Professional content editors should be able to immediately identify the key point in any sentence or paragraph. They need to decipher what specific point you are making, or what you are asking for or trying to accomplish with your words. They will identify this key point and know which words serve to communicate it and which words do not—the latter is “fluff.” An editor should know how to keep the meaningful words and cut the rest.

A content editor will rarely write whole new sentences from scratch. You should always be able to recognize your original message in the edited version of your writing.

Respect the Author
An editor should not be creating new content for you. An editor’s role is to work with the content you have already written and respect your role as the original author, maintaining your voice, tone, and intended message. A content editor will rarely write whole new sentences from scratch. You should always be able to recognize your original message in the edited version of your writing.

Choose the Right Words
While editors should not be writing new content, their role can stretch to replacing poorly chosen words with better ones. This goes beyond correcting errors in usage (such as replacing “affect” with “effect”) to a more nuanced understanding of word choice. Editors know what you are trying to communicate and can draw upon their expertise to select the words that will best convey your message. Editors know when to use “myriad” and when to use “many.” They also know that flowery, poetic descriptions have their place, and it isn’t in your blog post about DIY plumbing repairs.

Improve the Final Product
Writing is an art, not a science, which is why human editors are always superior to software. In a matter of minutes, professional editors can transform your writing from boring to compelling, waffling to concise, chaotic to readable. A great content editor will use the right words—primarily your words—to help you come across as intelligent, professional, and trustworthy.

Business

The Importance of Writing Well in Business

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First Impressions
A face-to-face meeting can offer you perspective on a business. Your first impression is based on the personality and demeanor of the other party. Being charismatic can go a long way, but even the monotonous gain respect over time. However, the same cannot be said when it comes to digital communication.

Whether in an e-mail or on your website, the words you write are permanent. In sum, your writing leaves a last impression – and if you don’t represent yourself well, what you write may be your downfall.

The Cost of Unprofessional Writing
The many writing mistakes employees make may come as no surprise. Some issues are simple (such as spelling errors), while others are more complex. We’re not just talking about grammar, but also tone. Your words inevitably translate a certain voice. Taking the necessary time to master this skill is something very few employees do.

Some examples of expensive mistakes include:

• Suggestive long-form sentences. In many cases, people use run-on sentences as a way to avoid being bold and direct. This often translates to inaction and fails to instill confidence in the reader. As the old saying goes, “Say what you mean, mean what you say.”

• Writing too passively. At times, a passive voice is necessary, but it is rarely required. You will find that there are better ways to shape your paragraphs if you step back and rethink what’s being written.

• Lacking proper formality. Sometimes you have to be formal without being too formal. Some casual writing, also known as conversational writing, is acceptable when the rapport between the two parties supports it. When in doubt, formality is usually a better option.

Training Employees to Write Better
Extensive measures can be taken to ensure that your employees are representing your business well. At the end of the day, however, you cannot expect your staff to transform into Shakespeare overnight. The depths of copywriting and content editing are diverse. Changes in staffing can lead to wasted efforts when you are trying to enhance writing performance at the employee level.

The only real solution is to hire a content editing company to ensure your written materials are both reader and action friendly. Whenever possible, make sure to have your content looked over before sending it out. Once you’ve found a reliable proofreader, stick with the provider that offers you the fastest turnaround time.

Conclusion
The way a business approaches content editing can greatly impact their profitability. Proofreading and editing services are transforming the way this process works. With editorr, you can submit your projects to be immediately proofread and copyedited by an experienced professional, for a relatively small fee.

Try us out and see the difference for yourself!

Content Editing

Elements of Style and The Paragraph

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The paragraph is one of the fundamental building blocks of academic writing.  Each paragraph in your essay or research should contain a series of sentences which develops one (and only one) main idea. A well-written paragraph usually begins with a sentence that informs the reader of the central idea or purpose of that paragraph. This is called the topic sentence.  A topic sentence consists of the topic and the controlling idea (e.g., an aspect or dimension of the idea).
 
Following your topic sentence is the body of your paragraph. The body of your paragraph should support or develop the main idea in your topic sentence. You can develop your paragraph by providing details, examples, facts, reasons, or incidents – all of which should lead back to the central idea in your topic sentence. If you are crafting a research paper, it is here that you could use quotes from another source, as long as it supports your topic sentence. Quotes, when used sparingly, add credibility to your writing. If all of the sentences within the body of your paragraph support your topic sentence, your paragraph will demonstrate cohesiveness and unity. Unity is one characteristic of good writing. Another quality you want your writing to emit is coherence. Depending on your chosen topic, you can foster coherence by arranging your sentences in a logical order (e.g., chronological or spatial order).
 
The concluding sentence is located at the conclusion of your paragraph. It should be the logical consequence of your thoughts and ideas, which have been developed throughout the paragraph. The conclusion sentence either summarizes your ideas or acts as a transition to the next paragraph, preparing your reader for the central idea which will be introduced in your next paragraph.
 

What follows is writing sample wherein the three main parts of a proper paragraph have been described in red parenthesis:

Mapplethorpe’s compositions reveal his strong, consistent aesthetic goal – one which is not only direct, but which also strives for perfection in both balance in subject and form. (This first sentence is the topic sentence. From this sentence, it becomes clear that the topic of this essay is Mapplethorpe’s compositions, and that the controlling idea throughout this paragraph will be Mapplethorpe’s aesthetic goal). In his works, Mapplethorpe insists on the entire composition, not just the photograph, as being the object – as opposed to merely the subject of the photograph being the sole object. For example, the texture and material of the frame reiterates the subject of the photograph. The goal is to make viewing his works both participatory and confrontational, something he has effectively accomplished with relentless arrogance as seen in his work The Slave. (These two sentences represent the body of the paragraph. Within them, the author explains why she wrote what she wrote in her topic sentence, describing Mapplethorpe’s art and using an example to reiterate her point). Although some of his works have been controversial, Mapplethorpe always managed to produce what he deemed aesthetically important – a powerful and memorable statement presenting two seemingly incompatible qualities: directness and ambiguity. (This is the concluding sentence. The reader should recognize that this is the final sentence of this paragraph because the content summarizes what was written throughout the entire paragraph).

 
When you have finished writing, you should always edit your work. When editing, remember to check that these basic elements are present:

  1. A topic sentence with a controlling idea
  2. Body sentences displaying coherence and unity
  3. A concluding sentence

 
Good Luck!
 
By: Dawn S., On Demand Editor for editorr

Content Editing

Proofreading in a Pinch

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When it comes to proofreading, you usually ask a friend or co-worker to give your memo a once-over. But sometimes you’re in a hurry and you may not have time to seek another set of eyes.

proofreading in a pinch Blog banner

 

Here are some tips to clean up your emails, reports, and social media posts when you’re in a pinch:

Run a spell-checker. Sure, we all know that relying solely on spell-check is not a good idea because it cannot discern errors of context, such as “weather/whether,” or “from/form.” However, spell-check identifies minor mistakes that, when left unattended, can make your paper look like crap. The key is to pay attention. For example, spell-check points out extra spaces and punctuation inconsistencies, like a period when there should be a comma (e.g., standard modern usage dictates one space between sentences, not two). Simple errors can kill your credibility, so consider running a spell-checker as your baseline cleaner-upper.

First things first. Be sure to reread, proofread, and read your headline and opening paragraph out loud. Your entire project is important, but a typo or misprint right at the beginning will set you off on the wrong foot.

Print (AKA, kill the trees). If you have access to a printer, go ahead and make a hard copy. Studies have shown that it is much easier to identify spelling and grammar errors on a piece of paper, rather than on a computer screen.

Go larger than life. If you don’t have a printer (or if you are worried about the trees), you will have to do your proofing on a computer monitor. Use the magnify function (labeled “Zoom,” or “View” in Microsoft Word) to increase what you see on the screen to 150% or larger. I typically increase my view to 165% on my 13” MacBook Pro laptop. The larger text allows me to identify and correct more inconsistencies in my content.

Of course, hiring a professional is the most practical and fool-proof answer to proofreading your work. An expert lends credibility to your writing and can save you time and energy. You hire a hairdresser to pretty-up your hairdo when you have a special event. You take your car to the mechanic when it’s time for repairs. Why not seek a grammar and spelling authority to present the best version of yourself on paper?

 

By: Jennifer K., On Demand Editor for editorr
overtheshoulderproofreading.com

Content Editing

Brevity is Best

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Charles Dickens used 26 words to introduce his main character in the first sentence of Great Expectations: “My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.
 
Herman Melville did the job in three: “Call me Ishmael.
 
Both approaches have their merits, though I think we can all agree that Charles could have gotten his point across more succinctly.
 
Florid prose is dandy if you’re writing a masterpiece of 19th-century literature, but for most of us, most of the time, brevity is best. Usually we just want to communicate an idea simply, in a way that’s easy to understand. However, such a task is hard to do if a sentence is weighed down by a lot of unnecessary words.
 
Here’s a paragraph that demonstrates many of the mistakes I see in (and cut out of) people’s writing:

I’m writing this letter to you to follow up on this issue. With regard to the leaky toilet, it still needs to be fixed. I was wondering if you have been able to figure out and determine what is causing the problem. I have also noticed that, in addition to the leak, the water in the back of the toilet tank is lower when compared to what it was before. (By the way, the manufacturer of this particular toilet is American Standard, a brand that we are able to find in bathrooms nationwide.) I have been reading the article “Toilet Leakage and You” by the author Chet U-bend. In the article it is mentioned that leaking toilets are a leading cause of flooded bathrooms. The author goes on further, calling leaking toilets a “blight on floor tiles.” After reading the article, I know that when it comes to leaky toilets, fixing them is important. (154 words)

 
This is perfectly understandable prose, but the same information could be conveyed much more simply. If this were submitted to me via editorr, the edited version would look something like this:

Redline Version

 
This corrected version reads:

The toilet still needs to be fixed. Have you figured out what is causing the leak? I have also noticed that the water in the tank is lower than it was before. (By the way, this toilet is manufactured by American Standard, a brand used nationwide.) In his article “Toilet Leakage and You,” Chet U-bend writes that leaking toilets are a leading cause of flooded bathrooms and a “blight on floor tiles.” Fixing leaky toilets is important! (77 words)

 
Note that I removed exactly half of the words in the original piece without losing any of the meaning!
 
There isn’t room to argue for every change, though I’d be happy to discuss my reasoning for the various cuts in the comment section. However, let’s just take a quick look at one sentence to get a taste of the process:
 
“I was wondering if you have been able to figure out and determine what is causing the problem.” If you’re asking a question, it’s pretty clear that you’re wondering about the answer. You can often omit the “I was wondering” intro and just ask your question.
 
A lot of people also add unnecessary words to their writing by tacking on synonyms. “Figure out” and “determine” mean pretty much the same thing in this context. Decide which of these terms works best and ditch the synonym.
 
The long and short of it is, don’t use a handful of words to express yourself when one will suffice. Unless you’re Charles Dickens, brevity is (usually) best!
 
By: Debra H., On Demand Editor for editorr
the-deblog.com