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Sep 23

3 Reasons Every Business Should Hire an Editor

If you’re a business owner and don’t have an editor on call, it’s time to think about retaining one, even if it’s just on a freelance basis. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you produce any kind of written material — whether it’s a menu, a website, a newsletter, a flyer, or a training manual — it is critical to make sure that it’s vetted by a professional before it’s released. Here are three reasons why.

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1. DIY vs. Professional Work

Since we all use words all the time for various things, and since most of us have a fairly competent grasp of the language, it’s easy to think that editing written material is a DIY project. Here’s the thing, though. Writing’s about more than just the words on the page. It’s about more than what spell-check can catch for you. An editor is trained to use all the tools the language has to offer to achieve the desired goals of the project.

In many ways, hiring an editor is like hiring a professional contractor to install your kitchen for you.  Are you competent with a hammer and drill? Quite possibly. Does that mean you should rip out your kitchen and install a new one yourself? Probably not. Most of the time, people will be able to spot the difference between something that’s been installed by the homeowner himself and something that’s professionally done. There’s something about the quality of the work, the attention to detail, that makes all the difference to the finished product.

It’s the same with any written project. People notice the flaws. Excellent writing is almost invisible — it’s unassuming, and lets the subject matter shine through. Poor quality writing only draws attention to itself…and that’s distracting for the reader.

2. Image and Impression

If your writing is calling attention to itself in a bad way, it can damage your business’s image. Customers expect professional quality work, and when your flyers contain errors or your business letters contain basic grammatical mistakes, it creates the impression that your business is sloppy in other areas, too. Again, it comes down to attention to detail.

Certain industries need to be especially diligent about professional quality writing. Educational institutions and service providers, tutors, authors, and writing professionals all need to make sure that they deliver the highest quality in their promotional materials. Why? Because this is the very area in which you are asking for your customers’ trust: in education, and, specifically, in writing. When you fail to deliver, it creates the impression that you’re not worthy of that level of trust.

When I was working in the healthcare industry as an independent educator and service provider, I remember clearly being taught during our training that sending emails to clients that were poorly composed and full of typos and grammatical errors would create an impression that my work generally was unprofessional. People really do judge your business by the words you use and the way you present yourself.

3. No Excuses

There is no good reason for a business to produce poorly composed and edited written materials. Hiring a freelance editor to go over your materials with a fine-toothed comb will be well worth any expense, because, like it or not, sloppy writing will cost your company customers. People expect excellence, and they don’t have patience for either mistakes or excuses.

In many ways, good writing is like good style. When you go to a business meeting to discuss a project with a new client, how do you dress? Do you spend a little extra time making sure you look professional? Do you make sure your makeup is on properly, that your shirt is ironed, that your shoes match and your bag is neat and organized? Or do you slouch into your prospective client’s office, pull out a notebook full of tattered pages and proceed to take notes with a chewed up pen? If you wouldn’t present yourself physically in this way, then don’t let your writing give this impression to your customers.

Hire an editor. Hire a good editor.

I promise…it won’t be money wasted.

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P.S. In our next post, we’ll give you some tips on what to look for in an editor.

 

Photo credit: GollyGforce – Living My Worst Nightmare / Foter / CC BY

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