The US Department of Labour statistics paint a less-than-rosy picture about the future of high-quality copyediting. They say the number of available jobs in the industry is going to shrink by over three percent between now and 2028. This will represent roughly 3,400 jobs lost.
But a look into the real numbers tells a somewhat different story, which starts with fascinating findings from the American Press Institute. They funded a study into the value of copyediting. Surprise, surprise: content vetted by a copyeditor was found to be more professional, more organized, a better read and more valuable across the board
So, in a time when valuable content is more valuable than ever, the contraction in the industry isn’t leading to less copyediting being done. It’s leading to high-quality copyeditors taking on more work.
The Five Characteristics of High-Quality Copyediting
High-quality copyediting is thorough
It’s more than catching boo-boos. It’s identifying and cutting superfluous language, questioning arguments that don’t hold up as well as they could and ensuring a brand’s voice doesn’t deviate from what makes it unique. Also, it considers the reader, which too many companies can’t do because they’re too close to their messages.
High-quality copyediting is timely but never rushed
Ever seen an art restorer in action, and how meticulous he or she is? They could spend an entire day on an eyebrow or a ray of sun or tree in the background. They have a responsibility to maintain the original’s vision, feeling and brilliance. And they know that speeding through it leads to mistakes made or imperfections missed. Copyeditors have the same responsibility, and it’s an impossible responsibility to meet if you’re watching the clock. A copyeditor who promises speed is not to be trusted. Do it right or do it (and pay for it) twice.
High-quality copyediting is collaborative
Don’t think of your copyeditor as a service provider. Think of them as your second set of eyes when you need them most, and a message dissemination expert you can and should leverage. Your copyeditor should be taking the time to understand your business, your goals, your competitors and your motivations. You should be hearing from them often and you should feel just as comfortable challenging them as they are challenging you.
High-quality copyediting is consistent
Within a piece and across the entire content library, a reader should always feel like what they’re consuming is coming from the same place. This is a challenge for a large corporation or department pumping out a ton of content initially written by different people. A high-quality copyeditor can mold a piece to fit comfortably and naturally within a greater content offering so nothing ever seems out of place.
High-quality copyediting is creative
From grade school to graduate school, we’re all taught to follow a message delivery formula. We’re told to respect the way information is consciously consumed and to understand what gets a brain to move in a certain direction. The problem with this approach is that it discounts the subconscious, which is 30,000 times more powerful. The only way to get past the head and straight to the heart is with creativity that encourages thinking AND feeling. A high-quality copyeditor looks for opportunities in your copy to push through to readers’ subconscious and increase your content’s effectiveness and ROI.
As Demand for High-Quality Copyediting Increases, Patience for Poor Quality is Decreasing
Four million blog posts are published on the Internet every day. If you want to stand out in that crowd, hoping you’re putting your best foot forward isn’t going to cut it. High-quality copyediting removes the guessing. If that’s something you can get behind, add it to your process.