PROOFREADING vs EDITING vs CONTENT CREATION
There’s an old joke that runs something like this:
Grammar is the difference between feeling your nuts or feeling you’re nuts.
If you had to go back over that sentence twice to get the humour, then you’re exactly where you are meant to be. Read on!
English is hard. It’s nuanced, deliberate and subject to rules that few people understand thoroughly. And if you think that a single person can write creatively, edit and proof their own work, then you’re in for a rude awakening.
Proofreading, editing and writing smart, punchy copy are three entirely different jobs. A copy editor approaches written content differently than, say, how a proofreader might approach the same text.
The use of words, sentence structure, syntax, verb tenses and the overall cohesiveness of a piece writing is all under scrutiny when it’s on the editor’s desk. An editor ensures that the written piece’s message is on point and that there’s flow, structure and clarity throughout. This means often reviewing the content, taking care to ensure:
- The written information is consistent with the brand’s message and its audience.
- The structure follows a pattern with transitioning paragraphs.
- The content is relatable to a layman and doesn’t use big words when a singularly loquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will satisfactorily accomplish the necessary objectives! (See what we did there?)
- It uses simple language, short sentences and isn’t overly punctuated.
- It sticks to the correct voice throughout, with the appropriate tone (formal, informal, persuasive, etc), and the right American or British spelling and usage (‘apartment’ as opposed to ‘flat’, ‘starter’ vs ‘appetizer’, etc).
A good editor is up-to-speed on the nuanced use of words, phrases and idioms. They understand pun and irony, witticisms and humour, and can easily distinguish between the use of particular words in different contexts.
If you bite it and you die, it’s poisonous. If it bites you and you die, it’s venomous.
The distinction here is subtle; something an editor knows well.
Proofreadinging is the process of going through a document with a fine-tooth comb to remove the tiniest of errors – after it has gone through the editing process. This includes checking for spelling, punctuation, typos and the correct use of words.
It’s about knowing the difference between: Let’s Eat, Grandma and Let’s Eat Grandma.
One is an invitation to the dining table, the other is cannibalism. That comma is lifesaving.
Proofreading is fastidious work. It requires particularly attention to flow and understanding, and also takes into consideration the final form in which the written work will appear. If it’s for print or web, this means reviewing fonts, sentence placements, paragraphs, margins and indentations.
While it’s true that Microsoft Word and applications like Grammarly can pick up on most errors, autocorrect sometimes still lets you type things you didn’t Nintendo! It helps, therefore, to have a different pair of eyes (and ears) perform the role of editor and proofreader.
Content creation is producing original content with a specific end user and audience in mind. This can be for distribution, marketing or publication purposes. Typically, digital content creation includes maintaining and updating websites, blogs, articles, videos, photography, and social media accounts. A content creator keeps the following factors in mind:
- Quality content is researched and targets a particular audience. It considers what similar competitors are producing and is familiar with the niche it’s trying to fill. It generates interest, answers questions, and addresses pain points.
- Whether it is to draw attention, create awareness, inform, or call to action, well written content has a unique tone of voice. It tells you how to apply a piece of information and leaves you wanting more. It doesn’t make itself obvious but talks in a relatable, informed voice that connects with its audience.
- It has an end-goal. For example, creative content produced for marketing purposes will have identified measures for success attached to it. It’s both an art and science as it leverages consumer psychology (online and/or offline), search engine optimisation (SEO), and other digital best practices to help maximise impressions, clicks, comments and other key performance indicators (KPIs).
Remember that good content requires you to be current, informed, up-to-speed on trends, and constantly writing to improve your skills. It’s not for everybody. That’s why there are people out there who are specialised and good at it.
For help with editing, proofreading or content creation, get in touch. When you need to write, we’re right where you need us.