Editors have long been essential in all kinds of content creation, from books to magazines to newspapers. However, in the age of digital content, many content producers trying to cut costs have also cut editors.
In print productions, it would have been unimaginable for content to go from writer to publication without an editor. However, in digital productions, the website owner or someone else who does not really have editing skills may give content a quick proofread before publishing it.
This results in all kinds of mistakes being published. Typos, formatting mistakes, and misinformation can all be highly damaging to your business. Here’s what you need to know about what editors do and why they matter.
What Do Editors Do?
Editors have diverse roles, so it can sometimes be hard to figure out exactly what an editor would do for you. In general, editors are in charge of a business’s content. Depending on the type of business and what kind of content is being produced, their roles can vary considerably. In general, here are a few things that editors are typically responsible for:
Responsibility for Content Quality
An editor may have a team of proofreaders working under them, but in the end, the editor is the one who is responsible for the quality of the content. Most of the time, the house editor will do a final sweep of most of the content that is produced.
Depending on how large the publishing team is, the editor may proofread and make changes themselves, they may send content back to the authors for changes, or there may be another team that makes the changes.
Large companies may have editors in charge of different parts of content quality, such as accuracy of information, technical correctness for spelling and grammar, and formatting. Smaller companies generally will have one editor in charge of all aspects of content quality.
The editor is often the one that actually makes the publication of the finished content. Since they are frequently the one doing the final read-through of content, it makes sense that they would also be the one to publish it. They may make final formatting on whatever platform the content is being published on too. Content publishing has become a very extensive job for most companies. Content includes:
- Internal documents and training material. These documents are often updated and republished regularly to keep up with changing best practices within the company.
- Website content and blogs. The vast majority of successful companies utilize weekly or monthly blogs to drive SEO and build trust with readers. Website landing pages must be regularly updated and revised.
- Social media content. Depending on how many platforms your company is on, this can be a substantial job for the editor. Each platform has different rules and regulations. Slightly different kinds of content work on each of them, so the editor needs to schedule and publish the right post at the right regularity for all of the platforms.
- Hard copy content. Most businesses still need to produce some hard copy content. This includes brochures, business cards, printed newsletters, etc. Hard copy content needs to be perfect before it goes to publication, unlike digital content, which sometimes has more wiggle room.
Communicating Brand Image
The editor generally serves as the final funnel through which all content flows. Therefore, it is often their responsibility to be sure that all content communicates a brand image. At smaller companies, editors may be responsible for maintaining brand image through written content, graphics, videos, and anything else that a company might produce.
Branding affects every aspect of the voice of the writing, how formal or informal it is, and what tone it takes. A consistent brand image is absolutely essential.
Collaborate With Other Team Members and Outside Contractors
An important aspect of being an editor is collaboration. Editors need to be able to communicate clearly to content creators and to anyone making changes to content why changes are being made and what can be done to prevent the mistake in the future.
Maintaining good communication internally isn’t just about consistency; it’s about having the right personality type to be able to deliver criticism constructively and motivate content creators.
Editors also need to collaborate with outside contractors. Depending on how big the company is and how much is done internally, this may be a relatively small or a major part of the job. Editors need to communicate what they need from an outside contractor clearly and efficiently. They also need to examine the work produced externally and make sure it lines up with brand values and meets all requirements.
Manage the Production Calendar
Since editors are generally in charge of the content being produced, they are also in charge of making sure everything is published on time. They also are often in charge of scheduling content so that it will arrive at the right time to have the desired impact.
Creating good deadlines and sticking to them requires an editor to have strong communication and the ability to make demands on various people throughout the company, so everything works together to get a product done by the deadline.
Editors must also examine the success of projects and when they’ve been released and consider making changes to the calendar based on that data.
Work with Graphic Designers
One of the important jobs of an editor that is often overlooked is how much they collaborate on visuals and graphic design to produce material that is visually appealing, attention-getting, and on brand. Like an editor, a graphic designer needs to communicate extensively to develop material that works well for the brand.
Editors frequently understand the workings of graphic design more than other people in the company, which can help them to work well with a graphic designer to create material that meets the company’s goals at a reasonable price and in good time.
Do You Need an Editor?
If your company produces relatively small amounts of content, you may wonder whether an editor is necessary for you. This is especially true if you are accustomed to writing and editing your own content. Even if your company is doing all right without an editor, it is important to examine where an editor could benefit you.
Take a serious look at your content. Is it consistent with your brand and values? Are there mistakes like typos, spelling errors, or instances of inconsistent formatting? Are you producing as much content as you need to to reach your SEO goals?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may want to look into choosing an editor. Don’t assume that readers won’t notice or will overlook a few mistakes. Readers care whether your content is high-quality.
At the first typo, formatting error, or grammar mistake, your customers are likely to look for another source of content that they can trust. After all, if there are mistakes in the technical aspects of the content, why should they trust the informational aspects of the content?
Along with a high-quality graphic designer, great content producers, and of course, a solid business model, an editor is one of the essential tools for the creation of a strong brand and company.