At last, your first draft is ready. And yet, you’re not happy with it. Something is still missing even after many rounds of self-editing, and you’re wondering what to do next.
Sound familiar? Most likely, you need the assistance of a professional editor.
Before you ask, editors normally review a draft with the aim of improving it, all without changing the voice of the writer. They provide professional editing services by going through the content in a step-by-step manner to identify and correct mistakes and errors with grammar, word usage, structure, composition, readability, flow, style, tone, and so on.
But guess what?
Different types of editing can improve your content in specific areas. As steps in the professional editing process, they’re supposed to be carried out in a specific order, one after the other. Some types of editing may also overlap with one another.
However, your content may not require all the various types of editing. This depends on factors such as your level of expertise and experience as a writer, the type of content you’re creating, and where it will be published.
For example, there can be different requirements for a traditionally published book versus a self-published book, for a book versus a blog post, or for a blog post for your personal blog versus a guest post written for publication on a high authority site.
You can also individually pick the type of editing your content needs, and look for an editor who is a specialist in that area, since most editors specialize in one or two types of editing. Alternatively, you can choose to work with an editing agency that provides all the different types of editing and can advise on what you need.
Want to create high-quality content your target audience loves and constantly engages with?
Then check out the following five types of editing that can help, whether you write fiction, nonfiction, blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers, or any other type of content.
With this type of editing, a piece of content is evaluated using a broad, high-level view, without correcting the grammar or word usage.
Developmental editing is usually the first step in the editing process and, when required, should be done before all other types of editing. If not, you may need to do a major rewrite after other edits have been done, which means valuable time, energy, and other resources would have been wasted.
While it’s useful for both new and experienced writers, most expert writers may not need it due to all the writing knowledge and experience they’ve gained over time.
If you write fiction, developmental editing can answer the following questions:
For nonfiction, it can also address the following:
In short, whether you’re a brand-new writer or an experienced one, or someone who’s writing in a new niche or genre for the first time, working with a developmental editor early in the writing process can help you save time and avoid big mistakes that may require substantial writing and rewriting at a later stage.
This type of editing is the next step in the editing process and is ideal for content produced by both new and experienced writers.
Also known as full or substantive editing, content editing goes into more details than developmental editing because it reviews your content section by section and paragraph by paragraph.
Also, it helps to ensure that:
As a result, content editing can recommend rearranging paragraphs, sections, or subsections and also identify areas that should be removed.
Also known as stylistic editing, line editing focuses mainly on sentences and word usage and is the next step in the editing process. Depending on various factors, it may not be necessary for every piece of content you write.
During this type of editing, your content will be scrutinized and evaluated line by line to ensure that:
Always remember that line editing will not check your content structure or the arrangement of your sections and subsections. This means if all these are not addressed before line editing takes place, most likely the quality of your content will remain low, no matter how good your sentences and word usage are.
That’s why it’s important for your content to be edited in the right sequence, so take steps to get the structure right before line editing takes place.
Similar but different from proofreading, copy editing is the next step in the editing process and is concerned with the correct use of language. This means your content is reviewed to identify and correct errors and mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.
In addition, copy editing also involves:
Also referred to as mechanical editing, copy editing can require rewriting in some cases and usually goes into more depth than proofreading. It’s very important for both new and experienced writers, and it is always best to have it done when you’re sure you’ve finished writing.
This is the final edit and quality check before a piece of writing goes live. It’s the last step in the entire editing process and helps to ensure that your content is published without any mistakes or errors.
Proofreading is sometimes done on paper, because errors can be spotted faster than on a screen. It usually involves going through the content patiently to identify and correct any remaining mistakes with spelling, grammar, punctuation, facts and figures, and any lingering errors in layout, formatting, and style.
On top of all that, proofreading also identifies any form of inconsistency for correction, like getting names of characters, businesses, and locations mixed up, along with their spellings.
Whether some or all the other types of editing were done or not, hiring a proofreader to review all types of content before publishing is a standard best practice that a majority of expert writers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and professional authors do not take lightly.
High-quality content is usually the end result of good writing that’s supported by professional editing.
Therefore, to produce outstanding content, you should become familiar with the five different types of editing that can help, namely developmental editing, content editing, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading.
Beyond that, you also need to understand the proper hierarchy of using each type of editing and the right time to use each one in your writing process.
Not every piece you write will need all the five types, but those you need will likely depend on factors like your level of experience or expertise as a writer, the type of content you’re writing, the quality of your first draft, and where it will be published.
Bottom line, team up with a professional editor who specializes in the type of editing you need or team up with with a professional editing agency that can provide the various types of editing services you require, so you can confidently produce great content at all times.
Sola Kehinde is a freelance content writer for hire with 10+ years of corporate business management experience. She helps businesses of all sizes create engaging blog posts, case studies, guides, tutorials and eBooks that attract and convert. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her drinking green tea, watching movies or curled up with a good book. Visit her writing portfolio here.