Six Reasons You Need a Writer and Editor
Today, guest blogger Andy Quan from Boldface explains why small businesses could benefit from outsourcing work to a writer and editor.
Small businesses are always thinking of ways to try to get ahead of the pack. You need to think about the best use of your time, how to be most effective, and where to best place your limited resources.
So, here’s a great idea. And I’ll explain why.
Many organisations and individual consultants have never thought about using writers or editors for their work. They think of an editor as someone who works with journalists or books, and don’t necessarily think of all the excellent reasons why an editor could provide you with important assistance. For the same reasons, you might need someone to write your marketing material, emails to clients or reports.
Here are six reasons for considering hiring a writer or an editor:
So that people can read what you want them to
In some sectors, the reader of a report really just needs the facts, figures and technical specifications. They’ll probably skim the text to get to the parts most necessary for their work. But for most organisations and individuals, accessibility is key – and if it isn’t, it should be.
Why write at all if people won’t be able to understand it? It’s surprising how often you can read an article, strategy, brochure, blog or report and ask, ‘What’s the point?’ and ‘What are they trying to say?’ Being accessible means that ideas are clearly conveyed to the reader, in language that can be understood by many (meaning the minimal use of jargon, acronyms and unfamiliar, technical terms) – and structured in a way that the main points of the writing come across directly.
Everyone needs an editor
Everyone needs an editor. Editors need editors. No one writes and it comes out perfectly the first time. It’s necessary to look over written material again and again. Often, if someone has worked too closely and too intensely on a document, a fresh pair of eyes is absolutely necessary. It’s just too difficult to spot those mistakes yourself.
Mistakes are not a good look
Most of our writing is not for ourselves. It’s for an audience, whether that’s a client, someone receiving a proposal or application, customers surfing your website, or the general public. It’s just not a good look to have mistakes in your letters, articles, proposals, white papers, reports or on your social media. It’s true that some people won’t care. But some people will care a lot, and others might not know what’s wrong but they’ll sense poor or sloppy writing – and take with them the impression that the organisation or individual responsible produces low-quality work.
Ideas and skill don’t equal good writing
It shouldn’t require humility to be able to see that someone might have great skills or fantastic ideas but not necessarily be able to express those well on the page. I do editing and proofreading for some copywriters who are geniuses at selling products and proposing catchy concepts, but still need support to make sure that the English is right. Particularly in some fields, technical experts need to supply the content for a piece of writing, but a writer or editor is sorely needed to make the text readable. If you, or no one in your organisation is a good writer, then you should be outsourcing!
It makes business sense
It may not be evident how writing and editing could help your organisation’s financial position, but consider this:
Businesses of all sorts are always trying to get an edge. Whether it’s submitting a tender for a major contract, selling products or services on your website, or establishing yourself as a thought leader through blogging and articles, good writing (and writing that it is well edited) could represent an important distinction between you and your competitors – and give you a competitive edge.
Meanwhile, it can make your organisation more efficient. Division of labour is how most organisations operate. You assign particular tasks to specific people who have the expertise to do them. This makes the work efficient. It doesn’t make sense for someone to slave over perfecting a document if it’s not their forte. Unless writing is a main focus of their work, it’s a waste of time and resources if CEOs, senior managers and executive directors are spending hours on wordsmithing instead of leading their organisations.
Give it to an expert
Good writing isn’t easy. As said above, smarts and technical ability don’t necessarily come out in easy-to-read sentences.
At the same time, there are tricky parts of writing that not everyone knows about. Some of the most common mistakes are putting things in Capital Letters when they shouldn’t be capitalised, and too many or too few hyphens. But there’s also making sure you’re using the right quotation marks for the occasion, can use an en-dash correctly and have decided how your bullet points should appear.
Contemporary trends in writing also mean that in order to appear up to date, or at least not old-fashioned, you should know about the move towards minimal punctuation and the rise in popularity of ‘sentence case’.
There’s no reason to feel self-conscious about your writing, or about what you don’t know about punctuation or style. Just give it to an expert.
Convinced? Need convincing? More importantly, does your organisation need a writer or editor? Visit Boldface to learn more about my work or just get in contact. And thanks to Merchant Cash for the opportunity to chat about my work.