How to Build a World Class Editorial Team
  • 8-minute read
  • 9th February 2023

How to Build a World Class Editorial Team

You want to build a world-class editorial team, but you’re not sure what that looks like. You’ve bounced the idea around in your head of hiring someone to handle all your proofreading and editing needs, but you’re not sure if that’s the best fit for your business.

Here’s why you’re unsure:

Individuals who work in collaborative settings are more than 50% more effective in completing assignments than those who work independently.

Here are some of the questions we’re going to tackle to help you build and manage the type of team that works for you:

  • What does an editorial team consist of?
  • Where do you find your team?
  • Should you use individual freelancers?
  • Should you build an in-house editorial team?
  • Should you hire an editorial agency?
  • How do you manage an editorial team?
  • How do you maintain quality?

What Does an Editorial Team Consist Of?

There are four key roles that make up an effective and efficient editorial team:

  • Editorial manager
  • Reviewers
  • Editors
  • Proofreaders

Managers control the workflow and provide oversight. Once an efficient editorial process is in place, they make sure that the team is aligned and follows the process that has been laid out. Their daily tasks include meeting with clients, coordinating with content creators and writers, setting deadlines, and evaluating quality.

Editors fine-tune the style, structure, flow, and readability of the work and ensure that every word provides value to the overall piece. Proofreaders correct errors in grammar, spelling, and format. Their role goes well beyond the capabilities of the spell-check function, and they play a vital role in laying the foundation for error-free work. 

Reviewers’ main responsibility is quality control. They check the work of the editors and proofreaders to ensure that no errors slip through, and they double-check that the content is consistent with the style guide.

Where Do You Find Your Team?

Discovering talent is an industry in and of itself. However, when you’re searching for editing talent, there are several methods that can help test the waters before bringing someone on board.

So where do you find candidates? How you go about your search will depend on what kind of team you plan on using (freelance, agency, or in-house). You can find individual freelancers on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru.

If you’re planning on hiring an in-house team, you’ll need to do more of a traditional search for individual team members. You may even want to consider hiring a recruiter to assist you. Agencies provide entire teams. You’ll want to evaluate the team’s process and how they’re managed.

Need more guidance? Here are five tips for hiring great editors.


Pro Tip

Trial documents require candidates to demonstrate their editing/proofreading abilities. Offering a paid trial document will help build rapport with the candidate. Your willingness to pay shows that you’re serious about making a quality hire, and the candidate can also get a feel for the work they’ll be doing. The candidate wants to find a team where they can thrive just as much as you want to find the right fit for your team.

Should You Use Individual Freelancers?

Building a team of individual freelancers will give you a candidate pool with a wide variety of talent. If you plan on structuring your team this way, you’ll need to vet each individual carefully to ensure a good fit. You’ll find plenty of editors and proofreaders with different experience levels and pay requirements; there are currently 73.3 million freelancers in the US.

The challenge of having a group of freelancers is that they most likely won’t have worked together before and therefore won’t have a vested interest in each other. This may be one of the least expensive ways to assemble a team, but you’ll have to put in the time and effort in creating an infrastructure that works.

Should You Build an In-house Editorial Team?

In-house teams are a traditional structure that can be used for onsite or remote operations. One benefit of having an in-house editorial team is being able to organize and manage the team the way you’d like. Team members are employees, and they’ll be part of your company culture, work the hours you designate, and have a vested interest in the other members.

The downside of this kind of hire is that it’s expensive and time-consuming. Not only do you have to pay a salary/hourly wage, but you’ll also have to look at other costs such as insurance, vacation, and training. You can expect to pay 1.2 to 1.4 times the employee’s salary to hire a new employee. For example, if you hire someone and pay them $50,000/year, it may cost between $62,500 and $70,000 to bring them on board.

Should You Hire an Editorial Agency?

Hiring an editorial agency will allow you to hire an entire team at once. Most editorial teams are structured with managers, reviewers, proofreaders, editors, and sometimes even writers. It’s the one-stop shop for all your editing needs. However, there are a few challenges to look out for when you do this!

When vetting an agency, you’ll want to consider how they’re managed, the experience levels of the editors and proofreaders, and in what kind of work they specialize. Some of the larger agencies employ teams of freelancers who work together on a regular basis in specific industries. You can also screen for agencies that have a similar culture to your business.

The downside of an editorial agency is that you don’t get to pick each member of the team. You can evaluate the team, but the agency is ultimately in control of who’s involved in the process.

At Proofed, we’re able to provide highly efficient managed teams for businesses of all types and sizes. We tailor our teams to the specific needs and industries of our clients.

How Do You Manage an Editorial Team?

Once you have a team in place, you’ll have to manage it. Depending on the type of team you decide on, different levels of oversight may be required. Whether you choose to manage the team on your own or you have someone handling it for you, there are some measures that you can put into place to help it function efficiently.

On-going communication: Having an open line of communication with your team will help your editorial process run smoothly. This can be achieved by having weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the entire team via Zoom, or you can elect to meet with each team member individually if you have an in-house team or group of stand-alone freelancers. Be sure to discuss your vision and brand. 

Deadlines: This sounds like a no-brainer, but the thought behind the deadline is just as important. When you assign deadlines, be consistent and mindful of the length of the documents, any research that may be necessary, and the team’s workload. Inconsistent turnaround times are one of the most prolific barriers to efficiency.

Clear roles and expectations: Each member of the team needs to know their role and what part they play. You’ll waste valuable time if two members of the team do the same job or if someone doesn’t do theirs. Define each role and assignment and make sure there’s an understanding of what’s expected.

How Do You Maintain Quality?

Getting content pushed out to your audience is one thing, but having quality pieces that make an impact is another. Brand-driven communication with an important message shouldn’t be muddied by vague language or errors. Don’t let your relentless brand-building efforts fall victim to poor quality.

Focus on ways that you can keep your team producing quality work. Feedback is one of the most important tools you can utilize to maintain quality. Let your team know where they’re doing well and where they’re lacking.

If delivered right, your feedback will carry over to the quality of their content. For example, if you see that the work is error-free but not quite on par with your brand, your feedback may be the only way that they know they’re not hitting the mark. They can then focus more on the messaging while still creating error-free pieces.

For more information on how to provide valuable feedback, click here.

Final Thoughts

Building the best editorial team for your business requires a good understanding of your goals and what kind of structure works best for you. As you scale, and as the dynamic world of content evolves, you’ll need a consistent team that is adaptable and ready to take on new challenges. Before you can have an efficient process, you’ll need a cohesive team. 

Want to learn more about best practices for proofreading and editing business content? Check out this article.

  • Jump to Section

Want to save time on your content editing?

Want to save time on your content editing?

Our expert proofreaders have you covered.

Looking For
The Perfect Partner?

Let’s talk about the support you need.