How to Copyedit Anything Step by Step
  • 6-minute read
  • 5th December 2023

How to Copyedit Anything Step by Step

When it comes to great content marketing, quality matters more than quantity – and it can impact your bottom line. In fact, according to one survey, 27% of consumers feel bombarded with marketing messages and end up ignoring them. So, if less is more, then how do you stand out from the competition and get the attention of your target audience? Start by including copyediting in your marketing strategy. Effective copyediting can help take your content to the next level and ensure your communications stand out from the noise. 

In this guide, we’ll take you through how to copyedit anything step-by-step, including how copyediting can get you the results you want. We’ll cover how to:

  1. Understand your target audience.
  2. Improve the clarity and flow of the content.
  3. Check for consistency.
  4. Address word choice and language usage.
  5. Fact-check claims and statistics.
  6. Optimize the content for SEO.
  7. Review the content for errors.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about copyediting your business’s content.

What Is Copyediting?

Copyediting is an essential part of the editorial process. It ensures your content is refined, polished, professional, and ready for publication. It goes beyond correcting basic grammar and spelling – involving more in-depth changes to improve the overall readability and flow of the writing. Copyediting usually occurs in the middle of the editing process – after developmental editing and line editing but before proofreading. During the copyediting stage, it can be beneficial to collaborate with SEO and copywriting professionals to ensure the content meets its objectives and fits into your business’s overall marketing strategy. 

Next, let’s look at how to copyedit your business’s content step by step.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

The first step to copyediting is to clearly define the goal of the content and its intended audience. Is the objective to increase sales and conversions, encourage potential customers to visit your website, or inform current customers of a special promotion? Ultimately, the goal of a particular piece of content drives who reads it, so it’s essential to research and understand your target demographic using informal surveys, customer testimonials, and social media engagement. You can then use the information you gather to create detailed buyer personas and tailor the content to reflect the potential pain and gain points of your audience.

2. Improve the Clarity and Flow of the Content

The next step in the copyediting process is revising the content for clarity and coherence. Begin by reading the entire piece of content aloud to get an idea of the overall rhythm, and check that the writing follows a logical structure and seamlessly guides the reader from one point to the next. Then, add transition words and vary the sentence structure and length where necessary to improve the flow. 

Repetition and redundant information or ideas can also impact the clarity of the content and cause your reader to quickly lose interest. One report shows that readers form an opinion of a website in as little as 0.05 seconds. So, whenever possible, keep customer-facing content short and to the point – include only the most relevant and necessary information (e.g., details about products, services, sales, and pricing) on your website and social media pages.   

3. Check for Consistency

Consistency, both within a single piece of content and across communication platforms, is essential for building trust and credibility with your customer base. To ensure consistent content, you need a detailed brand style guide. As part of the copyediting process, develop a style guide with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page for issues such as language usage, spelling, terminology, and brand voice. During copyediting, also check that a consistent writing style is maintained and that the tone and voice don’t shift awkwardly within a single piece. 

4. Address Word Choice and Language Usage

As part of the copyediting process, verify that industry-specific jargon, such as acronyms, has been used appropriately, and define terminology that your target audience isn’t likely to be familiar with. Next, take steps to:

  • Ensure inclusivity by reviewing the content for any potentially offensive or insensitive language.
  • Simplify overly complex sentences or vocabulary to improve accessibility.
  • Verify that the formality and tone of the language suit the intended audience. 
  • Confirm that terms have been used correctly and in the appropriate context.
  • Address the audience directly in any calls to action (e.g., “Shop our selection of new products” or “Sign up here to get deals sent directly to your inbox”).

Finally, if you’re an ecommerce business with an international audience, check that the applied dialect matches your target location. This would involve localizing the content based on the demographics of your readers and where they’re based.

5. Fact-Check Claims and Statistics

Verifying information and fact-checking claims is an important part of copyediting, especially if you include AI-generated content as part of your marketing strategy. Don’t take the facts or statistics provided by AI writing tools at face value – be sure to verify the claims using credible outside sources. Also check that all other information, such as names, dates, and details about the company, are accurate and current. Ensuring accuracy during the copyediting stage saves you the time (and embarrassment) of having to correct it post-publication. 

6. Optimize the Content for SEO

Next, optimize marketing content for SEO by checking that it’s user-friendly and easy to skim read (e.g., by ensuring proper heading placement). Also, to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages, make sure the content incorporates the most common keywords and phrases associated with your specific industry. 

7. Review the Content for Errors

As the final step in the copyediting process, review the content for surface-level issues such as:

  • Grammar and punctuation mistakes.
  • Typos and misspellings.
  • Subject-verb agreement.
  • Misplaced modifiers and sentence structure errors.
  • Capitalization inconsistencies.
  • Proper use of hyphens and dashes.

To stay organized and streamline the process, it can help to include a proofreading checklist in your content style guide.

Professional Copy Editing Services

Copyediting can be time-consuming when done right – so why not let our expert editing team take it off your plate? Our editors have experience with a wide variety of organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to successful start-ups. We can also help you develop a unique content style guide for your brand. Schedule a call today to see how we can help you meet your marketing goals. 

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