Many writers, copywriters, or content creators submit their work with a great deal of anxiety. They wonder just what the editor will say. Will they hate it? Will they tear it apart and prove that they are a fraud as writer? Other writer become combative if the feedback they get isn’t what they wanted to hear and might try to ignore it.
Of course, if you submit to a publication and ignore the editor’s feedback, you probably won’t get published. If you are self-publishing, it would be a wise move to hire an editor to look over your work. If you ignore them, you might risk publishing work that is of inferior quality.
Digital marketing teams also have editors. They can have a variety of titles, head writer/editor, senior writer or storyteller, content manager, content strategist, and so on. These editors might also be writers themselves. In fact, I, for one, think that editors should be writers themselves to keep their skills sharp and to understand what the writers they edit are going through.
Bottom line, though, someone looks over your work, tweaks or edits it, and eventually approves it once they think it has met a certain standard. Some editors are different than others. They might do all the editing or rewriting themselves or they might give it back to the writer (or designer or other member of a content marketing team) to tweak and revise. A few do a combination of both.
Editing is like writing. There is no one way to do it. I would even say that editing is not separate from the writing process (or any content creation process) at all. It is an integral part.
Because nobody gets it perfect the first time. You can revise and rewrite all you like, whether you are the writer or the designer, but someone else has to take a look at it to ensure the message and information it’s trying to convey is clear, powerful, effective, and accurate.
You created the content in the first place. You already know what it means (or is supposed to mean). However, would another person?
When producing creative works and or doing any type of content creation, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and not see things from someone else’s perspective, since you’ve had your head down and have been churning out the work. You’ve become too close to it and need to take time away from it and look at it more objectively.
An editor helps with this.
Statistics from the Content Marketing Institute say that 72 percent of marketers say that content marketing increases engagement. Advice from eMarketer is to create at least one piece of content a day. Given how important good content is for engagement and how much is being produced, having an editor becomes necessary to help organize and look over the work for the sake of quality.
Also consider that when producing branded content, it has to have a certain tone and follow certain style guidelines. There’s a visual language it has to be consistent with and stylistic elements that have to be included so it matches up with the brand’s identity. An editor is well versed in these guidelines and can help you make sure they are met.
Are you using metrics with your content? Are they accurate? Have the results of how other campaigns, blogs, emails, and so on have done informed your content creation process? Does your work have the right voice? Is it appropriate for the brand or channel that it will be featured on? Is it too long? Too short? Does it need pruning or more development? Does it have that right spark? Does it sing? Does it draw eyes? Will it resonate with audiences?
Editors will advise you accordingly. They might even give you a headline, topic, or some type of inspiration to get you started. They might in fact be the one assigning the work to you.
Still, learning to take feedback is basically a skill in of itself. You have to be open to constructive criticism and understand that your work is for a brand and not yourself. You might have taken hours and days to craft a piece of content that an editor cuts in half within minutes, because it needs to be trimmed down or the information is better presented in a shorter, sharper, and more concise way.
Writing, designing, and any creative work tends to be very personal. The people working on it put their hearts and souls into it. It’s not always easy hearing that the copy or design you labored over and love because it came from deep inside of you needs some touching up. However, when it comes to content and creative work, it should all be on the table to be tweaked, trimmed, or reimagined. Whatever would make it a stronger piece should at least be considered. You have to be ready to receive feedback. You have to know that changes will be made and that you are not the final approver of the work. Sometimes, the editor isn’t even, but it’s their job to make it ready and presentable for that final approver.
Remember you and the editor are on the same team. You both want your brand and business to do well. That said, you need proper lines of communication between you and an understanding that none of this is personal. You have to set your ego aside and to show the proper amount of respect for each other as well as the work.
You know that you will make mistakes, but an editor isn’t perfect, either. They won’t always get everything right and might come up with a better idea later, as might you. So, this calls for compromise, hearing each other out, and taking the time to understand each other’s points of view.
Flexibility and openness are key to the process. In the end, if you are working in digital marketing, neither of you really owns the piece of content you are working on. The brand does, and the brand comes before either of you.