Hiring an editor may feel like you are admitting some sort of failure or deficiency. After all, you speak English and you write seemingly all of the time (emails, reports, proposals, social media posts, it never ends!). An editor brings to the team a unique expertise, much like the car mechanic, plumber, or neurosurgeon has in their particular field of study. I may know a little something about cars, pipes, and brains (I watch Grey’s Anatomy), but if something goes awry, I am no expert. I don’t know how to fix the problem. Editors have honed their skills through study and practice, just like any other expert. They spot formatting, spacing, and spelling errors that no one else can find. They understand the nuances of grammar and mechanics. They know how to take technical information and make it understandable to a non-technical audience. And, most of all, they know how to make you look good.
Fresh Set of Eyes
How many times have you composed an email, reread it, hit send, and then spotted that dreaded typo? Editing your own work is hard! It is hard to edit our own work because we know what we want or mean to say. Our brain processes what should be there, not necessarily what is there. An editor may know the topic or subject matter to some degree, but they do not know what you are trying to say; therefore, they can come in and review a document with objective eyes. They will find those misspellings that spell check is not going to catch. They will spot the inconsistencies in word choice, formatting, or references to numbers and figures. They are far enough removed from the document that they can ensure that you say what you want to say – and that you say it in a way that reaches your intended audience.
Expert Knowledge of English
Grammar rules and mechanics are not magic. There are reasons behind the rules we were taught in school. An editor can clarify these rules and help you understand why they are so important (or why some rules are made to be broken). Editors stay on top of changes in their field in the same way other experts do. You may not know why it is now standard to use one space between sentences where, in the days of the typewriter, we used two. You may not know why some people are so adamantly passionate about the Oxford comma (or even what the heck the Oxford comma is), but your editor can tell you (likely with aforementioned passion). An editor is there to help you navigate the nuances of our complex language to create a clear, concise, and easy-to-read document.
They Make You Look Good
As a professional and expert in your field, your reputation may rest on the written work you produce. If a client calls into question a document because of typos, misspellings, or inconsistencies in the data, they are also calling into question your reputation. Having an editor on your team can help alleviate these issues, allowing you to present the best possible product to your clients. In many industries, the key to success is getting those repeat clients. When clients receive solid and sound work products, they are more likely to come back again and again.
So, while it may seem like an added expense or another few days to an already drawn out schedule, bringing an editor onto a team can add significant value. The editor may not know the technical details of your work, but they bring their expertise to the team and work collaboratively to make sure your expertise shines.