Some time ago, I was asked to jazz up an existing short profile for a client’s upcoming television appearance.
Imagine my surprise when a pile of clippings, notes and pages as thick as a best seller arrived in the post. What my client wanted wasn’t editing, it was content creation.
Yes, I delivered the va-voom, but it highlights how important it is that we are all, um, reading from the same page (did I really say that?). So what’s the difference?
Proofreading is really a quality control exercise. We make sure all amendments have been included, the document is complete (lines or words haven’t ‘dropped off’ the page, etc), links work, there are no spelling or punctuation errors, the document conforms with the client’s style guide, the index is correct, and page, line and word breaks are suitable.
Copy editing focuses on style and consistency. We make sure the meaning is clear and correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are used. We check for consistency, such as capitalisation and numbering.
For online work, we check links, pop-ups, and metadata, and make sure files download or open properly, with ‘user-friendly’ speed.
Full editing, referred to as substantative editing, involves all of the above, with the added task of reviewing structure, language, style and clarity or usability. A full edit focuses on making a document easy to read and consistent.
Content creation is a term our Dragonfly team uses to describe developing content from information we’ve gathered or our client has supplied.
Content creation can involve all or a mixture of writing styles including storytelling (narrative), information or explanation (expository), and influencing behaviour or opinion (persuasive).
Content creation involves, in varying degrees, the following process:
- Briefing, including establishing audience, message, and method of delivery
- Gathering and reviewing information, often including conducting interviews
- Brainstorming ideas and developing concepts or themes
- Developing text through various draft/approval phases
- Delivering final edited content, often including design suggestions
So next time you’re thinking about outsourcing your writing or editing work, you can relax because you’ll know what you’re asking for – and what to expect. I could say something here about us all singing from the same… but, no. I think it’s home-time.