Have you ever visited a website where the pages ran on and on like the Dead Sea Scrolls? Read a white paper that appeared to have everything including the kitchen sink shoved in it? Skimmed through a book and found your eyes crossing because the author went off on a hundred tangents? I can sum up what happened with the copy in two words:
An editor has a hard job: we have to question everything, asking: “Does it fit? Does it make sense? Does it work?”
You see, an editor does more than correct grammatical errors and awkward sentence structure. An editor is also responsible for making sure that the piece – whether it is a website, a white paper, a case study, a book, a direct mail letter, etc. – does its job well.
That means we may have to:
- Encourage the author to cut information that they love, but that doesn’t add value.
- Analyze the logical flow and progression of the piece and make recommendations as necessary.
- Challenge examples, quotes, statistics, etc. if they do not adequately support the point under discussion.
The result is the same as when you spend a day cleaning out the closet. It’s attractive. It’s orderly. It’s effective. And that is good copy!