Today’s brands have to produce an infinite amount of content to stay connected with their target audiences. Aside from creating enough content to keep constant connections alive, ensuring that all this content meets the required standards is a major challenge – and the more content produced, the more difficult this becomes.
In this article, we explain the difference between editing and proofreading – and why your blog content needs both.
Editing vs proofreading: what’s the difference?
Editing and proofreading are often grouped together as services and you could argue that proofreading is part of the editing process anyway. However, these are two different practices that should be carried out by individual specialists.
Let’s start by defining the two:
- Proofreading: is about correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation and other technical inaccuracies in a piece of writing.
- Editing: focuses on enhancing the quality of writing by improving readability, flow, structure, relevance and other factors.
Essentially, proofreading is all about achieving technical accuracy in a piece of writing by correcting typos, grammar errors and any other quantifiable language mistakes. Editing, on the other hand, focuses on achieving the desired quality and style of a piece to ensure that it meets both the publisher’s editorial guidelines and the target audience’s expectations.
These editorial guidelines vary from one publisher to another and can include technical specifications (heading capitalisation, structure, references, etc.) as well as a range of stylistic qualities, such as tone, voice and angle. Good editing maintains the publisher’s style across every published piece, regardless of how many different writers are involved on a project.
In short, quality proofreading guarantees the technical accuracy of every piece.
Does blog content really need editing and proofreading?
If you think blog content is casual enough that nobody is going to care about the odd typo, you couldn’t be more wrong.
There are, for example, currently entire Twitter accounts dedicated to calling out poor writing and trivial mistakes.
Twitter is arguably the most conversational social network, filled with threads of people sharing their varied opinions on subjects, whilst competing on for attention around those opinions. This has a lot in common with the world of blogging, where again, publishers are competing against hundreds or thousands of similar voices, trying to convince readers that their information, products and services are better than all other alternatives.
When trying to convince people to change their minds over a product for example, they may instinctively – and rightfully so – demand accuracy, legitimacy and authority. Even if they only notice the smallest of typos or grammar mistakes, this whole perception instantly comes crumbling down with readers, as they begin to question a publisher’s given authority and ability to convince.
Producing 100% consistent error-free content can be challenging for companies and publishers, but people don’t make purchase decisions based on logic; they make them based on emotions and trust, which is one of the most fickle emotions triggering purchasing actions.
This is an interesting question and the answer is slightly different when it comes to editing versus proofreading for example.
Regarding editing, every writer edits their own work to some extent. Many writers will edit and re-edit as they go along, reword or restructure the same sentence until it feels to them that it has the right qualities. Most writers will also edit their own work once they have completed a piece in order to check it has the required flow, structure and other characteristics needed.
In this sense, it is technically possible to self-edit your own work. However, you’re always going to get the best results by handing the final editing process over to a professional editor, who can provide a second, independent and objective review of the final copy.
The main benefit of working with an independent editor is having a fresh pair of eyes on your piece that can easily spot and correct issues you may have missed. This is important in terms of how convincingly each blog post puts its message across. A professional editor should also have greater technical understanding of language than your typical writer because it’s their specialism – and they’ll almost certainly elevate the overall quality of every piece of content you publish!
If self-editing is challenging, proofreading your own work would be next to impossible and this has more to do with how the brain works than writing skills. The human brain is excellent at recognising symbols, filling in gaps and interpreting information – something we rely on for vision, hearing and the mechanics of reading, among many other things.
When reading a text, we’re not reading every individual character and then interpreting its meaning; we recognise the shapes of words, combinations of letters, spaces and punctuation (symbols) and our brain puts this information together faster than we could ever read text, one character at a time.
The downside to this, from a proofreading perspective, is that our minds fill in gaps, overlook typos and predict words we haven’t even reached yet. This phenomenon is enhanced even further when you already have an expectation for what’s on the page – for example, you’ve already read a book or, even worse, you’re proofreading a blog post you wrote yourself.
No matter how good a blog writer is at writing or how deep their technical knowledge of the English language (or any other language) may be, it is next to impossible for anyone to always proofread their own writing with 100% accuracy.
When translating blog content into other languages, the proofreading and editing process is a little different. Once the initial translation is complete, the content is usually put through a process called post-editing where translators check everything is ready for publishing – so this is essentially the proofreading stage for translation.
In some cases, it might be more apt to adapt certain aspects of blog content in order to make it more relevant to each audience. For example, when the original content references the local economy and includes statistics to support the discussed points, editing is often required so that the piece can refer to the target audience’s local economy.
This content adaptation – or localisation – plays a similar role to editing, but the focus is on maximising relevance for each language audience. So it’s not so much about editorial style, although this can be localised too.
Does your blog content need editing and proofreading?
If you feel your blog content needs editing and proofreading, get in touch with us and our team of editors and proofreaders will be able to support you and your writers with the provision of professional editing and proofreading services.