A professional writer or editor can bring you huge returns.
by Katy Cloninger
Why should you hire a professional writer or editor? Don’t these people simply do the same work you would do if you just took the time to do it?
The answer is, no!
Like your plumber or car mechanic, professional writers and editors have extensive training in their fields. They have spent countless hours honing their wordsmithing skills. They think about their craft even when they’re not working—maybe even when they’re not awake! They continually read up on new trends or recommendations, expand their knowledge of best practices, and consult with one another when they have questions. After all, writing or editing is their career.
Because of their training and experience, professional writers and editors have much to offer people in other careers. Just like the designer who created your favorite business suit, a professional writer or editor can help you make a terrific first impression on potential clients. Let’s walk through a couple of examples.
Meet Alexis, a young, intelligent, and compassionate chiropractor. Her clients always walk out of her office feeling better, and they can’t help but sing her praises to their friends and relatives. Consequently, Alexis gets most of her new clients by referral.
Alexis has a website, but she knows it’s not pulling in many new customers. She mentions this problem to one of her most loyal clients, who refers her to his sister, a copywriter named Amanda.
Alexis gets in touch with Amanda and explains her philosophy and some basic chiropractic principles. She also invites Amanda to her office so she can see firsthand the cozy little setting she’ll be writing about.
Once Amanda has a clear vision of Alexis’s business, she writes powerful, clear, engaging copy for Alexis’s website, translating the more technical details into everyday language and vividly describing what makes Alexis’s business unique. Soon, Amanda starts to get more customers who have found her through an internet search, and her business begins to grow at an exciting pace.
Now let’s meet Bernice, a 52-year-old health coach. She has written a book about the exercise and eating principles she has found to work best for her clients, who, like her, are achieving their best health in middle age.
Bernice wants to self-publish her book, but she knows that quality is important—for both her and her readers. Another health coach she knows recommends the copyeditor who edited his book, and that’s how Bernice connects with Brenda.
Brenda, who in college majored in journalism and minored in biology, specializes in editing books on health and fitness and is writing a cookbook of her own. Because Brenda knows a thing or two about the subject Bernice has written about, she spots a few errors of fact, which she tactfully flags for Bernice to correct. She also notices that several measurements in the recipes in Bernice’s book don’t look right, so she asks Bernice to double-check them. And of course, she weeds out the usual grammatical and spelling errors anyone can make.
Once Brenda’s editing is complete, Bernice feels confident about self-publishing. She knows her book will clearly and professionally communicate her message to her target audience and build her credibility as a respected health coach.
Business writers and editors exist to make you look good!
There are many kinds of writers and editors who could serve you in different ways. Some writers specialize in writing copy for websites; some write grants; some write brochures; some write ads. Editors are not all alike, either; there are copyeditors, content editors, and line editors, for instance, as well as proofreaders; all of these edit at a different level, and some editors do more than one type of editing.
On top of that, both writers and editors may specialize in a particular field, perhaps combining their knowledge from a previous career or field of study with writing or editing. No matter how unique your business is, you can find a writing or editing professional who works with people like you!
Where can you find the writer or editor you need?
One option is to ask around in your network; you may find that a respected colleague has been consulting a particular writer or editor for years. A simple Google search (“chiropractic copywriter”) may also turn up what you need. If those approaches don’t work, you can search within the many professional organizations for copywriters and/or editors, such as the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.
Though anyone can put a few words on a page or look for typos, hiring a professional writer or editor is a worthwhile investment that can bring you huge returns. If you want to make a good impression on potential clients, don’t turn them off with boring copy, over-technical jargon, or nonstandard grammar. With a good writing or editing professional, you can be confident that your words are working for you.
Katy Cloninger is a freelance copyeditor and writer and the owner of Word-for-Word Copyediting.