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Don’t Fear the Editor: An Expert Support Team in One Professional

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 by Lisa S.

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You’re a marketing expert, not a writer. In any case, whatever your job title, odds are good that you don’t exactly look forward to handing your writing over to an editor. Maybe it’s the memory of a particular red-pen-wielding third-grade teacher, or a particularly embarrassing typo in an important presentation. Or maybe you’re just a human being who likes to get things right the first time.

I get it. As a writer and an editor, I’ve spent a lot of time on both sides of that often-fraught relationship. To bring my most creative self to my writing, I need to lock my inner editor in her cage. And to do my best work as an editor, I must channel my inner perfectionist—the one who derives inordinate pleasure from a perfectly loaded dishwasher.

(Maybe I should have titled this piece “Editors: Not actually as neurotic as we seem.”)

Hmm. Let’s start over.

When it’s working, the relationship between writer and editor can be incredibly rewarding for both parties. Think of your editor as containing multitudes—an extensive team of experts devoted to helping your work shine. Just a few of the roles we take on in the course of the job:

  • Midwife: Especially on larger projects, editors help clients gestate and shape ideas, guiding them through the writing process and toward the births of healthy finished pieces.
  • Coach: Sometimes you need a good pep talk, and sometimes you need to be told to “drop and gimme twenty.” A good editor knows how to motivate each writer in ways that get results.
  • Architect: Are there holes in your argument? Too much space allotted for points A and B, with C given short shrift? An editor views each written piece in its entirety, making sure it’s complete, well balanced, and structurally sound.
  • Ventriloquist: Maybe you know what you want to say, but not how to say it. The best editors have empathetic superpowers—the ability to refine and rework each piece of a client’s writing so it reflects the writer’s voice (or, in the case of marcom writing, the voice of the business or organization).
  • Butler, housekeeper, polisher of the silver: This is where the dishwasher jujitsu comes in. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, adherence to your chosen style guide: We polish each line until everything shines.

And if none of that works? You have my permission to imagine your editor much as I am now, in a ripped T-shirt and old yoga pants, hunched over my laptop with a cold cup of tea at my side. No red pen in sight. My hair’s sticking up a bit on one side, where I’ve been pulling at it as I think. I’m going over each word of my favorite client’s latest work one more time, helping to make it the best it can be.

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Naming Matters: Eschew the Fancy “E”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Laurel

  I was traveling on a train recently and I found myself staring at the station sign at Bay Pointe, the name of a new housing development. Is it pronounced “bay point” or “bay point-ee” or “bay point-ay?” I wondered. Who decided on that spelling? What’s the deal with that Fancy E? Adding that superfluous […]

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Purple Throwback Thursday: 5 Things Content Marketers Can Learn from Prince

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Kate

The beautiful Purple One is, sadly, gone. His most enduring legacy will be his virtuoso guitar playing followed by fabulous showmanship in a killer wardrobe. But there are other ways Prince left his mark, and content marketers could learn a thing or two from him in our own work. Stories and visual prose are more […]

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6 Best Practices for Working With an Outside Content Provider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 by Eric

I’ve been creating marketing content for clients small and large for more than 20 years. Most of the projects I’ve worked on have been enjoyable and even fun. Occasionally, though, things have turned south, putting an unpleasant taste in the mouths of everyone involved—client and content provider alike. To optimize the return on your investment […]

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Distance Makes the Writer Grow Fonder of Editors—Or, Bringing It Home with the TZ Advantage

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 by Lucy A.

For millennia, members of families—blood and work—lived mostly in the same area and were impacted considerably when one of their own struck out for distant pastures. But now that we’ve become wedged in the ethereal arms of technology, distance is a snap to negotiate. Electronic devices make it almost too convenient to move all forms […]

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Beyond the Style Guide, The Business of Copywriting

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What Format Should We Use: Adobe InDesign or Microsoft PowerPoint?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 by Allison and Todd

  “In the end, we want a PDF—but should we create it in InDesign or PowerPoint?” It’s a question frequently asked around here, and the answer is always the same: “It depends.” When deciding on an asset format, we ask our clients to consider the following: Design sophistication: Do you want a beautiful, slick, professional […]

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The Oxford Comma Argument Rages On

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 by Chris

“Nothing, but nothing—profanity, transgender pronouns, apostrophe abuse—excites the passion of grammar geeks more than the serial, or Oxford, comma,” according to The New Yorker. Much like asking creative types if they put one space or two after a period, demanding they pick a side in the serial-comma debate can spark fistfights, especially now that we’ve […]

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Vector or Raster = Huh?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 by Michelle

You’ve received a request for a vector logo file from the Content Bureau’s graphic designer. If you’re confused about what that means, and about the difference between image file types, you’re not alone. Let’s chat about these two image file types—vector and raster—and discuss how each is used for various marketing collateral. Vector Files Vector […]

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Be a Superstar Reviewer: Four Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Copywriter

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by Ruth

All marketing managers want to get the most from their copywriting budgets. When you hire the Content Bureau, we’ll typically ask you to review up to three drafts of copy. Is there a right way to review B2B copy? Absolutely! For best results, make your feedback the following: Timely. Just like a box of cereal […]

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Give It 20! Or, How to Jump-Start Any Project.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Lucy A.

February is the month where winter goes to die. Sparkling, soft snow has dwindled into gray, crusty blobs, and weary people trudge through their days with little, personal clouds hovering overhead. Gone is that rush of energy delivered in New Year’s happy grasp. It takes all we have to finish that white paper, let alone […]

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