Not all editors are the same, and some editors have opted to specialise in specific topics or niche areas of work. Some editors may therefore only accept work in the field that they have chosen to specialise in. For this reason it is important to look for an editor that will work with your topic. Highly specialised and technical documents may require advanced expertise and you will need to look for a skilled editor in the field particularly when you need someone to review research, medical and complex writing. For professional editing, corporates tend to seek editors who have experience in their field of operation as they will have hands on experience with the industry and have an understanding of how the market response to specific messaging.
In addition to finding an editor who meets your technical editing needs, it is necessary to make a professional connection. Editors serve their clients and need to edit accordingly. Successful editors will take the time to understand the purpose of the copy they are editing and support their clients in making sound judgement calls on what editorial changes are necessary. Editors will ask the following questions to help guide the task of editing:
- What is the purpose of the information and message?
An editor will need to understand why the information has been created. Information must be produced with intent otherwise there can be no purpose to distributing it or putting it out for public consumption. Corporate messaging is usually intended to share important information, to elicit a purchase or to respond to a dynamic.
- Who is the target audience?
Identifying the target audience is an important step prior to editing any piece of copy. Editors need this to ensure that the language and jargon used is appropriate for the copy and that readers will understand and resonate with the message. Target audiences can be vast and located across the world. This makes this question very important. Types of information are constructed in different ways for different audiences. Audiences well versed in the specific topic can be experts in themselves and downplaying language can have the consequence of making the reader feel patronised. The editor will be able to help the writer pitch the language correctly so that it is well received and makes the necessary impact.
- What is the desired response you wish to receive from your audience?
All information should be distributed with intent. For example, a fiction novel is intended to entertain the reader whereas a technical document could be distributed as a user guide. Each with a specific desired response. A fiction writer will want to successfully entertain the reader so that they become a fan and trustingly engage in purchasing other novels, or to receive a good review. A company who publishes their annual results will want to be regarded favourably by shareholders so that it can continue grow profitably. A service provider advertising a new service will want to create a direct purchase response. At each instance this is important information for an editor as the copy will need to be constructed in such a way that the reader understands the required response and thus can engage accordingly.
In addition to these fundamental questions, the copy writer and editor will need to establish a symbiotic relationship. The editor being a service provider will need to provide a service that meets the needs of the writer and the writer will need to feel confident that the editor is skilled and sufficiently professional to do so.