How Copywriters Should Work With Editors

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Tips for New Copywriters

This post is geared to copywriters new to the field; experienced copywriters already know what I’m about to discuss.

The Editor: A Copywriter’s Best Friend

The most important thing to keep in mind when approaching a working relationship with an editor is that the editor is there to help you succeed.

Cultivating this attitude can be challenging, as the editor is the person who criticizes your work, changes it, adds to it, and (most vexing of all) cuts chunks of it away.

This tweaking or wholesale revising of my work used to annoy me — until I learned to take a step back and look at it objectively. The fact was, while edits temporarily bruised my ego, they also made my work better: A good editor adds clarity and concision to your work and makes sure it will have maximum impact on the target audience.

A stronger finished product makes for results and therefore a more successful career. Keep this in mind; take edits in the spirit with which they are intended.

Editors Have It Tough

By nature, writers are often rather introverted and sensitive. And because editors tend to have an abrupt, harsh communication style, writers may bristle and even be offended.

So keep in mind, editors have a difficult and usually thankless job. They are under enormous deadline pressure, and besides trying to keep you happy and productive, editors also have to answer to organizational leadership and clients — as well as coordinate workflow with proofreaders, web designers, web developers, production managers and publishers.

Not easy! The key here is never to take edits or communication personally. The goal is to create and publish content that is successful. You and your editor have a common goal.

Give Editors What They Want

The writer-editor relationship is much like that between an actor and a director. The actor gets the spotlight, but behind the scenes, the director can make or break the performance. And as with a director, the editor is really the one who runs the show. A good actor, one who earns a reputation for being easy to work with, gets first pick for the best roles. Put yourself in position to advance and get the best assignments by giving editors what they need:

  • Finish assignments on time. Never miss a deadline.
  • Thank editors for their edits! Let them know you appreciate their help.
  • If you need clarification on an edit, ask. Editors are not offended by requests intended to button down an assignment, but they will be aggravated by guesswork that results in a sloppy end product.
  • Respond to questions quickly. Editors have mountainous inboxes; don’t add to their follow-up pile.

Over to You

For experienced and new copywriters alike, I’d love to hear your advice for working with editors — please share.

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