Proofreading Course: Copy editing


Our proofreading course explains what copy editing involves and the importance of editing copy for the intended reader and purpose.

What do copy editors edit?

Some copy editors work in advertising agencies as part of a team. They deal with written words (copy), while artists and graphic designers handle images.

However, they are also to be found working for magazines, websites, newspapers, businesses, charities and public authorities of all kinds.

The work may include editing:

  • Posters and adverts.
  • Leaflets, competitions, adverts, mailshots and brochures.
  • Advertising features.
  • Advertorials.
  • Scripts or jingles for TV and radio.
  • Business material: reports, letters, corporate communications.
  • Newsletters.
  • Marketing and sales proposals.
  • Press releases.
  • Content for the web.
  • Manuals and handbooks.
  • Research papers and dissertations.
  • Sales and promotional literature.
  • Letters.

The challenge is to edit the copy so that it:

  • Is error free.
  • Follows house style.
  • Is consistent with the publication’s or author’s “voice”.
  • Can be clearly understood by the target reader.
  • Clearly conveys the prime purpose of the text.

Copy editors usually receive a brief that gives background information on the client, their product(s) and the target audience. So, in some respects, copy editors are a “reader’s friend” and they edit the copy with a reader in mind.

They make sure it is suitable for them in terms of its language, content, presentation, etc.

There needs to be a close relationship between the copy editor and the artists and graphic designers if the final product uses words and images.

Copy editors often work on several briefs at once. Another aspect of the work is attending meetings with colleagues, clients and suppliers.

So, they must get used to working to tight deadlines and must be ready, when necessary, to work long hours including evenings and weekends.

See our proofreading course