I’ve been playing the copy game for a while now, and those four little words have been bugging me more and more.
When a client gives me writing to edit rather than asking me to create it from scratch, they probably think they’re making my life easier. Sometimes they think it’ll save time. Sometimes they’re so close to the job they just don’t want to let go. I can understand it.
Editing can work really well – perhaps if the text already exists and just needs the tone of voice to be updated, or if the content is very technical, or needs legal approval. In most cases though, I’d argue it’s far better to give your writer the information they need and let them do their expert thing. Here’s why:
It will save you time
You really don’t need to worry about writing proper sentences, or the order messages appear in, or, heaven forbid, grammar. I’m here to do all of that. Give me a list of points that need including, and give me some background about your business, your customers and how you want to be perceived (we’ll cover all of that in the brief). And trust me – I’ll make it sound great.
You’ll get a better piece of writing
It’s easy to be distracted when you’re editing. It’s like trying to paint a picture over someone else’s artwork – you’d be far better off with a blank canvas. By letting a professional writer work on the very first draft, you’re giving them more freedom, which often equals better output.
Editing can make things harder
You might write a sentence your writer doesn’t understand. If that’s all they have to go on, it’s really hard for them to turn that into something a reader would connect with. A far better approach is to explain everything to them in the first place, in your own words, so that they can draft it in theirs.
Writing from scratch won’t necessarily take longer
It may be hard to believe, but there really isn’t that much difference. If I had to choose between a paragraph that needed rewriting, or a list of bullet points to be covered in a paragraph, I’d choose the latter every time.
In any other profession, this approach would feel unfeasible. You wouldn’t knock up a chair with a few bits of wood, then take it to a furniture maker and ask them to turn it into a better one. Trust your writer to understand what you want, and you’ll both get a lot more out of it.