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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Why Copy Editing is Crucial

Copylab 18 April 2019

You’re writing your masterpiece: a commentary on your stock’s astronomical dividend, a tagline for the brochure of your firm’s newest fund, a marketing report on the company’s Google Analytics, a heartfelt text to your spouse in a last-ditch effort to save the marriage – whatever. This is the best thing you have ever written.

You hit ‘Send’ and launch it into the realm of judgment (or, as less anxious people like to call it, ‘the public’). You decide to bask in the glow of your genius and reread this absolute labour of the soul, but then you see it: the error. The typo. The mistake. The siren blaring, “HOW CAN YOU TRUST _______ WITH ANYTHING IF THEY CAN’T CONTRACT ‘YOU ARE’?” And that will be the masterpiece over. Not finished – over. It won’t be remembered for the Don Draper tagline or the pulchritudinous way you said the fund rose over the quarter. It will be thought of as the time you referred to the loan’s moral fibre when discussing its “principle”. Even in front of an audience of the kindest readers, that error will still share a stage with the work. It will never be a 100% success. It will never be a masterpiece.

For those readers who won’t forgive you, why should they? Your portfolio company was bought by Apple, your marketing degree led you to Rocks Your Stocks, you knew Sheila’s middle name was Elisabeth with an ‘s’ before you wrote “My darling Sheila Elizabeth…” – you had the resources and the forethought to do all of these things. So why did you overlook their presentation and, therefore, your own credibility as someone who can handle things?


Editing is critical, especially in business publishing. It’s the last line of defence against any sliver of doubt about you and/or your company, because there is room for doubt when there is lack of care. In job postings, one of the most commonly desired qualifications is ‘attention to detail’. No company – or client – wants to pay a premium for a service if it’s not of the highest quality, and the quality of a product isn’t high if, upon receiving it, you have to put it in yet another pair of hands because the first one didn’t pay attention. Benjamin Franklin said “Time is money”, so even that passing around is going to cost you, and you’re still going to get less than what you paid for.

When a company’s process is as transparent as possible – you send it to us, we write it, we edit it, we send it back to you fully completed – you trust that process, and you trust that company. You continue working with people you trust because they’ve never given you a reason, even a disorganised paragraph, to doubt what they will do for you and how they will make you look. They deliver (before a deadline). They don’t place you on a very popular type of listicle, nor do they suspiciously cause you to explain your mistake, and credibility, to the world.

It’s no coincidence that I’m a Copylab copy editor now directly referring to the talent of Copylab’s copy-editing department. Copylab does write it, edit it and send it back to you fully completed, but we also edit your already written work, your emails and your marketing materials. If you want something looked at, we will look at it. If we can help you finish a masterpiece, we will tell you about it. Consider this an error-free message.