What is content consulting?

You are here because you've reached a plateau with your content. Maybe you have a fantastic training program—but the content is currently stored mostly in staff members' brains. Maybe you offer an important suite of resources to your clients—but you are beginning to see consistency issues as you grow. Maybe you are an author ready to share your manuscript with a seasoned editor.

Writing is about ideas, information, and emotion. Editing is about clarity, delivery, and authenticity. There are many types of writing, and many types of editing, and many different stages in both of these iterative processes. Click or scroll to help you define what you're looking for:

Content evaluation/organization

Developmental editing

Line editing

Copyediting

Proofreading

Also on this page, learn more about our work together and what you can expect when you contact me.

Image by Leon
 

Content evaluation

Content has a way of getting wily. Maybe you're new and growing fast, adding content even as your voice, standards, and internal processes change. Or maybe you've been around a while and are beginning to realize that your "system" for content organization—that is, folks' personal memory and habit—is not easily transferable or measurable.

I can conduct a thorough content review, pull out the standards and best-practice protocols you may or may not have even known were in there, and identify anchors of quality and effectiveness.

I will provide you with tools and frameworks for being able to create more of the content you want, later. You will have taken an essential step for creating and maintaining high-quality, accessible content for your staff and clients.

 

Developmental editing

Developmental editing is a broad category. I like to break it down into two main buckets: 1) original content development; and 2) substantial editing or advice on a piece of writing.


In the first bucket, I receive specifications from you—maybe a detailed outline, maybe just an idea and a page count—and I produce original content. When I do nonfiction writing or curriculum development for kids and adults, or copywriting for for-purpose businesses, this work falls under developmental editing.

In the second bucket, you, the author, have great ideas but seek help bringing them to life in writing. A developmental edit helps establish such things as organization, focus, consistency, and tone. For example, your article might benefit from reorganization so its readers can follow it more intuitively, or your children's book might shine extra bright with some work around pacing and word sounds. 

 

Line editing

You've gotten your ideas onto (digital) paper, worked them into shape, and reviewed the results a couple times over. The results look pretty good to you, but you know they can be brought  from good to great. You're ready for a skilled look at organization, style, and usage qualities such as pacing, word choice, clarity, flow, and consistency in tone.


Another fantastic editor I know, Meghan Pinson of My Two Cents editing, described line editing to me once as "copyediting + poetry - ego." Best description ever.


A line edit makes the difference between being present and being heard, a valuable step for a writer or content provider of any type.

 

Copyediting

The humble copyedit is often misunderstood. It is not just a matter of catching typos and dangling participles (though that's part of it).


A copyedit ensures consistency in terms of conventions, voice, and tense, catches remaining issues with clarity and conciseness, and corrects errors in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and spelling. It also often involves checking links and references.

This work is essential. You don't want your readers to doubt your hard work and expertise because of some sloppy syntax or dead links. 

There is a bit of a continuum among these different editorial definitions, as you may have suspected. A "heavy copyedit" and a line edit are generally the same thing. 

 

Proofreading

A proofread is a check for any typos, stray periods, extra spaces, and the like, to ensure the manuscript is clean. These kinds of errors may easily be introduced in the copyediting process, as tracked changes are accepted and phrases are copy-pasted.

In a proofread, there should be no edits of any substance. Any word- and sentence-level issues would have already been addressed in copyediting and line editing stages. 


Ideally, the proofreader has completely fresh eyes—they have not read the manuscript prior. If this isn't possible, the proofreader should let at least a couple weeks lapse between their last reading and their proofread.

The word "proofreading" used to refer to comparing the typesetter's proof against the typed (or handwritten!) manuscript. These days, manuscripts may be proofread against a prior version, or they may be simply read on their own, perhaps with the copyeditor's style guide for reference.

 
Image by Alissa De Leva

About our work together

The first step is often a brief phone consultation. The goal is to make sure we both understand the scope and nature of the service you need (take a look at the different types of editing if you haven't already).

Usually, a sample edit or content review is the preferred next step. You can see what my work will look like, and I can make targeted suggestions for the approach that might best suit your project. 

I may ask you for any standards or style guides you are using, but if you don't have these or know what this means, don't worry. I can walk you through any related needs. 

I generally use Google Docs or Word. For content evaluation, spreadsheets (Google Sheets or Excel) are useful and powerful tools. 

My editorial review can also include looking for visual consistency and clarity with design elements and formatting of via PDF.

Ready to discuss your project? Contact me and let's talk about your content goals.