Tag Archives: website editing

Editor’s Perspective: Why Hire an Editor?

Hire an EditorThe work that editors do is sometimes undervalued. Of course, as a professional editor, I may be a little biased, but if people could see the work that goes on behind-the-scenes—before a brochure, a book, or even a website is published—they would see the amazing contributions editors make. (Heck, before I post these posts, they go through several iterations to get them just right.)

If you’re on the fence about whether to hire an editor for your next brochure, book, website, blog post, or other writing project, consider these five reasons why hiring an editor is worth it.

1. To get a better product and save time. Whatever you’re writing, after you have an editor review it, the copy should be in an even better state than it was before. An editor may even save you time in the long run, since you don’t have to spend time reviewing your writing for the umpteenth time.

2. To catch errors you might miss. This may seem obvious, but good editors have a keen attention to detail. They see things the writer may not see. With a fresh pair of eyes, an editor will catch any typos you may have overlooked, word usage and spelling errors your word processor’s spelling and grammar check didn’t catch, and gaps in the information presented.

3. To ensure your readers will understand what you write. A good editor will approach your work from the vantage point of your target audience. For example, if you’re writing for teens, but reference the “Saved By The Bell” TV show or “CD-ROMs,” an editor can kindly suggest using more appropriate examples the audience can relate to. If you’re writing for genealogy beginners and you use the acronym FHL, the editor may suggest spelling out the full name of the Family History Library on the first reference so the reader knows what the acronym means.

Plus, if a sentence (or paragraph) just doesn’t make sense, an editor can suggest a way to rewrite it so readers can understand what you’re trying to say.

4. To focus your writing. Sometimes when I write, I do so much research and get so much great information that I just want to put it all in one article. It’s difficult to leave great stuff on the cutting room floor. But overloading a communication piece or article with too many words or too much information could dilute your message and its impact.

An editor can take an objective look at what you’ve written and then suggest places where you can make it more concise, where the focus needs to be shifted to have a greater impact, or where you can re-organize paragraphs to help the copy flow better.

5. To ensure consistency. You’ve seen me blog about consistency and editorial style before, but this is key in creating professional-quality communications materials or publications. For example, do you want to use email or e-mail? Should quotations be attributed with said or says? Do you capitalize job titles?

An editor can make sure the voice and style is consistent throughout your digital or print publication.

Interested in hiring an editor? Contact Dana’s Creative Services to discuss your project and your editing needs.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

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College Marketing: How Does Your College’s Online Presence Compare?

College WebsitesOn average, it costs colleges and universities $1,641 (not including admissions staff salaries and benefits) to recruit a student through enrollment, according to the recent 2013 State of College Admission report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

In the same report, colleges ranked the university’s website as one of the top three most important aspects in their new student recruitment strategy. Even though websites (and even other online tools such as blogs and social media) are considered important, not all colleges and universities are using them to their fullest potential.

So how does your school’s online presence compare to other colleges and universities? Let’s check out some more stats from the NACAC 2013 State of College Admission report to see how your online presence stacks up.

1. Content for parents and guidance counselors. We know it’s ultimately the student’s decision where to go to college, but parents and high school guidance counselors (particularly at private schools) are big influencers (whether the students admit it or not). However, only 85 percent of colleges and universities reported offering information on their website tailored to parents of prospective students and only 68 percent said they offer information for high school counselors.

Does your website have information for parents? How about for high school counselors? If you’re in the minority here, you may want to consider adding content directed at those important influencers.

2. Contact methods. Does your website prominently display the school’s phone number as a way to contact the college? If so, you’re not aligning your methods of contact with the ways students and parents prefer to contact schools.

According to the 2013 State of College Admission report, e-mail/Internet is the most popular way for students to contact colleges, with 40 percent of all admission inquiries being received via e-mail or the Internet. Of all the methods used to contact schools (college fairs, high school visits, written sources), phone calls were the least popular method for contacting colleges. So, make sure the admission office’s e-mail address or an online contact form is displayed prominently on your site.

3. Social media tools. The report found that 96 percent of schools provide links to their social networking sites, and an increasing number (52 percent) have blogs by current students. Some colleges even have blogs by admission officers and offer podcasts. What’s your social media presence like? Are you in the 4 percent that doesn’t link to your social media sites? Is anyone from your college blogging?

The report didn’t go into specific social media platforms used by colleges and universities, but many news outlets have covered how the social media tools used by teens are changing. Some studies show teens are moving away from Facebook, and moving toward other social media tools like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. In fact, a recent survey shows that Twitter is now more popular with teens than Facebook. Is your school in the online places where your target audience is spending time?

4. Visibility of online application. How easy is it to find (and fill out) your online application? In our technology-driven world and with the change from targeting Millenials to Generation Z (aka “digital natives”), online applications are becoming increasingly important. According to the 2013 State of College Admission report, for the Fall 2012 admission cycle, four-year colleges and universities receive 89 percent of their applications online, an increase from the previous two admission cycles.

If a link to your online application isn’t prominently located on your college website, now’s the time to make a change.

Hopefully these insights from the 2013 State of College Admission report will help you as you evaluate the state of your current online presence, maintain your college website, and determine where to put your resources (particularly valuable staff time).

Image credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

Mount Mary Website Redesign

Higher Education Web ContentMy colleagues at Mount Mary University (formerly Mount Mary College) launched the redesign of their website early in September. The university completely revamped its website, including all of the content.

I assisted the university with its website project by writing several pages of content and editing copy for a majority of pages on the new website. Check out the redesigned university website. Particularly see the Fast Facts, About Milwaukee, A Women’s University and Academic Excellence pages, which I wrote for the site.

If you’d like to see samples of pages I edited (original content vs. edited content), please contact me.