There are many reasons for outsourcing some of the work on an editorial project – whether it’s an annual report, marketing materials, a brochure or content on your website or app. If your organisation doesn’t have professional editors, proofreaders or copy-editors in-house it’s sensible to outsource the work, because professionals can save you time and streamline the entire process, giving you peace of mind that your message will be clear and your words will be error-free.
At Accuracy Matters we have been providing these services to a long list of public and private sector organisations since 2012 – that’s 10 years in business! – and we’ve learned a lot about the process. Many organisations looking to outsource proofreading or editing require some guidance in the beginning, so we’ve compiled a list of top 10 tips which we hope will be helpful.
- Set clear objectives and a strict timeline for the work. Setting a deadline and working backwards is often a good way to begin.
- Agree your budget – more iterations on the work will work out more expensive so make sure you brief in detail and talk through your budget with your editor/proofreader. They will be able to sense check it to make sure you’ll meet your outcomes.
- Get your timing right: make sure you’re not getting in touch too early on the project – and the material isn’t yet ready to be worked on – or too late and there isn’t time for the work to be done.
- Make sure your timeframe takes into account every stage you’ll need to go through, from research to writing, redrafting, layout and final checks.
- Decide how many iterations you’ll need for the job – and find out whether this matches your budget.
- Find the right editorial professional for your needs. Sometimes you will need to focus on a particular specialism but most good editors and proofreaders are excellent generalists. That said, it’s always helpful to find someone you click with: the right person should get a feeling quickly for what it is you want to communicate, and the best way it can be done.
- Communication is key: make sure you know what you want and have briefed clearly on the work.
- Provide or develop a style guide and also try to choose a dictionary from which you want to work.
- If you’re working in a team — on a presentation for example – make sure you agree on a single point of contact to take responsibility for the editorial brief, style guide, amendments and resolving queries.
- Always pause to review and evaluate the project afterwards, to see what went right and what could have gone better, and amend your plan for next time.
For more detailed tips on briefing for an editorial project, and working with outsourced editorial services download our free checklists, which explain the process of briefing in detail for proofreading, copy-editing and editing jobs.
If you have any further questions about outsourcing an editorial service, do get in touch with us – email email@example.com – and we’ll be happy to help.
Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash