Editing is editing is editing, right? Not exactly. Some editing is big picture work, and some is more detailed.

  • Developmental editing can start before a book (or other project) is ever written. This level of editing involves consulting with the author to help in the planning process, organizing and/or improving the flow of ideas, ensuring consistent structure, and identifying necessary content changes. Developmental editors work closely with an author to create a product that meets the desires of the intended audience while maintaining the author’s vision.
  • Copy editing is a broad term and encompasses different levels of editing. Other terms used are line editing and substantive editing. Here are examples of what each type of copy editing may involve:
    • Light copy editing corrects spelling, grammar and punctuation; checks for incorrect usage; makes sure references and cross-references are correct; and ensures overall consistency in the work.
    • Medium copy editing performs all tasks included in light copy editing, then goes a bit deeper into the text. This level of editing makes sure parallel structure is used, enforces consistent style and tone (especially in texts with multiple authors), changes passive voice to active voice where appropriate, and flags inappropriate or incorrect statements.
    • Heavy copy editing performs all tasks included in light and medium copy editing. The key difference between medium and heavy copy edits is one of judgment; it is closer to developmental editing than true copy editing.

An extensive list of editing tasks can be found on the University of Kansas School of Journalism website: “What is Copy Editing?”


Proofreading is a final review of the manuscript. This task can be one final pass of the text before typesetting and/or comparing the manuscript and typeset copy for any variations. A proofreader checks for type specifications, looks for typesetting problems such as kerning, margins, or word spacing and breaks.

Copy Writing

If you’ve read an advertisement, you’ve read a piece of copy writing. Getting a reader’s attention and persuading the reader to act is the focus of copy writing. Writing compelling copy can be tricky because if your reader—your customer—thinks you are not being honest or authentic, he or she will lose faith in your product or service. When a copy writer focuses on the reader’s needs or wants instead of the company’s desired outcome, that’s success.

Content Management

You manage a business. You manage your business’ finances. If you have employees, you manage them. Where does that leave your online presence? If it’s constantly taking a backseat to your other responsibilities, it might be time to let someone else manage it. A content manager ensures that your business’ online presence keeps up with its real-life presence through blog posts, social media updates, and email communication. Connect with your customers where they will find you—online. Here are some examples of content management tasks:

  • Write and update content for a website or blog.
  • Create a schedule (editorial calendar) for blog and social media posts.
  • Interact with customers and build a following on social media.
  • Create email marketing campaigns.
  • Analyze and track success of strategies; adjust where necessary.