Developmental Editing vs. Copy Editing & Why It's Essential

3 Reasons Why Developmental Editing is Essential for Blogs & Other Long-Form Content

by | Feb 27, 2017 | Copy Editing

When it comes to fiction, publishers, writers, and editors are well aware of the deep structural importance of story structure, description, and flow. In the era of self-publishing and the misperception of nonfiction as ‘dry’ and uninspiring, content producers do not consider developmental editing as often as they should.
This is an antiquated way of thinking, especially when it comes to digital marketing.
Conveying your knowledge and enthusiasm with clarity is essential – and that’s why developmental editing is a crucial part of the content development process.
As copy edits are less expensive, content producers often skimp on the deeper editing services – but for important work representing your corporate and personal brands, it’s just as important to take a look at the structure of your work.
That’s where developmental editing comes into play. Read on for the difference between copy editing and developmental editing, and three reasons why developmental editing works incredibly well for long-form content.
developmental editing

What’s the Difference Between Copy Editing and Developmental Editing?

Copy Editing covers:

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Sentence structure
  • Adherence to language structure or dialect (US English vs. UK English) and elimination of non-native language structure

Developmental Editing covers everything listed above in copy editing, plus:

  • Deep fact checking
  • Flow
  • Clarity
  • Structure
  • Partial rewriting
  • Substantive changes
  • Expert-level scrutiny of esoteric topic or industry
  • Remarks on the value of the content
  • Thorough checks for consistency
  • Ensuring the digital content is written around a focus keyword for optimal SEO
  • Match established brand voice and tone

Why Should You Consider Developmental Editing for Whitepapers, Ebooks, and Long Blog Posts?

If you’re an industry leader or looking to become one, you need top professional content in your category.
You want engaging and knowledgeable content more likely to rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages) – or even better, Google knowledge graph placement, which positions you as the authority on any given topic.
For example, here’s my book, So You Think You Can Write?, ranking in the Knowledge graph:
knowledge graph ranking example
Your competition’s editorial process probably doesn’t include carefully structured content.
As you can probably guess, this can give you a further advantage when it comes to search engine placement and general helpfulness to prospective customers.
Great content may outperform advertising when it comes to ROI. More #contentdevelopment tips: Click To Tweet
According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Kraft found content marketing to be four times more valuable than targeted advertising. With that value, you should put your best content out there – and that means polished, engaging work.

Do You Need Developmental Editing?

During the content development and discovery process, we find that many prospective Express Writers’ customers aren’t sure about what type of services they need. Some have general ideas and need help getting them onto the page.
Others have a fully developed piece of long-form content and need a thorough edit.
Based on these common conversations, here’s a handy chart to help you get exactly what you need out of Express Writers:

If you have: You need (click to visit):
Outline of blog post Blog post
Structured content with the right ideas in the right order, but worry about grammar Line editing
A final piece of content, but need help with the structure of the piece Developmental editing
A great idea, but you need to consult with a writer or editor first One hour interview

Still not sure what you need? Book a time with our Client Specialist and we will point you in the right direction! We’ll discuss your content, ideas, and business goals to make sure you get the right services for your needs. 
developmental and copy editing cta

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