Content Writer

What are the 5 best types of freelance editing jobs?

7 Mins read

Here are the five best freelance editing jobs you can look for:

1. Proofreaders

2. Copy editors

3. Developmental editors

4. Manuscript evaluation

5. Line editors

If you are an avid fan of a particular sport – say football, you’ll most often notice simple mistakes as the players move around the pitch. However, when you try to play yourself, you’re most likely to make such mistakes too. The thing is, as humans, we are easily prone to making simple mistakes, which we may not even realize until someone else points them out. This notion gave birth to editing jobs, which are now considered full-time careers, unlike years ago, when it was a sub-section of the primary role.

When writing your own content, such as an article for your blog, you may be too tired to notice the many minor mistakes in your writing. At times, you may decide to rely on some of the best spell-check tools used by freelance content writers, but these too aren’t always completely accurate. The best option would be to have your friends or colleagues go through your document for you and pick out some of the errors you missed earlier.

While this type of editing would come in handy, it isn’t the only route you would take should you decide to become a professional editor. There are many other editing jobs out there that you could either do full-time or become a freelancer.

What exactly do editors do?

Whenever you mention to people that you are an editor, most of them will picture you as someone who scrutinizes a paper or writing, using their red-inked pen. Well, while some editors take the traditional approach, others employ some quite advanced methods. However, regardless of the technique used, editors are generally people who fix, tweak, and enhance the content others create to make it more exciting and up to the standards required.

The advice and invaluable corrections made by these professionals to your content can turn a boring piece into a flourish. You can now find editors in various settings, basically anywhere content creation is the norm. For instance, you can find them at newspaper or magazine publishing companies, digital marketing agencies, or online through freelancing platforms.

Things have rapidly changed regarding the requirements for one to succeed in this field, as a degree in journalism is no longer a requirement. All that one needs is to garner the relevant experience and become an expert skilled in the correct grammar, not only based on the spoken version but also the spelling and the flow of the story.

When it comes to content writing, having an editor is as important as the actual pixel-to-screen process. This is because they have the expertise to turn whatever incoherent jumble of words are there into credible and understandable prose. The type of work you may have to do as an editor is dependent on the scope of the project. However, any company, agency, or individual who wants to write professional copy will require an editor’s services.

What are the different types of editors?

Selecting the right type of editor or the correct career path to follow is not as daunting as it appears. All you need is to pick a niche you’re more comfortable with and the services you can best offer to people. Here are the five most popular freelance editing jobs that you can take up in 2021:

1. Proofreaders

There are many types of editing jobs that one can take up. However, proofreading is probably the most common of them all. Proofreading is referred to by some people as the final stage that a piece takes before publishing. In some way, the content goes through other forms of editing before it is proofread and then posted or shared with the consumers.

Proofreaders usually fix the content by highlighting the mistakes in grammar and punctuation. The direction of the story or the flow of the piece is usually not the proofreader’s concern as they don’t mainly focus on the ‘relevance’ bit but the ‘readability’ aspect. At times, proofreaders may offer feedback regarding the quality of content and other avenues to develop the piece.

If you’re looking for the most straightforward freelance editing job online, then setting your authority as a proofreader would land you more gigs much faster. Almost every person concerned about the punctuation of their work, the spelling, grammar mistakes, etc., will look for a professional proofreader. It doesn’t matter which type of content it is, as a proofreader will edit any piece, from articles to resumes.

2. Copy editors

Just like proofreaders, copy editors will go through your articles or content and highlight (or edit out) grammar errors, punctuation mistakes, and issues in spelling. Copy editors, however, go beyond just that.

They also ensure that your content has the relevance it needs – from portraying the correct image, passing the right message, having a good flow, etc. Copy editors come in handy to website owners or those who wish to send out marketing copy and need it to pass the right message depending on their target audience.

3. Developmental editors

Just as the name suggests, developmental editors are key in the entire development of the content, from the inception to the deployment phase. These editors will collaborate with the content writers to create the articles’ overall structure, including how it is to be planned, organized, etc.

There are also other considerations such as the tone of voice, character development, flow of the story, and many others. In a nutshell, developmental editors are concerned about the general and overall overview of the content instead of only focusing on specific matters such as grammatical errors.

4. Manuscript evaluation

If you want to get a professional’s thoughts on your work before you publish it, you should get manuscript evaluation services from a seasoned freelance editor. These professionals will go through your work and offer feedback based on their findings. These findings will provide you with ideas on the next steps to undertake.

If the feedback from the manuscript evaluation sounds good, then you may only need to take your document through a proofreader who’ll, thereafter, highlight the various required changes in terms of grammar and flow.  If your project’s general evaluation requires more work, you should receive a report guiding you on the next steps to undertake to ensure that your piece is in a publishable state.

5. Line editors

Think of a line editor as one that reviews content line by line, without just scanning the entire document at once. Also referred to as substantive editors, line editors go beyond the work done by copy editors to address clarity and style. Apart from just pointing out the issues within a document, line editors will also perform moderate re-phrasing up to re-writing entire paragraphs to make the piece readable and in line with all the set rules.

Substantive editors will consider factors such as pacing, run-on sentences, the use of fluff within the work, cliches, etc. Even though line editors aren’t so concerned with punctuation and the correct use of grammar, many of them can’t help but correct whatever they deem necessary.

However, you should note that after passing your work through a line editor, you may also need to get a copy editor to go through your work. Sounds like a daunting task, right? Well, many clients will have done some soul-searching, questioning whether they need only to run their work through peers or get the advice of a professional editor. This is why it is essential to understand what each type of editor does so that you may not miss out on such opportunities, as clients will always go for someone who has a working knowledge of all fields.

While these five types of editing jobs are the most popular, most people often don’t understand their career progression. Even if you’re working as a freelancer, you will still have hopes of career progression wherever you get employed. To understand better what awaits you, we have compiled a list of the main categories of work as an editor to get you started.

Here is a summary of editorial jobs at a typical online publication or magazine company:

Editor-in-chief or editor

The editor-in-chief is responsible for the entire editorial content of the company. Just like the CEO would, the editor-in-chief is the ‘boss’ of the editorial team and would delegate tasks and responsibilities to other team players. If you are a freelance content writer, the article ideas and pitches are usually passed to the editor-in-chief, who then decides whether they will approve or disapprove it.

Managing editor

The managing editor is like the COO (chief operations officer). They are tasked with running the company’s day-to-day activities and would report directly to the chief editor. Managing editors are the direct supervisors of other departmental staff such as content writers and other junior editors. Managing editors can also write and edit special projects and work on feature articles.

Support Staff

Depending on how large the company is, you can also have other editors within the same department. Some can take up titles such as senior, associate, assistant, and specialty editors. This category of editors sometimes doubles up as staff content writers and would create relevant content as tasked by their managers.

Getting started as a freelance editor

Are you looking to work at a magazine or as a freelance editor? Do not get overwhelmed by the thousands of ‘know it all’ websites online that can discourage you from achieving your dream. You do not have to obtain a degree or higher education to become an editor, so this shouldn’t hold you back.

All you need is a knack for grammar and excellent language and communication skills. Relevant certifications will be a plus if you decide to pursue this career path with the intention of getting to top management at some point.

The first step to take would be to look for an internship position, preferably a paid editorial or writing gig. You’ll stand to gain lots of experience and tips to help you understand the trade’s secrets. Secondly, ensure to keep tabs on some of the best platforms to get freelance editorial jobs where you get well compensated for your services.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How many types of content editors are there?
There are many types of content editor jobs that one can take up. Some of the most popular ones include proofreaders, copy editors, line editors, developmental editors, and line editors.

Q: Can you do editing jobs as a freelancer?
Yes. With increased internet usage, people have developed a remote working culture. This means you can work as an editor from whichever part of the world in the comfort of your home.

Q: What are the requirements for one to become an editor?
Unlike a couple of years back, one doesn’t need to have a degree in journalism or its equivalent to become an editor. All you need is basic education certificates and a good knack for grammar and excellent communication skills. However, certifications in the same field would be an added advantage.

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