Copy Editing Vs. Content Editing – Distinguishing Factors

copy editing vs. content editing – distinguishing factors

Does your text require copy editing or content editing? But aren’t they the same?

This is one of the most common areas where people get confused. There are many writers who think that content editing and copy editing are the same, while some even believe they’re complete opposites. We’re here to differentiate between the two types of editing and highlight what makes them distinct as well as certain similarities that lead to confusion.

What is Copy Editing?

In copy editing, the editor views your book from the perspective of a publishing professional. They look to see if the writing is clear and consistent, if all the details are in place, and if there are any glaring errors. This view takes into account whether or not your manuscript can be published as is, without extensive rewriting. Additionally, the copyeditor also checks grammar and spelling, looks at your citations to make sure they are correctly formatted according to a style guide (for scholarly books), and considers how well your illustrations fit with the text.

What is Content Editing?

In content editing, the editor looks at your book through the lens of the reader experience. They look at the flow of ideas, the strength of evidence, how well each chapter fits into the book’s narrative arc, and how well the language is used to get across your message without being bogged down in cumbersome passages. This view takes into account your intended audience.

In other words, is it written for children? Adults? Do you have a special interest group you need to address (like pastors or teachers, or politicians)? Once these questions are answered, an editor can begin considering whether or not a particular passage is relevant to that audience.

Read More: What is the Difference Between Editing and Proofreading?

Copy Editing vs. Content Editing – The Difference

You will likely find yourself using both types of editor’s services at one time or another while working on a text, so it is important to know their key differences. There are quite a few distinct features when it comes to copy editing vs. content editing, especially in terms of what each editor is responsible for, such as:

Editing Skills

A major difference between copy editing and content editing is the skill level required for both jobs. Copy editors must have strong proofreading skills, be familiar with the AP style, as well as possess an excellent command of grammar and punctuation. Content writers do not necessarily need to be so strict in their writing style. They are primarily concerned with the style and tone of the content penned down. However, both writers use correct spelling and syntax in their writing.


Another difference in copy editing vs. content editing is that copy editors are responsible for ensuring that all facts written in an article are true and relevant to the content. In contrast, content writers must be able to take information from one source and combine it with other information that may be pertinent to the given subject matter.



Copy editors must also check a writer’s work for any typographical errors. It is the copy editor’s job to also ensure that all foreign languages are translated correctly in a publication, and make sure that there are no typographical errors in any written content. Copy editors must be able to recognize and identify when there are technical references to symbols, equations, or scientific notation that may need further explanation or may be confusing to an audience.

For example, a copy editor will change your “big data analytics system” to read “big data analytics tools” because it’s more natural. When your audience sees this, they won’t have to stop and think about the precise meaning of the text.


In copy editing vs. content editing, content editors don’t worry about such things as “stacking” words or phrases to meet the desired column width or leaving out less important material. Their goal is efficiency without sacrificing readability, which both editors can find a grey area in, except for the additional technicalities the copy editor is involved in.


Feedback and how they communicate back differs for content editors and copy editors. If you were to pick up a book written by a content editor, you would have an idea of the process used in working on it. If you picked up a book written by a copyeditor, it would be more of a beat-for-beat copyedit with no outside comments. If you picked up a book written by both, the copy editor would probably provide some guidance on the manuscript that was not attained during the content edit. However, in the end, it is up to each editor to decide whether or not to incorporate that feedback into the final product.

Content Editing vs. Copy Editing – The Similarities

content editing vs. copy editing – the similarities

Similarities between copy editing and content editing include attention to detail, how they work together as a team, how they must know their subjects well to bring out the best in what has already been written, and how they are constantly learning new skills on the job. Copy editors and content editors work with the same raw material, i.e., words on the page. But before they send it off to the printer, their job is to make sure that all of those words are in their best possible light.

Which Editing Do I Need?

Now that you know the key differences between copy-editing vs. content editing, it raises a question regarding which service to opt for. Simply put, if you’re writing content for your website or blog, it’s usually best to get a content editor if you can. A copy editor will be appropriate if there are any major grammatical issues with the text you’ve written or if it’s unclear what you mean. On the flip side, a content editor will be suitable if you’ve written well-written text that just needs a little editing in general and some grammar cleanup.

However, get some copy editing done if you are selling some kind of product and need to be sure that everything reads well with no awkward wording or anything that makes it sound like spammy advertising. In either case, both professionals ensure every word in the document is grammatically correct.

Additionally, to ensure that your manuscript is used as intended, both the content editors and copy editors must visit your article early and often, even before you submit it or once you begin the revision process. A good copy editor will catch small errors and inconsistencies early on, while your content editor will catch larger errors in style and subject matter.

Read More: Revising Vs Editing – All You Need to Know in 2022


You may have noticed that these two duties aren’t all that different in content editing vs. copy editing, as many of their questions and responsibilities overlap. They both look for errors that could cause potential problems to the reader, and both ask a lot of questions about their audience.

If you’re sure of the difference between the two and are looking to hire either a copy editor or content editor, or both, you’re simply just one click away from getting professional editors. You can also find a variety of services and informative content and be familiar with the process of writing for marketing.

What Is the Difference Between Editing and Proofreading?

What Is Editing and How Can You Differentiate It from Proofreading

Have you ever been given a task to proofread a document and confused it with editing? If yes, do not worry, it often tends to happen to the best of us. These two words are sometimes used interchangeably but have very different meanings.

However, they both may work individually or simultaneously to bring about the same results – improving a piece of writing and making it as easy to read as possible. As you read further on, in this article you will find answers regarding these two terminologies and a clear explanation of the difference between editing and proofreading.


Difference Between Editing and Proofreading

Literary and language experts claim that the difference between editing and proofreading is that editing is an art while proofreading is a science, and we agree. Editing helps ensure that the overall quality of the said piece of writing is improved. While proofreading does not make major changes in the text, editing may bring about major changes. Always ask yourself the following questions to know the extent to which your piece needs to be edited.

  • Did you use passive voice to write your piece?
  • Does your article have lengthy sentences and/or unnecessarily repetitive words?
  • Is your article written in the appropriate tone, according to the context?
  • Does your article contain the appropriate vocabulary to convey your message?
  • Could you have used a better persuasive tone to address your argument?

Editing is on a deeper level relative to proofreading. It works in a way to make sure the final product of your writing is comprehensive amongst its audience. Editing requires a close assessment of the content to figure out what is lacking and adjust it accordingly.

Only professionals who have experience in editing pieces of all sorts can know an unusual tone, or the lack thereof, in one read. Their knowledge does not just limit to clarifying text by correcting spelling, grammar, and the general sentence structure, but may also extend to double-checking facts and statistics in some cases. The following is usually categorized under the job of an editor:

  • The modifying tone for impact and consistency
  • Managing layout and graphic inserts in the content
  • Checking for genuineness and validity of facts and statistics mentioned
  • Improving content quality
  • Ensuring a proper word flow
  • Clarifying language and ideas

If for some reason, you don’t want to hire an editor and are inclined towards doing the editing work yourself after writing, we suggest setting your content work aside for at least two days after finishing it. By revisiting your text after days, you will be starting with a fresh mind and will more likely be able to see parts that need editing more clearly.


Difference Between Proofreading and Copy Editing

The difference between proofreading and editing lies mainly amongst their types and methods. Unlike editing, this does not take as much creativity. It is, however, an important step to attaining a writing masterpiece. Proofreading focuses mainly on surface errors and does certainly not go as deep as editing. The surface errors could be as simple as spellings, punctuation, and grammar blunders or a little complex as maintaining consistency of tone, formatting throughout, and perfecting the writing. Although it looks like proofreading is not a demanding job, the proofreader is also expected to be professionally qualified and skilled to identify the tiny errors, which are otherwise ignored by a casual reader.

The tasks commonly performed by a proofreader include:

  • Checking that all links in a piece of content are functional
  • Checking for grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Checking for plagiarism
  • Verifying that the content writing adheres to the appropriate style guide
  • Fixing improper word choices

This proves one of the core differences between editing and proofreading; the proofreader has a much narrower set of tasks, all on the superficial level. Only those who understand the nuances of the English language are qualified to be proofreaders.

The following four types of proofreading practices are available in the market:

1. Academic Proofreading

Academic proofreading includes proofreading the work of students, researchers, and professors in the field of academics. Often researchers and professors need a quick solution to oversee their pieces of writing and proofread last-minute citations, endnotes, footnotes, quotations, and reference lists. With the privilege of hiring academic proofreaders, their content can be properly formatted as per the required style guide.

Academic articles to be published in journals, college applications, essays, personal statements, dissertations, research papers, and statements of purpose benefit a great deal from this type of proofreading. However, in some fields of academia, getting one’s work proofread may be a prohibition, or worse, illegal. These fields may include English literature courses, ESL, etc.

2. Business Proofreading

This includes proofreading the content that is written by business owners or is related to a particular business in any regard. They may involve user manuals, reports, emails, newsletters, press releases, grant proposals, resumes, and blog posts.

Customers are likely to not take your business seriously if your articles have a fair amount of spelling and grammatical errors. Hence, to offer guaranteed products, it is essential for business retailers and owners to ensure that their marketing blogs are published after being thoroughly proofread.

Business proofreading is not just restricted to catering to a group of business dealers. It may also include hiring a second pair of eyes for a job seeker. This type of proofreading not only improves business writing but may also help someone seal their job position by fixing superficial errors in their resume.

3. Print Media Proofreading

Commonly revolving around proper formatting; print media proofreading works best for self-publishing authors or publishers. Typeset documents are technically proofread with a hard copy or PDF. Either way, when those working in the print media department proofread the said document, it may be printed as books and e-books, directories, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, screenplays, etc.

Flagging widows (the short final line of a paragraph that spontaneously appears at the top of the next page), designing appropriate margins, word breaks, and correct page number sequences, ensuring consistent formatting, and double-checking table of contents, indexes, and appendixes are also categorized under the roles of a print media proofreader.

4. Translation Proofreading

This type of proofreading gives us a more vivid idea of the differences between proofreading and copy editing. This type of proofreading involves proofreading a document that has been translated from one language to another. One of the most common examples of this could be translating a document from a google translator or any online service provider and getting sentences that seem a bit off in their sentence structures. With One Content Pro, experience the best translation proofreading services at affordable rates! You may choose from either monolingual or bilingual proofreading, according to your needs.

The language of the original document is known as the source language, while that of the final document is called the target language. A monolingual technical proofreader deals solely with the target language whereas a bilingual technical proofreader works with the source and target language while comparing the original text language with the final one.


The popular trick to achieving the best draft is to edit first and then follow it up with proofreading right before you hand in your work. Now that you know the differences between proofreading and copy editing, ask for help from a friend or anyone who could give you constructive criticism from a different perspective.

If you are looking to hire a professional editor to engage your audience with your content further, check out our professional editing services and get started today! If, however, you are simply looking for someone to technically proofread your work, you may sign up and start a live chat with one of our support staff to guide you through the process.

Revising vs Editing – All You Need to Know in 2022

revising vs editing – all you need to know in 2022

The first draft is rarely ever the final draft. Be it an article, a novel, a blog post, or your mid-term paper, the completion of the rough draft is followed by revising and editing to tighten it up and get rid of all the errors. You want to put forth your best possible work, which makes these phases as important as that of writing the manuscript in the first place.

While these two terms are often interchangeably used, there are significant differences when comparing revising vs editing. They are two distinct steps of finalizing a draft, where revision is followed by editing. In simple terms, revisions make significant changes to a text’s content and structure, while editing addresses minor sentence-level modifications. A more detailed discussion of the difference between editing and revising can be found below.



The first draft of any manuscript is followed by revisions, usually by the author themselves after they have had some time away from the text. Revising is ‘re-seeing’ the manuscript as a whole and taking a second look at the ideas illustrated in the text to assess how sound they are. It focuses on the big picture.

In revising vs editing, the former usually includes modifying large sections of the paper to improve the content, often adding new information to existing paragraphs or completely new paragraphs, removing the vague and unneeded portions, rewriting unclear text, changing the position of the paragraphs. Besides this expansion or narrowing of ideas, sometimes the controlling ideas, focus, thesis, or the central argument may even end up being changed if need be.

The way this works is that revisions address higher-order concerns such as the validity of the thesis statement, the clarity of the arguments, the voice of the author, the organization of the paper, and the extent to which it has successfully accomplished its purpose. To achieve that, they usually begin with asking questions such as:

  • Is the primary intention behind writing the text fulfilled?
  • Was it written with the kind of thinking the task demanded, such as ‘analyze’, ‘argue’, ‘compare’?
  • Are the arguments supported with adequate evidence?
  • Are the rebuttal arguments mentioned and thoroughly discussed?
  • Is the reader cognizant of the importance of the arguments presented?
  • Does the introduction effectively convey the thesis statement or where the text is heading?
  • Is each section of the text in the ideal position?
  • Are the different ideas coherently connected, with a proper chain of thought?

Looking to grow your digital audience?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, the text may need to be rewritten. For example, if the arguments do not feel sound, you may incorporate opposing evidence by citing authors who challenge your points and then refute that by citing additional evidence that disproves them. This will clarify and focus on the arguments presented.

Revising involves viewing the text from a newer perspective, which is another way how revising is different from editing. This newly adopted view is often that of the audience. Besides being convinced by the argument in terms of evidence, do you think the audience will understand the text? For example, if an article is being written for high school students, eliminating professional jargon would be an important revision to consider.

To do the best possible revisions, it is imperative you take some time away from your writing to be able to view it in a newer, neutral light. Feedback and constructive criticism by someone you trust is another asset when it comes to revision, and all this helps you better understand the writing’s strengths and weaknesses.

Having familiarized yourself with that the first side of revising vs editing is, there may be multiple stages of this before you can move on to the editing phase.



Now that you know what revising is, it may be a bit easier to guess what revising vs editing entails. While revising concerned the manuscript as a whole, the ideas it communicates, and how well it does that; editing has more to do with the grammar and mechanics of the writing.

Does your word choice convey exactly what you mean?

When comparing revising vs editing, the former is done to improve clarity and purpose, while the latter serves to enhance the style and coherence of the text. Carried out after revisions, it analyzes sentence-level nuances by considering word choice, grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence variety, and other such structural changes.

Any awkwardness is eliminated from the paper by removing unnecessary words, activating the sentences by replacing passive voice, rearranging words in sentences or sentences in a particular paragraph, standardizing the punctuation, getting rid of all redundancies, and substituting less precise or ineffective words with more specific terms. A common example of the latter is to eliminate the word ‘very’ by being specific – ‘morose’ instead of ‘very sad’.

Recommended reading: What Is Editing and How Can You Differentiate It from Proofreading

Editing is best done by a third party, but it is also possible to do it yourself. It helps to slowly read your writing aloud and observe the sense of rhythm and flow, and the transitions between sentences and paragraphs (compare this with the transition between ideas in revising – this is another way how revising is different from editing) to identify any jarring awkwardness in the writing.

Since a person is usually saturated with their own text by this point, approaching professionals to edit your text is a popular approach. This spares you from having to worry about any mechanical errors in your writing and lets you focus on other important tasks.

After Revising and Editing

Revising and editing are not the final steps involved in the task of writing. This is also followed by proofreading – the easiest and the last step of this process. It is the final sweep of your paper, looking for any last-minute errors such as typos, verb tenses, grammar, and sentence structure.

It may also involve formatting issues such as numbering your pages, writing your name or the word count (if need be), changing the font or size, reviewing the quotations and citations, and any other minor things you may have missed in the early steps.

Once proofread, your text is ready, and you may finally hit that submit button!

The Bottom Line

Revising and editing are both equally important stages you need to go through before producing a text that best accomplishes its purpose. While revising concerns the big picture, editing focuses on the mechanics – both being important in their own regard.

Now that you know what the difference between editing and revising is, using the two terms interchangeably is out of the question and you can specifically mention what each text requires.

If you are looking for a professional to go through your writing, get in touch with our professional writers at One Content Pro and find the right people for the perfect job execution.

Are you ready to get started with your content strategy?