Using a copywriter

All publications should be written in plain English. If you are producing publications aimed at specialist audiences, it pays to use a professional copywriter. You may find that you are too close to your own material to be able to present it effectively to different audiences. This is why even the best journalists have their copy polished by sub-editors.

Role of a copywriter

A copywriter's job is to take your raw material and refine it to give it maximum appeal. A good copywriter will approach the job like a journalist, probing you to draw out the main points and key messages in any material. A copywriter should take a layperson's viewpoint and highlight any areas where your material is difficult to understand.

Copywriters can also be useful when you want to include case study interviews in your publications, as they are skilled in interviewing people and editing large amounts of material.

Finding a copywriter

Look for writers with a track record of writing for your target audience, for example the business or health sector.

Most copywriters will quote either a day rate or a fixed price for the job. You can keep costs down by supplying as much relevant information as possible at the start. The more time a writer has to spend digging around for the right information, the more it will cost. Remember that they will generally need to be paid for researching the material, writing and editing and checking and proofreading if required.

Editing and proofreading

All publications will need careful editing and proofreading. If possible, someone other than the writer should carry out these functions, as they will not be as close to the material. Remember that professional editors cut from the bottom up and many readers will not make it to the end of an article or publication, so good editing is essential to preserve the key points in any material.

Good proof reading is also essential. Do not rely on PC spellcheckers – these are not enough for accurate proofing. For larger documents you may want to use the services of professional proof-readers, but usually anyone with an eye for detail and a clear appreciation of your house style will be suitable. As well as checking for typographical errors, grammar and house style, a proof-reader should also check layout to ensure that text falls in a logical and readable style.