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5 Types of Editing Every Writer Should Know About

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 3/05/218 min read
5 Types of Editing Every Writer Should Know About

There are many ways in which you can edit content. However, the basic principle of all kinds of editing is to allow a consistent, grammatically accurate, and error-free message flow.

Table of Contents

  • What is content editing? 
  • Why is content editing Important?
  • Developmental Editing
  • Evaluation Editing
  • Content Editing
  • Line Editing
  • Copy Editing
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion

Every piece of content requires editing to ensure that the message is being conveyed in the best possible way. Editing is necessary for all types of content to make it more readable and apt for the chosen target audience. Such content always attracts more readers or customers. 

What is content editing?

If you’ve been writing for a while, you already know that the process of content writing is essentially divided into five parts: 

  1. Prewriting
  2. Drafting
  3. Revising
  4. Editing
  5. Publishing

To put it simply, content editing is the process of evaluating one’s writing by breaking down the content’s style, tonality, grammar, and comprehensiveness. While some pieces of content don’t need to be edited for long, other forms like novels and case studies tend to need a more intensive and long read and edit.

Ultimately, content editing makes the blog, article, or book precise, clear, and easy to read. The touch of an editor is to bring the eyes of the clueless reader to the table and transform the text to fit those eyes whilst making complete sense. 

Why is content editing important?

Many businesses tend to skip the process of content editing or even hiring a content editor. After all, who’s going to sit down and waste their time on reading a piece of content that’s already been re-read by the writer? WRONG! 

Content editors are meant to be a separate entity from the writers mainly because a fresh pair of eyes get to interact with the content. As the writer, you become one with your work, making it difficult to separate yourself from the piece of content. It becomes difficult to assess the work from the point of view of a reader that holds no context to your subject, ultimately making your content rather confusing when viewed from the eyes of a third person.

However, if you manage to get a reliable content editor on board, you will gain access to the following advantages:

Content editing is meant to make your writing better

What does an editor do? A good content editor sticks to the originality of your content and tweaks it to bring out the ‘you’ in your content better! By matching the tonality, editing (and not rewriting), and grammatical corrections, a good content editor will help improve your writing.

Your writing will become more organized

We can write but be able to structure it in a way that doesn’t seem like it’s all over the place can be difficult. This is where content editing helps. With the help of a table of contents, a division of H1, H2, and H3 for search engine optimization templatizing, and by highlighting the core keywords of the content, content editing helps the reader get a better grasp of the content without it seeming too blank and boring. 

A clear paragraph structure is formed

Organizing your content doesn’t just mean building a template to set it apart into different topics; it means building a clear paragraph structure. For example, did you know that it’s recommended to limit a paragraph up to 3 to 4 lines in a digital blog to ensure there’s enough white space and not too much text that ultimately intimidates the reader? 

So while you might question, ‘What is editing in writing?’ it’s important to remember that content editing is meant to help make the write-up much more reader-friendly than it was before. 

Editing can help bring forth the clarity your content needs

When you write an article or a blog, there are many terms that you might use that are a part of your general lingo. However, we often forget that it’s not important that every reader on the internet will know the meanings of those terms.

The key to good writing? Make it simple. Content editing helps you bring forward the clarity of your thoughts by adding definitions wherever necessary, turning slang into general terms, and turning abbreviations into normal words. 


While the advantages will keep lining up as the job gets done, the question is, what type of editing do you need for your content?

It all depends on the rigorous standards of the content being developed. There are many ways in which you can edit content. However, the basic principle of all kinds of editing is to allow a consistent, grammatically accurate, and error-free message flow. 

While there are many different types of editing, not every editor uses the same approach. Most editors use a mix of one or more approaches to assess, evaluate and improve content.

In this post, we will cover five basic types of editing every writer should know about – to help you avoid asking yourself the question, “What are the types of editing that I should know about?”

What are the types of editing that your content needs?

1. Developmental editing

Developmental editing, also known as conceptual editing or manuscript appraisal, is done at an early stage in the writing process when an author has an idea or a rough outline but needs help to stitch it all together. 

A developmental editor sees the big picture of your book, manuscript, article, or any other content piece by focusing on your ideas’ structure and organization, rather than just the choice of words, grammar, and punctuation. This approach ensures that the structure or organization of your copy is aligned with the stories or messages being conveyed.

The goal of developmental editing is to answer key questions that can amp up the strength of your writing style. Developmental editing does not involve writing or rewriting but offers suggestions to organize a writer’s ideas better. 

Questions asked during the developmental editing process may include:

  • Are you leaving out any key information? 
  • Is there irrelevant content that needs to be removed?
  • Will people enjoy the style and flow of ideas in the story?

Developmental editing ensures that your content is visualized through a reader’s eyes, offering feedback that helps improve the reading experience.

2. Evaluation editing

Evaluation editing or structural editing is done when an editor looks at a manuscript to evaluate the structure, completeness, flow, and overall quality of writing. In this type of editing, the writer is offered short suggestions and memos to address the key areas of concern in the flow of content. Focusing on the structural integrity of writing, an evaluation edit also focuses on the big picture.

The key difference between an evaluation edit and a developmental edit is that you need a completed piece of content for evaluation. In contrast, developmental editing starts at the ideation stage itself. Once you have received a good evaluation for your writing, your content may be ready for proofreading or copyediting.

Since you have to present a complete manuscript for an evaluation edit, the goal is to safeguard your book from further edits, with enough attention to the readability, flow of thought, and vocabulary chosen. The editor may also offer suggestions to improve your content, thereby furnishing a channel for exchanging ideas during the editing process.

3. Content editing

Content editing is also called full editing or substantive editing. In this case, an editor digs into the words on a page. Unlike developmental and evaluation edits, the content editor carefully edits the manuscript with keen attention to sentence structures, ideation, and choice of words.

A content editor offers a paragraph-level markup on any piece of content, with corrections, suggestions, and advice. The focus is also on the voice or tone of content, which significantly impacts a reader. 

A content editor should be aware of the target audience as well and edit accordingly. Additionally, they will make sure that your content is authentic.

A content editor won’t modify your chapters but usually moves sections and paragraphs around within a chapter or removes unwanted or irrelevant text. Unlike line editors (more on them below), they are not concerned with the decorative elements of your sentence structure. 

4. Line editing

Line editing is also called stylistic edit or comprehensive edit, where a line editor offers a line-by-line review for any content manuscript. While developmental, evaluation and content editing processes involve a high-level analysis of your content, line editing is meant to refine the vocabulary, tone, message, and sentence structure.

A line editor doesn’t review an entire book, a chapter, or paragraphs. Rather, the line editing process involves keen attention to every sentence in the manuscript. Jumping into the manuscript with both feet, line editing provides a detailed edit where your structured content begins to sing.

As a writer, it is important not to jump into line editing before your content is properly structured and organized. That’s because line editing focuses on the minuscule aspects of grammar, punctuation, choice of words, and imagery to bring out the most in each sentence. 

Like every other editor, the line editor also focuses on the flow of your content, but they are more concerned about how each word in a sentence mingles with others to create a dynamic reading experience.

Line editors suggest improvements on run-out sentences, fragmented sentences, and cliches. They help a writer clarify the meaning of a sentence, eliminate complex jargon and ensure that each sentence offers high readability. By tightening the sentences, line editing offers streamlined structural integrity at the sentence level of a manuscript.

A line editor is not concerned with errors in the structure of your sections but is more concerned with words used to communicate with readers. Line editing involves simplifying, shortening, and making each sentence precise for easy readability and relatability.

While the line editor performs like a copyeditor, their suggestions are usually less critical.

5. Copy editing

When a manuscript or a piece of content is completed, you have to fill the gaps and ensure its quality is retained even after going through the editing process. At the final editing stages, a copy editor must carefully go through the manuscript and find spelling, punctuation, and grammatical mistakes.

No matter how refined your language may be, there could be minor errors that can dent the quality of your writing. Copyediting ensures that there are no mistakes left in the final draft.

On average, only 60% of people detect errors, and professionals may catch up to 85% of errors in writing. Copyediting minimizes the errors and offers the best version of a final manuscript.

While copy editing is different from proofreading, it is assumed that all writers proofread their content before submitting it for editing or publication. Yes, the proofreading process is just as important.


At the end of the day, all it takes is relentless focus or attention to detail. Every writer should be aware of these five types of editing to ensure that their piece of content meets the quality standards before it is sent for editorial review.


1. What are the different types of editors?

Trying to decide which content editor would fit your requirements best? It doesn’t have to be so hard. There are essentially four different types of editors:

Developmental editors: They help you tackle the organization of your content, the overall structure, the tone of voice, and character development (if required). Depending on your needs, the developmental editors are meant to help you skim through the first steps of your content creation.

Substantive editors: Also known as Line Editors, Substantive Editors help you get more clarity and style in your writing. This can vary from rephrasing certain statements here and there to complete modification of whole paragraphs.

Copy editors: The most popular of the bunch, copy editors help you overcome your grammatical errors while also working on inconsistent language barriers. They only perform light modification and tend to help you get consistency throughout your article, blog, or novel. 

Proofreaders: Typos, grammatical errors, and the overall syntax of your text are analyzed by proofreaders. The proofreaders are the last content editors you tackle in your race of editing before you go forward and publish your work. 
Depending on the needs you hold, you may require just one content editor or all four of them. 

2. What is editing?

To put it simply, editing is the process of revising the content structurally, grammatically, and presentably to make it more reader-friendly. This can go from simple layout changes to a complete rework of the content itself. 

3. What is the difference between copy-editing and editing?

Content editing as a whole is much larger than specifics. It means changing up your content to be able to communicate the meaning of your story. On the other hand, copy editing allows you to look at the structure of your content from a more ‘technical’ perspective. Copy editing is focused on accuracy, consistency, language tonality, and more. 

4. Do all writers have editors?

Do all writers have editors? No, but could all writers USE editors? Yes. Whether you are a blogger, a journalist, a business, or even a novelist, an editor is the most important asset you could bring on board to help bring more clarity to the pieces of content that you write. 
While you might believe an editor’s job is quite simple and only about correcting typos, you will begin to notice the difference in your writing once you have an editor that complements your writing. 

5. Why do we edit your writing?

Writing is an art – but so is content editing. As mentioned earlier in this article, there are times when we grow to be one with our work. We tend to overlook the terms that the general reader will not understand. The content editor helps give you a birds eye view of your story when looked at from the perspective of one that doesn’t know about your subject. 

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