Content Editor Skills: Definition, Examples and How-to Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses often hire content editors to create engaging content that targets customers and helps to promote their brand, products and services. Content editors use their expertise and develop specific skills and techniques that help them produce effective copy within deadlines. If you enjoy communicating through the written word and want to become a content editor, it's important that you master certain skills like grammar, language and writing styles. In this article, we list different content editor skills, outline ways you can improve them and explain how to highlight them on your resume, in your cover letter and during a job interview.

What are content editor skills?

Content editor skills are abilities that editors use to create accurate, effective and compelling content that adheres to specific guidelines from their employers. They may occasionally write copy but typically edit other writers' work to ensure it's engaging and consistent with the company's intended messaging and communication guidelines. This involves verifying if the information presented is accurate and proofreading and correcting for grammar, spelling, tone and punctuation inconsistencies.

Read More: What Does a Content Editor Do? (Plus Skills and Salary)

Examples of content editor skills

Here are some examples of these skills:

Writing

Content editors are usually excellent writers who possess a good command of language to create copy that is effective and engaging. They also understand the nuances of writing like grammar, spelling, punctuation and tone when editing copy to ensure that it meets content guidelines. Editors employ their writing skills to relay instructions, like style and brand guidelines, to writers and other team members.

Related: Content Writer Skills and How to Develop Them (With Tips)

Communication

Content editors communicate with writers and collaborate with other departments to conceptualise content and edit copy. They use their communication skills to ensure that the team clearly understands the guidelines and messaging objectives of the client. Content editors also provide writers with constructive feedback and suggestions to help improve the tone and flow of writing. This helps reduce errors and minimise edits, allowing content editors to meet deadlines.

Editing

Content editors possess effective editing skills to help optimise and improve the quality of existing content. They check for typographical or grammatical inconsistencies and adjust the copy to remove redundant words. As part of the editing process, content editors may rewrite certain sentences to be more concise and refine sections to improve the overall flow of an article. They also use their knowledge of syntax and semantics to enhance the writing quality and deliver valuable insights to readers.

Creative thinking

Content editors utilise their creative skills to present content in interesting formats, which help to attract readers and communicate useful insights. For instance, they can structure a website's landing page by considering the typography and layout, which can help create a visually stimulating and immersive experience for visitors. They may apply basic knowledge of common design principles, such as negative space and visual hierarchy, to help repurpose copy and make it relevant to the target demographic. This can help boost customer engagement and conversions for the business.

Content management systems

Content editors work with digital content formats and platforms. This requires them to be proficient in content management systems (CMS) and have experience with software or tools as part of their workflow. These can include search engine optimisation tools, keyword research analysers and backlink generators that can help to improve the search visibility and site authority of your client's webpage. Content editors are also familiar with the latest innovations in content management systems, including new editing capabilities or features that can enhance the visual layout of copy.

Related: What Does a Content Manager Do? (With Relevant Skills)

Research

Content editors may conduct additional research to verify and ensure the content presented is accurate and true before publishing any copy. Proofreading, plagiarism or fact checking are all research-related skills that are part of a content editor's basic responsibilities. It improves the credibility of the organisation and helps to build its brand name in the industry. Sometimes, content editors cross-reference the copy with reputable sources, such as government press releases or news reports to improve the value and quality of information that writers provide.

Detail-orientation

Content editors are meticulous and organised when proofreading and checking content for grammar, spelling, sentence structure or format issues. While reading, they can spot basic errors and correct mistakes during the editing process. They typically adhere to a brand style guide that outlines the requirements for the tone of voice and format. Content editors also fact-check for accuracy and ensure that the copy properly communicates the intended messaging and complies with the client's requirements.

Time management

Content editors work to deliver and publish content under strict deadlines. They develop excellent time management skills to handle multiple projects with different deadlines simultaneously. Content editors can use project management software that helps them to monitor the workflow of the content creation process and keep track of the editorial calendar. They prioritise their workload to ensure that they complete the most urgent tasks and activities.

How to improve content editor skills

Here are some tips to help you learn how to improve these skills:

1. Learn other style guides

You can improve your content editor skills by studying style guides that other organisations use. Referencing popular style guides that news organisations or peers in the industry use can help to increase your knowledge of communication best practices. Some reputable style guides that organisations follow are the Associated Press (AP) style guide or the Chicago Manual of Style.

2. Practise reading and writing

It's important for content editors to read and write regularly to develop their skills and capabilities. It can help content editors to research and learn more about the subject material that they edit. They may also review guides and instructional materials on the editing process and apply these tips to their work. They can read online resources that prescribe best practices for SEO, readability and flow. When reading, take note of the edits you can make to improve quality and clarity. Over time, you can develop an editing process to help you identify common writing errors or mistakes.

Related: Copywriter vs. Copy Editor (With Definition and Differences)

3. Use digital tools

There are different digital software and tools that can help make the writing and editing process more efficient. These editing tools can help highlight common grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors in writing and also provide alternative suggestions to improve sentence structure or meaning. For instance, the software may detect passive voice and recommend you to switch to an active verb to strengthen the sentence.

Content editor skills in the workplace

Follow these tips to apply these skills in the workplace:

  • Use a checklist. Start compiling a general list of the common errors and mistakes that you encounter during your editing work. You can classify these by their type, such as grammar, punctuation and incorrect tense, to keep a look out for when editing future content.

  • Do peer reviews. It can be useful to enlist the help of fellow editors to review each other's work and get their feedback on the areas you can improve. They may work on different projects and can offer you new insights and editing knowledge that you can apply to your process.

  • Perform a preliminary scan. Before you edit the full draft, make it a habit to briefly scan the article to get a gist of the content, style and tone of voice. During this time, take a mental note of the sentence structure and whether the information presented is clear and concise, which can help you identify areas to focus on before you begin the editing process.

How to highlight content editor skills

Follow these tips that show you how to highlight them on your resume, in your cover letter and during job interviews:

1. Content editor skills for a resume

As a content editor, it's important to create a strong first impression with your resume copy. Remember to proofread your resume before applying for any job to ensure it's free of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. This can demonstrate that you're diligent and meticulous. Furthermore, this shows that you understand how to effectively communicate information in a professional and concise manner.

Related: How to Create a Portfolio and What Content to Include

2. Content editor skills for a cover letter

In your cover letter, pay attention to how you present your information. Showcase your content editing skills by breaking up long blocks of text with headings and paragraphs. This can help to make your writing flow and ensures your cover letter is easy to understand. Also, using the right format such as font size and page margins for your cover letter can show hiring managers that you value readability.

3. Content editor skills for a job interview

During your job interview, you can provide the interviewers with an overview of your editing process and demonstrate how you use research, tools and regular practice to hone your skills to become more efficient at delivering quality content. Where applicable, you can also elaborate on the successful projects you've worked on and contributed to as an editor. Explain how you curated content and provide details on the types of content you've worked with, which can showcase your versatility and competency to prospective employers.

Related: 35 Copywriting Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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