How Copy Editing and Branding Go Hand-in-Hand

When you are establishing and maintaining a brand identity for your business, you need to pay close attention to your text across all of your digital and physical marketing materials. Consistency is of utmost importance in making sure potential customers have a clear understanding of your brand.

brands-floodAs a copy editor, I’ve seen the common problems small businesses have when they are trying to establish their brand identity and gain recognition among potential customers. But it’s not just small businesses that have problems maintaining consistency in their business marketing materials. Every established business goes through staff changes – and when staff changes, it may take new employees a little time to memorize the branding identity manual carefully crafted by their new employer.

This is why it’s crucial to have a good copy editor review your materials. Here are the key branding elements I focus on when I am copy editing for businesses. If you have a copy editor on staff, they need to ensure the consistency of these elements.

1 – Consistency in references to your company name.

Every person in your company – especially every person on your marketing team (including the interns who post on your social media channels) – needs to know the rules for spelling, punctuating, formatting, and capitalizing your company’s full name and common name. Even if they do know the rules, mistakes happen, and this is where having a copy editor review your website and brochure text can help.

2 – Consistency of text formatting

It’s hard to achieve brand recognition if your website uses the Palatino Linotype font with green and blue design elements, while your brochures use Helvetica and yellow elements, yet your interns are overlaying your Instagram posts with Comic Sans in orange.

Current and potential customers should be able to recognize a document from you at a glance. Even better, the marketing brochures you use should be visually tied together with your website. If your business logo consists solely of your company name, you need to be consistent in the font you use throughout all of your materials. Your copy editor should be on the lookout for changes in formatting.

3 – Consistency of tagline wording.

Do you have a tagline for your business? Be sure that it’s worded precisely the same way whether it’s in your website header, on the front of your brochures, or in the email signatures of your staff. Tell your copy editor what the tagline is supposed to be so that he or she can review and revise all of your materials to make that wording consistent.

A concise tagline gives potential customers an idea of your company’s mission. If a client sees multiple taglines, they may wonder if your company is lacking focus, or if there have been changes in your business offerings.

4 – Consistency of keywords and key messages.

Repetition of exact phrases will help the key messages stick in the minds of your potential customers, who will then associate the message with your product or service. Using these keywords and messages throughout your website will also help improve your visibility on search engines when potential customers search on those terms. Have your copy editor review the company’s brochures, website pages, and social media accounts to make sure these keywords and messages are repeated.

When your business has several staff members creating marketing materials, or even if it’s the same person writing website and brochure text over the course of several months, attention to branding may get lost in the process of meeting deadlines. Hiring a copy editor to focus specifically on the above issues is important to keep your brand identity clear as you reach out to investors, or to current and potential customers.

If you want more info on how to create and maintain a brand image for your business using a Brand Style Guide – complete with a template and step-by-step instructions to keep you consistent in all of your marketing materials – check out my book, Branding for Beginners