How To Be a Copy Editor

A copy editor is a wordsmith and the gatekeeper of good grammar. Copy editors are hired to review written work before it is published to make sure that the structure and flow of the text is grammatically sound, check that spelling and punctuation are correct, as well as fact-check the content. Often hired full-time by major publications and media companies, many copy editors also enjoy fulfilling freelance careers working remotely from their own home. To be a successful copy editor, one must have a deep knowledge of their language, an ability to communicate effectively through writing, and understand the power of clear and concise sentences.

Style Guides

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the different style guides copy editors work in. The most common guides are the Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook and the Modern Language Association style. They are available to purchase online or simply borrow them from your local library.

Tip: Style guides are also available for digital download or by a paid subscription.

Copy Editing Courses

Some of the best advice I can give is to enroll in a basic journalism or copy editing course online or at a local college. Courses provide hands-on editing training within a wide range of books, magazines and texts to proofread, edit, and fact-check. Classes are also a great way to network with other copy editors in order to gain professional contacts in the field.

Copy Editing Software

Get acquainted with computer programs often used by professional copy editors. Copy editors are often relied on for newspaper and magazine layouts, so become accustomed with programs like QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign.

Create An Online Portfolio

Create a portfolio of your copy editing examples. A copy editor’s portfolio consists of clips of their best work, including writing samples, newspaper layouts, magazine layouts and before-and-after documents that detail your edits. Use your portfolio as a way to show potential employers your editing style.

Tip: Create an online portfolio using free website builders and connect your portfolio to your professional social networks.

Make Some Moves!

Request an informational interview from a managing editor or current copy editor at a nearby company. Send them a polite email asking to discuss their position with you at a time convenient for them. Many professionals are happy to share advice and the inside information they share can be very helpful when you begin copy editor interviews.

Now it’s time to gain professional experience. If you are new to copy editing and want to add more depth to your resume, it is helpful to seek copy-editing internships at advertising agencies, newspapers and other publications to gain real-world experience.

If you need a copy editor or copywriter for your next project, feel free to get in touch with me.



You Have No Talent!

5 Reasons Why Employer Branding is Essential in Recruiting Top Prospects

by Simon Mullin

What are the first things you think about when you hear Google, Nike, Buzzfeed, or Wieden & Kennedy? For the new grad or the experienced job seeker, they think opportunity, growth, fun and personal success. These four companies are vastly different in terms of industry, but amazingly similar in one area: their stellar employer branding scores them the top recruits. And by securing the top recruits they experience better business growth and profitability.

So what is employer branding?

Employer branding is a strategy used by companies to establish a unique position in the recruitment marketplace. Simply put, employer branding works to help companies brand themselves in a way that attracts the top recruits. It’s also how companies appeal to desirable current employees in order to retain them.

5 reasons why employer branding is important

  1. Recruiting top talent
  2. Retaining top talent
  3. Growth and business profitability
  4. Desirability in the recruiting field
  5. Industry strength and bargaining power

How do you determine your company’s employer branding?

Research: Learn what your target group wants, needs and expects from an employer.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP): this is probably the most important thing to gauge and develop.

An EVP asks, what is your unique value?

What does the employee gain by taking the position?

What does the employee get by working for you as opposed to working with the competition?

Communication strategy: your company needs a unique, compelling and relevant strategy that speaks to your recruits in a way that will engage and excite them.

Employer branding turns your employer recruitment costs into a strategic driver for growth

In a nutshell, employer branding is matchmaking; it’s the way in which you create a harmonious relationship between employee and employer, set expectations, and recruit your ideal candidates.

For great resources on learning more about employer branding:

Corporate Imaging as a Recruiting Tool, by Lara Moroko, Wall Street Journal

The Importance of Employer Branding, by Dr Sandeep K Krishnan, Deccan Herald

Examples of Employer Branding Strategies, by Bayard Advertising

The Employer Branding Secret, by Mel DePaoli

Digging on “The Dig”: A Broke-Ass Exclusive With Brooklyn’s Hottest Band

“With piercing guitar riffs, solid bass beats, electrifying synth and soft vocals, The Dig is molding mid-90’s grunge rock with contemporary melody to create a sound that’s unabashedly unique, surprisingly clean and catching like fire across the country.”

The Dig

by Simon Mullin

Indispensable Knowledge For All Writers

The World’s Best Copywriters: Write Like the Pros

by Simon Mullin


The art of developing truly great copy has been in force since the day written language was formed. Ancient Sumerian tablets inspired the rise of civilization itself. Even Hebrew scripts from 3000 years ago still intrigue, move and compel over a billion faithful to carry on the will of an age-old monotheistic entity.

I’m not saying to write like “Yaweh,” that dude is a bit too old-fashioned for our purposes. But it’s important in your copywriting career to emulate those who came before you. The only way to get better at this trade is to read, write and study – just like anything else.

To put you on the right path, here’s my list of my favorite copywriters of our time, along with a good amount of reading material. Make sure you spend a little time learning from these guys. You’ll be glad you did.

1.    Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media.

In my opinion, Brian Clark is by far the best copywriter today. Not only does this man have a copywriting career that makes the rest of us look like amateur ass-scratchers, Brian uses his wit and intelligence to teach the rest of us how to write, read and optimize our copy. Read Brian’s Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy for a crash course in creative communication.

2.    Gary Bencivenga, Bencivenga Bullets

Gary’s writing is so explosive that the shrapnel of alphabetic excellence will pierce you like hipster’s gauged lobe. As a subscriber to his world-renowned and awfully named “Bencivenga Bullets” eblast, Gary’s monthly “Bullets” are my governing principals to marketing success. His advice is practical yet innovative with answers so obvious that I now understand how easily they’re overlooked. Gary knows that business is war and he’s got the ammunition.

3.    Robert W. Bly, author of The Copywriter’s Handbook

Though Bob wrote this before the advent of the Internet, even before the invention of the PC, his book title says it all. This guy literally invented the handbook, the essential reading all copywriters must absorb before they set out on their careers. Bob spells out the tried-and-true principles and policies of writing effective copy, all in an easy to read, formulaic approach. Buy Bob’s book here.

Mars is Awesome. Are You?


For the price of a decent Pad Thai takeout, you can transport your mind to Mars to discover the secrets of the red planet. Was there life on Mars? Are we alone? Is there going to be free beer? Andrew Kessler, NASA hotshot and nerd extraordinaire, will tell his incredible story of how he and 130 astronomical eggheads got the Phoenix rover from Cape Canaveral, FL to the cold Martian desert 140 million miles away.

Learn about temperamental space robots, updates on the otherworldly Curiosity Mission and why Brooklyn should put down their kale chips and start caring about kick-ass space exploration!

Come with me to Nerd Nite NYC and join fellow astro-geeks for a night of Martian mayhem!


Friday September 7, 2012 at 8pm
Galapagos Art Space
16 Main Street, DUMBO Brooklyn
A/C train to High Street or F train to York Street

A Broke Man’s Guide to a Badass Bloody!

by Simon Mullin

How to Make a Bucket of Badass Bloody Mary’s for Pennies in Brooklyn


From a young age, I always knew my grandpa (known in our Ashkenazi household as “Papa”) to be a drinker. No I’m not talking about a couple glasses of wine at dinner and calling it a night; this silver-haired Don Juan of whiskey knows how to kick back and drink his college-aged grandkids over and under the table like he was an animal house coed.

And Papa taught me one of the most powerful life lessons I still hold to this day: how to concoct a killer Bloody Mary. I’d like to introduce you to my grandpa’s “Bloody Moses” and share how to make a bucket of this delectable drink for what you can find under your couch pillows.

Papa‘s Bloody Moses

Don’t pretend like you don’t have vodka in the house. Check the freezer. Under the bed. Maybe in the shower? If you really can’t find any, head on over to Richie’s Wine & Liquors on Grand & Bushwick for a $6 bottle of the finest Giorgi’s vodka.

  1. Invite 4 of your brokest friends
  2. Fill a pitcher with ice
  3. Pour 5 ounces of Giorgi’s liquid confidence into the pitcher
  4. Liberally (the only way in Brooklyn) douse 20 shots of Worcester sauce ($2 at Key Foods on Grand)
  5. Add 10 splashes of Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Pepper Hot Sauce ($1.99 bottle)
  6. 5 spoon-fulls of chopped horse raddish ($2.50 at Associated on Grand Street)
  7. Pour your Associated Brand tomato juice ($2 a gallon) and stir
  8. My favorite broke-ass part: GARNISH!

Look in your fridge. You can garnish Papa’s Bloody Moses with carrots and the like, or you could grow a pair and throw in some Brooklyn Brine pickles, TJ’s olives and a fat stack of Chicago-style hard salami.

Who’s the weekend hero now? You just got you and 4 friends drunk AND fed for under $3/head. Drink up! You deserve it.