FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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Working with SWYM Communications

  • We assist clients in a number of areas, including:


    Environmental, social, and (corporate) governance (ESG): 

    • Articulation of organizational values, mission, and vision
    • Planning, creation, and editing of ESG-related resources, including annual reports, newsletter templates, presentations, and webpage content outlines
    • Environmental and social impact assessment (IA) reports: 
      • IA lead and field team data integration
      • Media reviews and background research


    Stakeholder engagement: 

    • Internal and external stakeholder engagement
    • Internal and external newsletter template development and copy editing
    • Media relations to promote thought leadership 
    • Theme development for formal proposals and pitch collateral material
    • Social media content and planning and scheduling


    Websites:

    • Architecture and menu development
    • Content planning
    • Keyword research for SEO strategies

  • Our professional writing services include:

    • Organizational values, mission, and vision
    • Impact assessment report copy
    • Code of Conduct copy
    • Thought leadership pieces
    • Lead content for webpages, social media page profiles, and newsletter headers
    • Corporate and campaign taglines and hashtags
    • Collateral material and presentation (e.g. PowerPoint) copy

  • The fees for all services are quoted on a per-project basis based on a number of factors, including:

    • Scope of work
    • Copy length
    • Type of editing required (i.e., structural editing, stylistic editing, copy editing, or proofreading)
    • Specialized skills required (e.g., technical editing, indexing, and comparative editing of translated text)
    • Fact checking
    • Figures, tables, and number review
    • Client concerns (e.g., the need to work with very rough copy or incorporate copy from multiple authors)
    • The deadline

     

    We kindly ask all prospective and existing clients to submit a short sample (5 to 10 pages) or copy to be edited, or an example of the type of content they need us to write. Once we have all the necessary information, we will provide a detailed quote.

  • Yes, we are committed to transparency and always provide a detailed communications or editorial letter as part of our debriefing process. For larger projects, we also provide interim reports so that you know how the work is progressing.
  • Yes, we can support our clients on French-language editing, writing, and communications projects. We can also communicate in German and Spanish.
  • Yes, AI, including large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, is among the family of tools that we use at SWYM Communications. We do so in a number of ways to:

    • support textual and numeric content element generation and formatting (e.g., figures and tables)
    • incorporate style guidelines into the copy editing and proofreading processes
    • help organizations create/review AI prompts for in-house content generation
    • support image and video content generation

     

    Given the open nature of popular AI tools, we do not submit any confidential material to  ChatGPT-type LLMs or image and video generators such as Midjourney.

Editing

  • The main form of editing include:

    1. Structural editing
    2. Stylistic editing
    3. Copy editing
    4. Proofreading

  • This type of editing focuses on the overall structure, content, and organization of a piece of writing. Structural editors assess the coherence, flow, and logical progression of ideas. They may suggest revising, reordering, cutting, or expanding copy, so it often involves some original writing.

     

    Structural editors also look for opportunities to lighten heavy copy by presenting information in forms other than paragraphs of text, including tables, figures, still photographs, and video footage. This stage is crucial in making copy as readable as possible and best suited for the medium used to share it.

     

    Structural editing is also often referred to as substantive editing, manuscript editing, content editing, or developmental editing.

  • Stylistic editing focuses on the writing style and tone of the content. Editors in this role work to enhance copy clarity, coherence, readability, and overall impact of the text. 

     

    Achieving plain language is the goal so this is when jargon, overly technical terms, and euphemisms are eliminated. The copy style should always fit the target audience. For example, writing a high-tech report for a group of software engineers will be different from one intended for tech stock investors.

  • Copy editing involves a detailed review of the text to ensure accuracy, consistency, and correctness. Copy editors check for grammatical errors, punctuation, spelling mistakes, and inclusive language. They also verify factual information, formatting, and proper usage of language. The goal is to further improve readability and make the text error-free.

     

    Copy editing could also involve:

    • Setting the hierarchy of headings and captions
    • Checking references, citations, indexes, appendices, and tables of content
    • Ensuring the adherence to a chosen style sheet. If none exists, a copy editor might develop one

     

    Copy editing is often used to encompass all editing skills. However, best practices call for a clear outline of each editorial skill and phase.

  • Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process and involves a meticulous review of the copy for typographical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, faulty hyperlinks, and formatting inconsistencies. 

     

    Proofreaders review visual elements and double-check the copy against the chosen style sheet to ensure that the structure, headings, and captions are accurate and consistently formatted.

     

    Proofreading also involves fitting text and other elements to the final version of the content design and reviewing the table of contents, pagination, and references one more time.

  • While Structural Editing, Stylistic Editing, Copy Editing, and Proofreading are the core skills that professional editors possess, other skills and areas of specialization include:

    • Comparative editing of translated text against original copy
    • Fact checking
    • Indexing
    • Manuscript editing and evaluation
    • Production and project editing, which involves overseeing design, production, and all phases of editing as well as printing and digital publishing
    • Technical editing, whose focus is on presenting sometimes complex and highly specialized content in plain terms
    • Visual research and sourcing to find elements that complement and enhance the textual content (e.g., original and stock photography, video footage, artwork, maps, and diagrams). This also involves visual planning and budgeting
    • Two other growing areas of specialization: editing for increased accessibility and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion)

  • Yes, we do. We can work with your team to develop organization-wide style guides that will include everything from brand voice to copy tone to rules regarding the use of logos, taglines, and hashtags. We also create document-specific style sheets to support content writing and copy editing.

Language

  • At SWYM Communications, we follow best practices for all of the writing and editing that we do. Our go-to reference guides include:

    • Canadian Oxford Dictionary
    • The Canadian Press Stylebook and Guide de rédaction en ligne
    • The Chicago Manual of Style
    • Editors/Réviseurs Canada Professional Editorial Standards
    • Larousse and Robert French language dictionaries
    • ISO Plain language — Part 1: Governing principles and guidelines  (ISO 24495-1:2023)
    • Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) guidelines

     

    In addition to these tools, we also follow and/or create client-specific document style sheets and organization-wide style guides.

  • A communication is in plain language if its wording, structure, and design are so clear that the intended audience can easily find what they need, understand what they find, and use that information.

     

    (Source: International Plain Language Federation.)

  • Inclusive language is a communication approach that aims to be considerate and respectful of all individuals, regardless of their gender, race, ability, background, or any other characteristic. It avoids using terms or expressions that could marginalize or exclude specific groups of people, striving to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.
  • Web accessibility is about designing websites, applications, technologies, tools, products, and services in an inclusive manner, and thus lifting barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world.

     

    (Source: Web Accessibility Initiative.)

  • Brand voice reflects your brand’s personality based on your organization’s values, vision, and mission. It guides all communications, influences brand perception, and sets expectations in how your organization interacts with its target audiences, including staff, partners, and customers. 

     

    Copy tone refers to the expression of your brand in a particular context. It reveals your point of view on a matter and is the emotional trigger that allows you to connect with your audiences. Copy tone also helps create a mood for fact-based content and storytelling alike.

     

    Brand voice and copy tone both affect brand understanding, audience and stakeholder engagement, and, ultimately, trust.