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Editors: Here Is Data to Support Your Job

Susan Daffron of Logical Expressions gave me a link to an excellent article-blog post “How to Measure the Value of Editors,” by James Mathewson. Mr. Mathewson is editor in chief at

IBM conducted a study in which they measured the difference in response rates to an unedited and an edited version of a web page. Measured by clicks on the desired links, the edited version drew 30 percent more clicks.

Yes, 30 percent more clicks!

When those clicks represent actions by potential customers, each one has a dollar value, especially in our pay-per-click marketplace. In the IBM case, that value can be attributed directly and solely to the editor.

Read the article at It gives a historical example of the value of editing, explaining that in early drafts of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson used the word subjects. Perhaps supported by editors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson later changed subjects to citizens. Mathewson suggests that the change may have altered the course of U.S. history.

Editors, I hope you can use IBM’s data to support your contribution to your company’s bottom line. Perhaps the article will inspire you to measure your own dollar value.

If you have suggestions in support of hard-working editors, please share them.

Note: Mr. Mathewson’s article was originally published online at Writing for Digital.


Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.