Online subbing

This trainer-led online course offers a unique opportunity to master the art of sub-editing.

In six weekly two-hour sessions, the former head of writing standards at the BBC Martin Lloyd will coach you and a small group of trainees through each stage of the process until confident subbing becomes second nature to you.

Short and practical sessions combine insider know-how, group discussion, quick quizzes and video tutorials to give you the skills to turn raw copy into precise and compelling stories at high speed.

You’ll join a dedicated Facebook group where you can get support from a tutor who spent 20 years as a sub-editor before becoming a classroom trainer and online course developer at the BBC.

Set yourself apart from other editors by getting the skill-set to not only spot errors quickly but turn dry, clunky copy into captivating editorial. Discover how to enhance and sharpen stories without the author even noticing.

This interactive and engaging course will quickly turn you into a competent and confident editor.

Why should you do it?

  • You need to edit text quickly and efficiently
  • You want the skills to edit/write great copy and not have to rely on someone else
  • To give your team the ability to sub each other’s work
  • You’ve done some editing work but lack formal training

Who is it for?

  • Editors, news editors, sub-editors, proof-readers
  • All journalists and PRs looking to fine-tune their copy
  • Anyone who has to check or oversee another person’s work
  • Executives/managers seeking to communicate effectively
  • Marketing, social media and comms staff
  • No sub-editing experience required

What you will learn

  • How to edit content to ensure it makes perfect sense
  • When to rewrite or cut copy, and when to leave it alone
  • Making sure all ideas are expressed clearly and consistently
  • How to correct errors that pass the average reader by
  • Editing copy and headlines to fit the space
  • How to preserve the author’s writing style
  • The secret to writing captivating SEO headlines
  • Organising copy to create an orderly, flowing narrative
  • Tips on subbing your own work
  • How to transform lacklustre copy into an engaging story
  • Identifying the strongest angle
  • Editing and cutting copy against the clock
  • Picture research and cropping/editing
  • How to structure stories to capture a reader’s attention
  • How to develop a style guide to enhance your brand
  • Grammar, spelling and punctuation - avoiding the pitfalls

Course timing

The course is organised so that if you miss a week you can easily take two modules the following week to catch up.


Getting there

This is an online course.


About Martin Lloyd

Martin Lloyd spent 10 years as writing standards editor at the BBC’s training division, the BBC Academy, where he was ultimately responsible for training the trainers.

He’s trained BBC News journalists, TV and radio producers and senior managers. He’s coached and mentored a team of BBC digital content producers. And he’s produced online courses and writing guides for all BBC staff.

Martin has also been a content designer for the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Earlier in his career, Martin edited copy and designed pages for newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, Metro, Broadcast, New Statesman and Marketing Week.