About Jo

Rush hour in the office? Help is at hand!

Copyediting: You've already written something, but know it’s not up to scratch. Let's finesse what you've got. It's a given that I'll check the basics such as grammar and spelling, but I'll also ensure concision, assess the concept, meaning and overall structure. Let's get ready to publish!

Copywriting: You may be struggling to find the time to write or your editorial team is under pressure. Panic over. I’ve spent my career working with words, so I’ll cherry-pick just the right ones to communicate your message. 

Proofreading: Everyone makes mistakes. Let me find them for you. I'll give your project a once-over before it’s immortalised in print or online. We all know that perfection requires teamwork.

Whatever your project type, let's take the stress out of your deadline.

Subject knowledge (feel free to throw me a curve ball)

  • Global development issues: the climate and environmental crisis, healthcare, sustainable livelihoods, trade, economics, campaigns and policy, poverty, disaster emergency and relief, civil conflict, human rights, gender equality, religious oppression, ethnic minorities, community rights-based development, science and technology, corruption and transparency, counterterrorism education.
  • Charity and philanthropy in the UK: issues affecting older people, social exclusion, disability, child protection and welfare, young people, refugees, religious persecution.
  • Property and lifestyle: retail, commercial and residential architecture and design, awards, art, parklands, festivals, sports and community engagement, international travel, hotels and spas.
  • Business: fintech, investment and innovation funding, human resources management, small- and medium-sized businesses and start-ups, construction, and education (mainly post-graduate level).
  • Medical/healthcare: pharmaceuticals (marketing consultancy for patient experience and engagement resources), public health information, antenatal and postnatal healthcare, epidemics/diseases, water and sanitation.

My type of client (I particularly like the ones that pay well)

I write and edit for an eclectic mix of organisations and businesses. This is what I love about my job and what keeps me on my tippy-toes. A snapshot of clients: 

  • Charity and NGOs: Transparency International, Global Witness, Syria Resilience Consortium, Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
  • Public sector: Essex County Council, Social Mobility Commission, The Olympic Park (with a design agency), The Brandon Centre.
  • B2B: International Property Media, Guildprime Specialist Contracts, Lundi, Harvey Nash Group.

For more, click here

My skills (NB: can't tap dance)

  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading
  • Copywriting
  • Editing non-native English
  • Developmental/substantive editing
  • Creative or editorial project management
  • Website writing and editing
  • Marketing consultancy
  • Interviewing beneficiaries/customers for publication and research
  • Photojournalism and international story-gathering
  • Film and animation scriptwriting.


  • Research reports and analysis
  • White papers/briefing papers
  • Long-form thought leadership content
  • Websites/microsites
  • Blogs/social media
  • Lifestyle and chartity magazines
  • Corporate literature such as brochures, leaflets and internal comms
  • Non-fiction books
  • Educational courses and materials
  • Annual reports (digital and print)
  • Direct marketing literature, including fundraising and campaigning multimedia resources
  • Scriptwriting, animation.

Qualifications and training (never stop learning!)

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading

  • Plain English for Editors
  • Word for Practical Editing
  • References
  • Annual Conference 2020.

National Council for the Training of Journalists: ​​

  • Writing for the Periodical Press
  • Basics of Subediting
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Sharpening your English.

Communications, Advertising and Marketing Foundation: Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing.

City University: Advanced Features Writing, tutored by Guardian journalist Melissa Benn.

Educare/NSPCC: Child Protection Awareness; Somewhere to Turn to: Safeguarding Children and Young People.

BBC Training. Production Team Workshop. 

Aberystwyth University: BA Drama/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft.

  • I was a professional member of the The Professional Copywriters’ Network from 2016-2021 – the UK's largest association for commercial copywriters.
  • Life before freelancing... I have 12 years' experience working in-house in marketing and communications for global NGOs.
  • At the start of my career, I worked in scheduling and transmissions for BBC Programme Acquisition and as an assistant to three executive producers in BBC Single Drama and Films, including Gareth Neame and Simon Curtis.
  • A highlight was standing behind Doctor Who in a queue in the BBC canteen. ;-)

Portfolio (need hard evidence?)

It's not all talk – take a look at my print and online portfolio here.

Let's talk bees and honey (money)

What does a copyeditor, proofreader or copywriter charge?

My day rate starts from £290. 

Get in touch and I'll get a wriggle on!

Tech stuff

Software and CMS experience includes: 

  • Windows 10/Microsoft Office 2019
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Past edited work in SharePoint, Tridion, Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Moonfruit
  • Basic and often daily use of project management and collaboration software: MS Teams, Google Workspace (previously G Suite), Trello, Dropbox, Asana, Slack
  • Social media and apps: Hootsuite, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Telegram.


Jo Johnston is a highly versatile and reliable writer. I commissioned her freelance services at short notice and was delighted to find that she was quick to interpret what was needed and able to produce accurate copy well within deadline. The work involved creating content for an extensive international brochure sourced from text that was often in broken English and sometimes over technical for the readership. 

International Property Media

Jo was extremely thorough, flexible and adapted to our organisational style. She was well worth the fee she charged and I would highly recommend her.

Global Witness

An extremely creative, helpful and conscientious copywriter who quickly understood the brief and delivered words that got under the hood of the services we provide. Just as importantly Jo pushed the boundaries of that brief to bring us fresh insights and possibilities.

Guildprime Specialist Contracts Ltd

Jo has copyedited a number of reports and academic publications for ISD. She is extremely effective. When I send Jo work to be copyedited I can rest assured it is in good hands, will come back to us promptly and in great shape. We will continue to use Jo for all of our reports!

Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Jo is a true professional. Her approach of getting to know you and understand what you want to achieve through your writing was refreshing and enabled me develop a sense of trust and confidence in working together. I appreciate Jo’s creative and technical experience together with her sense of humour.

Ashvale Consultancy Limited


Associated skills

    Disclaimer note

    The CIEP Directory of Editorial Services should be considered a point of first contact and prospective clients must satisfy themselves that members are capable of the work on offer. The Institute cannot be held responsible for the quality of work provided by any member listed in the directory. The members themselves are responsible for the maintenance and accuracy of their entries in the Directory and the CIEP has not made any attempt to vet them. The institute cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in the Directory. Inclusion in the Directory as a freelance does not necessarily mean that the member is self-employed as defined by HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions.


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