The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
How to organize your best proofreading and editing resources so that they're visible and usable ...
Content hubs for proofreaders and editors
The ‘self-publishers’ page on my site is a content hub. I call it Louise's Writing Library. It’s where potential author clients can find lots of resources to make their lives easier.
Each resource has a picture. Clicking on that picture takes the visitor to a blog post, a Word file or a PDF booklet (though it could just as easily link to a video, podcast or Excel spreadsheet).
All of that stuff is on my blog too, so why did I create a dedicated page to curate it? Here are 8 reasons why:
1. Hubs help your visitors find your useful stuff
It's much easier for a visitor to navigate from one resource to another when you offer clearly titled images in one place than it is to find what you want in a search bar or blog archive.
And if they get distracted, it’s easy to start the content review process all over again back in the hub. That might not be so easy if they’re on a 7-year-old blog with several hundred articles on it, especially if the ones they want to read appear in different subject- or month-archives.
Your visitor can also bookmark a hub page on your site. They can’t do that with a list of results generated by your search bar. They can probably bookmark an archive, but that will only show the first article or two on your blog, not a chunk of your core resources at a glance.
2. Hubs keeps your visitors on your site for longer because there’s more to engage with
The more goodies you offer visitors, the greater their engagement. That’s good for obvious reasons – you’re helping your clients, showing them you’re engaged with their problems and are willing and able to solve them.
But there’s another important reason. The longer someone sticks around on your site, the more likely they are to hire your editorial services.
It’s no surprise, really – I don’t stick around in a high-street shop, desperately trying to find that one thing I want, if the overall feel of the place and the products it’s selling don’t feel like me. But if I keep finding things that grab my attention, I’m much more likely to walk out of the door with a bag full of something nice.
Editorial websites are no different. If your hub makes potential clients drool because you’re offering them a lot of free, helpful, valuable content, if it makes them feel that you get them, and that you’re a good fit for each other, you have a much higher chance of persuading that person to ask for a quote or a sample edit/proofread.
3. Hubs reinforce your brand
Content hubs are perfect for reinforcing your brand identity because you can create a uniform look and feel by theming your images with consistent colourways, fonts, and design.
Include a few lines of text at the top to explain who your resources are for, and what problems they’ll solve – your mission, so to speak.
Here’s a partial sample of the images in my own content hub:
My brand identity is premised on a passionate support for the independent author’s right to write, and my empathy with their self-publishing journey (having done it myself). I hope my smiling headshots give them an inkling of my friendliness and supportive nature. I hope that the colours are soft and gentle enough to inspire reassurance. But just in case, I include the following text to explain what my aim is with this hub:
Welcome to the library
And here's a partial shot of John Espirian's Learning Zone. John's hub has a very different feel to it, and so it should. His brand identity is built around a different set of skills, services and target clients.
4. Hubs demonstrate your expertise and arouse clients’ emotions
With a hub you can offer a chunk of accessible information that solves multiple problems. That presents you as an expert who sees the big picture. It’s not a labyrinthine process of discovery that involves extensive scrolling or putting the right keywords into a search box. Rather, you hit them in the heart with a message that you’re on their side and have their backs.
It’s about arousing powerful emotions. In episode 3 of Content Mavericks, pro content marketers Andrew and Pete argue that high-arousal messages like awe, excitement, relief, and love are much more likely to generate engagement than lower-arousal messages like contentment. ‘When we care we share … Figure out a way to make people care about your message or your offering.’
If your hub can generate excitement in your potential client – make them feel that they’ve found an editor or proofreader who’s completely on their wavelength, someone who’s demonstrably in touch with their struggles, and is offering resolution – that’s a powerful message.
And it’s one that’s more likely to get your visitors telling others about who you are and what you’re up to, and have them clicking the Contact button.
5. Eye candy
I cherish my blog, The Proofreader’s Parlour. I’ve lovingly filled it with articles on a weekly (mostly) basis since 2011. But things can get messy. There’s a sidebar with a subscription button, an RSS button, a search box, an archive by subject area, an archive by date, some links to my book, and more.
Plus, I love to write meaty posts. Most of my articles are at least 1,500 words long. And while I do include images and header stamps that summarize what’s included in each post, there’s an awful lot of text.
That’s not all. There’s a lot of scrolling to do if someone wants to glimpse what’s available on one page of the blog. A content hub is much easier on the eye and allows my author visitors to see at a glance what’s on offer.
Back in the day when I worked exclusively for publishers, my blog posts were aimed at my colleagues. These days I work pretty much exclusively for indie authors, and now I’m creating content for them, too. So I have two audiences, and two types of content. It’s about a 50–50 split.
Creating resource hubs helps me to segment my website so that the right people can find the relevant content. This is particularly important for my author audience because most of them don’t yet know me. They’re less likely to bounce around in my blog, diving from one archive to another in a bid to find what they need.
Many of my colleague visitors do know me, at least in an online capacity. And so they have a little more patience because I’ve already built a trusting relationship with them. They’re more likely to spend time rooting around the Parlour for what they want. I do have a Resources page for them, but it houses fewer pieces of content than the author content hub.
7. You can show off what you’ve got planned
This is one of the biggest pulls for me. I want potential author clients to see what I’m already offering them, of course, but I have a tonne of great stuff in my head or listed on my content-audit spreadsheet, in production, out with the proofreader, or already scheduled for publication sometime in the next few months. And that’s not visible on my blog.
My blog only tells people about what’s available. What’s coming might be equally appealing to a client. They might be more likely to sign up for membership to Louise’s Writing Library (my author newsletter) if they can see there are some exciting things in the pipeline.
Furthermore, I encourage library members to tell me what’s missing from the hub. If I’m asked for something, but I know it’s going to take me a few weeks to produce that new resource, I want to have a way of indicating that it’s on its way and that I haven’t ignored the request.
8. Hubs encourage ‘you’re worth it’ moments
Certainly, a great content hub will increase the likelihood that your visitor will hit the contact button, but not everyone will be ready to make that commitment.
That’s why building a mailing list is a great way to keep in touch with potential clients who are thinking, ‘I’m interested in you and like what you’re doing, but I’m not quite at the point where I’m ready to hire you as my editor or proofreader.’
Still, it seems like everyone and their aunt has a mailing list or newsletter these days. And if you’re going to persuade someone to allow yet another email into their already crowded inbox, and make them want to actually open it, displaying a hub of gorgeous resources might just be the tipping point – the thing that makes them think you’re worth it.
Make sure your hub includes a way of signing up to your mailing list, and a clear call to action that tells the visitor what you want them to do, and why. Here’s what mine looks like:
Make your wonderful editorial content easy to access. Whether it’s a blog, a vlog, a podcast, or something else, help your potential clients navigate their way around your resources and show them all the marvellous stuff on offer.
Tell them who and what it’s for – how it helps, which problems it solves. Explain whether it’s available instantly or whether some sort of access sign-up is required.
Finally, make sure it’s designed uniformly (Canva is your free friend – trust me!) so that each resource looks like it’s part of a stable. That way it’s not a hotchpotch of stuff; it’s valuable, client-focused content that represents you, your editorial business, your professional values, and your mission – your brand identity.
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you're an author, you might like to join Louise’s Writing Library. Members receive monthly updates featuring self-publishing news and resources.
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I'm an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society.
All text on this blog, The Proofreader's Parlour, and on the other pages of this website (unless indicated otherwise) is in copyright © 2011–17 Louise Harnby. Please do not copy or reproduce any of the content, in whole or part, in any form, unless you ask first.
Author Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). I abide by its Code of Standards in regard to my status as an independent writer.
Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). I'm a signatory to its code of practice as a professional editor.
Featured in The Book Designer's Carnival of the Indies: Joel Friedlander's collection of 'outstanding articles recently posted to blogs'.
Winner of the Judith Butcher Award 2017 in respect of 'highly visible contributions to the SfEP and its membership'.