This morning I was chatting online with my pal and colleague Kate Haigh about marketing issues (she's a fellow freelancer who puts a lot of value on the time she invests in both the "thinking" and "doing" elements of promoting her editorial business, Kateproof). Our conversation reminded me, once more, of another lesson I learned during my days as a marketing manager in the publishing industry: putting yourself in your customer's shoes.
For the proofreader or editor this means asking yourself:
You might use different marketing activities to target different client types, and different hooks and pitches to make yourself interesting to those client types. It’s worth checking that the message matches the customer's expectations at each opportunity.
Tweaking and targeting each and every time the opportunity arises
Kate talked specifically about how we do this customer-shoe wearing when we're creating CVs, though the concept is applicable to any marketing activity.
I’ve lost count of the CVs/résumés I’ve generated over the years, because each time I’m asked by a client to send one as part of my quotation, I like to tailor it specifically to that invitation to quote. My website currently includes a couple of slightly different options – one focuses on the work I’ve done for academic publishers, the other for trade publishers. The former includes a truncated portfolio of social science projects that I’ve proofread, whereas the latter includes a list of fiction and commercial non-fiction projects. Both of them emphasize the information that I believe publishers want to know.
However, I don’t use either of those when a non-publisher client contacts me directly and asks me to send them a CV. Instead, I create a new one. Here are just a few examples of things I might tweak for my newly created CV, in this case for an independent writer:
From the tone you use to the USPs (unique selling points) you highlight, the terminology you employ, the genres/subjects/experience you list, the kinds of testimonial you include, and the promises you make – ensuring they match what the customer needs and understands is the key to good communication and successful marketing. And if that means having multiple CVs, business cards, and promo brochures, so be it. If it means different pitches for different directory listings, so be it. If it means additional work to ensure you're using the right message to the right person at the right time, so be it.
On the subject of CVs, if you're a new entrant to the field and are worried about how you might create an attractive editorial résumé even though you're relatively inexperienced, I'll be addressing this on the Parlour in the next few weeks.
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