The Proofreader’s Parlour
A BLOG FOR EDITORS, PROOFREADERS AND WRITERS
If you’re an editor or proofreader who finds marketing your business overwhelming, here are 6 ideas to help you rethink your mindset and pull you out of the mire.
Recent discussions with colleagues on social media made me realize two things:
It made me sad to think that some of my colleagues could be negatively affected by those of us who find marketing easier or who enjoy it more.
If you're one of those who's struggling, this article is for you. It looks at the perceptions that might be triggering your discomfort and offers you new ways of thinking about each problem so that you can move forward.
If you want a reminder to pin on your wall, download the infographic at the bottom of the post. Or download the free PDF booklet to your preferred device.
Perception 1: It shouldn’t be done unless you can do it perfectly
Some editors are suffocated by their perfectionism. Not being able to do marketing perfectly and completely stops them from starting it. And so nothing gets done.
Here are five examples that reflect the truth of the matter:
I have been blogging since 2011 and I only just got around to uploading a banner image that reflected the parlour theme of the blog. I’m confident that my audience will forgive me. Those who won’t are likely not my audience.
If you’re someone who finds themselves falling into this trap, give yourself a break, please. Everyone else will. Social media profiles can be tweaked, banners can be uploaded, testimonials can be added, and headshots can be updated.
In fact, everything about your marketing strategy can be amended, deleted or completely rethought whenever you wish.
Ask yourself this: When you edit for a client, do you guarantee perfection? Do you think it’s even possible? I don’t. One reason is that much of what I do depends on brief, style, preference or voice. Editing work isn’t an exact science.
I have some good news for you – nor is effective marketing.
OVERCOMING OVERWHELM: TIP 1
You don’t have to do it perfectly. You just have to do it.
Perception 2: Everyone else is doing way more than you
It might look like that but the reality is probably different. A colleague recently told me: ‘I know how hard you work on marketing. I can tell by how many posts you write and share on LinkedIn each day.’
I tend to share 7 blog articles throughout the day on both LinkedIn and Twitter. That’s 49 social media shares of my blog content every week on each platform. But I write one blog post a week. Just one.
I share that new post on a Monday. The other 48 are reshares of older blog articles that I hope my community will be interested in if they missed them the first time around.
And people might well have missed them. Tweets and posts on Facebook are more likely to be missed than seen on busy social feeds with ever-changing algorithms. That’s why many editors reshare their older content.
Those of us who’ve been blogging for a few years have a lot of content banked, which means we have plenty to share. If you’re starting out on your blogging journey, you’ll have a smaller bank.
And that’s absolutely fine! It’s not a numbers game; it’s a content-delivery game. If you have older blog posts, reshare them. If you don’t, wait until you do and then reshare.
And if you'd rather write an article every two weeks, or once a month, that's your choice too.
It matters not that I’m sharing 49 articles and you’re sharing 2 or 5 or whatever. What matters is that we’re delivering articles that will solve our colleagues’ and clients’ problems, and making our businesses more visible.
Don’t waste precious time worrying about my 49. Those are mine and for me to worry about. You need to think only about how to promote your 2 (or 5 or whatever) posts because those are what will drive traffic to your website.
OVERCOMING OVERWHELM: TIP 2
Focus on delivery not numerical comparisons.
All that’s relevant is what you do for your business.
Perception 3: Some editors don’t do any marketing but have loads of work anyway
Marketing has many faces.
Remember my 49 blog-post shares? Those are part of a strategy to make me discoverable online and appealing to self-publishing authors of fiction.
What I do with my blog is a very visible form of marketing because the international editorial community is active on social media, and I use social media as one delivery tool for my blog content.
But what if an editor has a different target client base? Imagine Dan. He’s a copyeditor who specializes in social science books. His primary client base is publishers.
Last week he did the following:
None of this marketing activity has been tweeted, liked, shared or commented on. No one knows what Dan was up to last week. However, it’s excellent, targeted promotion, and worth every minute he spent on it.
What one editor does to put themselves in front of potential clients will not necessarily mirror what another is doing. An editor whose schedule is full but who doesn’t appear to be busy with marketing is likely promoting their services in less visible but just as powerful ways.
None of us is handed work. We have to find it, or enable it to find us.
Perhaps the marketing work you need to do is not about blogging, vlogging, tweeting or chatting. Maybe it’s about making a telephone call, attending a networking group, writing an email, sending a letter, or advertising in appropriate spaces.
OVERCOMING OVERWHELM: TIP 3
Follow your own path. Marketing doesn’t have to be shiny and out there. Good marketing focuses on your business and clients not your colleagues’.
Perception 4: Unlike everyone else, you don’t have anything to show off about
I bet you do! Once a week in my Facebook group, I host a marketing #Carnival. It’s a celebration of wins. Any wins – big or small.
And it isn’t just shiny-shiny stuff like winning an award, securing a new client, launching a new product, or publishing a 2,000-word blog post.
It could also be completing a test, sending out 10 letters to prospective clients, filling out a LinkedIn profile, uploading a picture to a website, booking a course, securing a testimonial, creating a marketing to-do list, buying a domain name, or applying for a membership upgrade to a professional editorial society.
Anything that takes our businesses forward is worth celebrating. I’m good at holding a list of my wins in my head but you might prefer to keep a physical record of your achievements.
You don’t need anything fancy – a spreadsheet, a notebook or a space on your wall for Post-it notes.
Then, when the overwhelm hits, look at that spreadsheet, notebook or wall, and remind yourself of all that you’ve achieved. That focuses attention on what’s been done rather than what’s left to do.
OVERCOMING OVERWHELM: TIP 4
Create your own carnival. Record what you’ve achieved as well as what’s left to do. Busy people's wins deserve to be celebrated.
Perception 5: Editor X is producing a seemingly impossible amount of regular new content
Unlikely! I suspect repurposing is what's going on. Bear in mind the following:
I've done the following with some of my older blog posts:
There are even more ways to repurpose content for promotional means but you get the picture.
Repurposing is quicker than creating from scratch and therefore great for the time-poor editor. But it also respects the fact that people like to access help in different ways and at different times.
Even if an editor appears to produce a lot of visible content, it’s more likely that they’re taking shortcuts to make life easier. And so can you!
OVERCOMING OVERWHELM: TIP 5
The busiest marketing editors are not magicians; they’re just good at recycling! You can repurpose your content too.
Perception 6: There’s just way too much to do at once
You’ve made a list of all the things you’ve seen others doing and it’s huge. Overwhelming, in fact. Ugh. There’s so much:
You don’t have nearly enough time in your life to get all of it sorted. It would take months and months and months to do all that!
Yep, it would. It might even take a couple of years to get up to full speed. And you know what? That’s fine! It’s supposed to be like that because you're a professional editor not a professional marketer.
So, if you feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, take a breath and think in ones.
Even the most visible and active of marketing editors started out with just one blog post, just one tweet, just one small list of publishers, just one directory entry, just one page on a website, just one online group they lurked in.
Everyone has to start somewhere. None of us creates a marketing strategy and nails it a month later.
And marketing gets easier over time because there comes a point where it starts to work for you instead of being a burden. Take me, for example ...
Some years back, I was still in the process of developing that stuff. I didn’t do it all at once. I did a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more. Over time, the foundational work was completed, leaving me space to focus on the marketing activities that work best for me now.
Look at your marketing list. Instead of seeing it as an ocean in which to drown, break it down into cups from which you can sip.
Create a doable schedule. Choose a couple of things and an acceptable time frame in which to do them. Then choose a couple more and do those ... small steps that respect and reflect your client base, your personality, and the demands of your work and personal life.
OVERCOMING OVERWHELM: TIP 6
Think in ones. Schedule step by step so that your goals are achievable in the long term and suit your business, not mine or anyone else’s.
Beating the overwhelm: A downloadable checklist
There’s more than one way to do marketing. Your way might look different to mine. It might be less visible. It might involve targeting different clients. It might require a different pace. That's all fine.
Download the infographic below and pin it on your wall. It'll remind you that marketing is not about catching up with colleagues. It's a journey, a building process. It does require your time, but you get to choose the methods and the schedule.
If you feel the paralysis setting in, join my Facebook group, tell me what's holding you back, and we'll work out some steps to get you moving in a way that works for you.
Louise Harnby is a fiction copyeditor and proofreader who specializes in helping self-publishing writers prepare their novels for market.
She is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors, and runs online courses from within the Craft Your Editorial Fingerprint series. She is also an Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. Louise loves books, coffee and craft gin, though not always in that order.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader & Copyeditor, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you're an author, take a look at Louise’s Writing Library and access her latest self-publishing resources, all of which are free and available instantly.
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