So what is the best way to promote your editorial business? If you don’t have any experience of marketing, the task can seem daunting – so much to consider, so many things to try!
Actually, there is no “best way” that will apply universally to each individual in the editorial community. What works best for you may not work best for me. That’s because it’s more than likely that you and I have different skills, backgrounds and specialisms; we are offering different services to different client types in different parts of the world; and whom, and where, our primary customers are will determine how they are most likely to find us.
One option for the inexperienced marketer is therefore to start at the macro level – with the marketing wheel ...
What is the marketing wheel?
The marketing wheel is a concept that I first discussed in my book Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business (2014). It’s a starting point for visualizing your editorial business broadly, and organizing your thoughts so that you can approach the task comfortably. The minutiae can come later.
The marketing wheel is a reminder that marketing is about joined-up thinking – that marketing isn’t about doing X, Y and Z in isolation. Rather, X, Y and Z are interconnected components of a broader strategy. For example, your business cards are linked to your website because you’ll include your web address on them; your social media profiles can act as conduits for sharing any added-value content that you develop for your website; your directory advertising can include information about professional societies that you engage with as part of the professional networking process; and so on; your business name, logo and colour way will be consistent across all channels; and so on.
Your marketing strategy is like a wheel on a bike. The hub of the wheel is your editorial business. The rim is your customers and colleagues. The hub and the rim are connected by spokes upon which lie the marketing activities that you will carry out and the concepts you’ve embraced in order to communicate with your customer.
Below is a copy of the marketing wheel that I created in autumn 2013 when I started writing Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business.
The activities/tools that I’ve assigned to the spokes, and the underlying concepts that I’ve assigned to the spaces in between those spokes, are not set in stone. The marketing wheel presented here is based on those tools and concepts that I consider important for me – your wheel could look the same, similar or completely different.
The important point is that this type of visualization can help the inexperienced marketer to start at the macro level and think in a joined-up way about who their customers and colleagues are (the rim), what their business is offering (the hub), which activities/tools would best bridge the gap between the two (the spokes), and what concepts will be embraced when bridging that gap (the spaces).
Creating your own marketing wheel
The marketing wheel can be simple, like the one above, or more detailed if you prefer. It’s your wheel so it’s up to you! Some inexperienced marketers will want to fill in the labels with a lot more information. My own marketing strategy is a rather wordy document – it started years back with scribbles in a notepad that later became an extensive Word document. But if you’re the kind of person who prefers infographics, pictures and maps to record your preferences, goals, future plans and strategies, a more comprehensive image may well be the way forward for you while developing your promotional strategy.
Below is a link to a PDF featuring an unlabelled marketing wheel that you can annotate yourself using your PDF editor’s onboard commenting and markup tools (there’s no need to seek permission to use this, or the filled-in version above, for private use – my only request is that for public presentation you attribute the source appropriately).
When creating your own personalized marketing wheel, start by considering the following:
So, your marketing wheel needn’t be a static tool – you can change it as your strategy develops.
You may find that, as you begin to think more deeply about how to fill in your wheel, your priorities change – perhaps after considering your skill set and USPs, you realize that you need to tweak the client groups you planned to target, focusing on others who are a better fit for your specialist subjects and skills.
This will require you to alter the information in the rim. In turn, this might necessitate changing the key tools/activities you’ll employ to reach those customers, and so you’ll need to amend the spokes accordingly.
In other words, don’t let the wheel dictate the information that you label it with; rather, let the information determine the design of the wheel.
Remember, the wheel is nothing more than a visual representation of the things you are thinking about with regard to marketing your editorial business. It’s a pictorial map that provides, at minimum, an overview of the services you will offer, a record of to whom you will offer them, the tools you will use to communicate that message, and the complementary activities you will carry out to ensure that those tools are effective.
A final word
The marketing wheel is just one approach to thinking about editorial business promotion. I like it because it’s simple.
Even the inexperienced marketer will be familiar with the image and I think this makes it a useful tool for tackling a subject – marketing – that some new entrants to the field find daunting.
If you’re a newbie who’s struggling to get your head around business promotion, try using the wheel as a way of organizing your thoughts.
Even if you later move on to developing a more detailed strategy in written form, the visual representation of your initial ideas will provide you with a kick-starter to help you on your way.
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.
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