Do You Need an Editor? Here’s How to Find Support For Your Writing Project

meditation for writersRecently, a member of a Facebook group for bloggers posted this question: Who do you use to edit your blog posts? The answers ranged from some type of software to “my mother” to a seasoned pro. Why the disparity? I think because when people use the term “editor,” they tend to use it loosely. So, do you need an editor?

What is an editor?

An editor is not a proofreader. Sure, all editors will proofread, but that’s not the focus of their art. An editor is also not a ghostwriter, though many editors do ghostwrite as well.

Most editorial projects float among all three services: ghostwriting, editing, and proofreading. But even if your needs fall squarely within the realm of editing, you need to know what kind of editing you need. There is more than one type.

Most professional editors break services into three categories: light editing (which lives at the border of proofreading), moderate editing (also called line editing or copy editing), and substantive editing (which lives at the border of ghostwriting).

Do you need an editor?

Many people ask for proofreading or light editing when they really need something more. Being specific about what you need is not the same thing as being specific about what you want to pay for. If you ask for proofreading but your copy is still in the “rough draft” stage, you’ll need to rethink your strategy.  You wouldn’t hire a painter before you’ve had drywall installed, would you?

Think of an editor as more than someone who will check your grammar and spelling. Yes, you can probably use software for that, though even the best software will miss nuances that make your writing unique. Unless you’re writing academic or technical material, there’s little need to be so “correct” that your writing is boring. Trying to get all the red and green lines in your Word doc to disappear is usually a waste of time (though I’ll admit it is fun to try)!

For most writers, especially bloggers and authors who craft pieces to communicate something they’re passionate about, an editor should offer the following things:

1. She should know more about grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. than your friend who was good in English. Ask which style guide she uses, and check out the resource she mentions. Ask what kind of training she has. (I have an eye for detail is not an adequate answer.) This is especially important if you’re writing a book that you would like to market professionally at some point. To give you an idea of the minutiae editors work with, note that the Chicago Manual of Style (the guide I use most often) is a full 1000 pages! (Yes, I do have to look things up!)

2. She should have an editorial process. Unless you simply want a proofreader, your editing project should involve several steps. You should understand how you will participate in the process, and you should be clear on what your editor will and will not do. (Hint: She will not change your voice or rewrite your content unless you ask her to, and she will not act like your high school English teacher!)

3. She should be familiar with your niche or subject. Search for an editor, and you’ll probably find hundreds in no time at all! The icing on the cake if you want the best fit for your project is knowledge of your subject matter. It won’t necessarily cost you more to hire someone familiar with your topic (unless it’s very technical), but you will get more for your money. An editor who knows your audience will serve not only as a grammar and style geek who can ensure that your copy flows well, but she will also stand in for your readers. She’ll understand what you’re trying to communicate, and she’ll be able to suggest when your message isn’t clear.

4. She should work for you on behalf of your readers. A good editor with experience in your niche is an ally for both you and your readers. She’ll help you when you’re stuck on a way to find the words for something you’re passionate about because she is passionate about the same thing! For example, my clients who are nutritionists, health coaches, life coaches, personal trainers, therapists, and yoga teachers are comfortable working with me because they know I’ve read hundreds of pages of content on these topics. I know what’s out there, how to make their project unique, and how to make sure it’s on par with content that works for other well-being professionals.

What does a good editor cost?

Again, there’s no simple answer to this question. A good place to start is the Editorial Freelancers Association’s rate sheet. You can find it here.

High quality editing doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but don’t expect it to be cheap either. You truly will get what you pay for. Look for someone reasonably priced, but understand that editing is not as simple as many people think. If you’re in doubt about what you’ll get for your money, ask for a free sample edit. Most editors will provide one.

If you’re lucky enough to find someone who values her own abilities as well as yours—in other words, if your editor is passionate enough about what you do to see beyond dollar signs, but also a consummate professional—you’ve found the right person. Respect for each other is the key to a professional relationship that goes beyond spell-checking and “correcting” your work.

So, do you need an editor, or is your project safe in your roommate’s hands? Only you can decide!

Not ready to hire an editor? Join my email list and receive access to my free guide that will help you start editing your own work today!

Don’t Hire a Social Media Manager for Your Well-being Business

social media

If you visit my website and read about my services, you’ll see one of the hats I wear is social media assistant. So why am I telling you not to hire a social media manager? Here’s why…

Social Media Marketing is About Relationships

If you are a yoga teacher, health coach, massage therapist, or other wellness service provider, your business depends on the relationship you build with students or clients. That means you need to participate in your social media marketing campaign. At least some of the posts need to come straight from you!

So, when I say don’t hire a social media manager, I mean don’t hand the reins over to someone else and disappear. Of course, you can hire someone to help you. I often post on my clients’ behalf, but I cannot take their place when it comes to building a relationship with their audience.

The exception is clients who sell products—yoga apps, clothing, aromatherapy products, etc. In those case, the awesomeness of the product doesn’t depend too much on a relationship between the person who created the product and the people who buy it.

So, yes there is a place for a marketing manager. But if your business is about service, your followers want to see you! They want to see your face on your website and read your words on social media.

How to Start the Conversation

Social media marketing is all about the conversation you have with your followers. And it does not work overnight. It also doesn’t work on its own. It’s only part of a marketing strategy, so take the time to decide if and how much you need to use it. The truth is, you won’t get far with organic traffic. In other words, if you want people to find you on social media, you’ll need to pay for ads or to boost your best posts.

Ask yourself where online your audience hangs out, and how often are they likely to be there. In my experience, people who buy wellness services like yoga classes, health coaching, aromatherapy, etc. like information, inspiration, and images. They go to blogs, which can be shared best on Facebook and Twitter for information. They go to Pinterest or Instagram for images. They go to all social media sites for inspiration!

Ideally, after someone reads your blog or sees an image you post, they’ll have something to say about it. Better yet, they’ll want to share it. They may even have a question for you!

Unfortunately, getting people to comment on posts is difficult. My advice is to focus on creating content that at least engages people’s thoughts. Give them reasons to notice you and think about you. When they’re ready for your service, they get in touch!

Always Be Authentic

The important thing is that you’re giving them something that is authentically you. If you hire an assistant—because keeping up with social media is a lot of work—find someone who understands what you do. An assistant can curate and post content that keeps you in front of your audience regularly. It’s good to be seen regularly!

Just remember, you will not gain a huge following simply by having a Facebook page or Pinterest account. You also need a great website/blog and other ways to stay in touch with your tribe, such as an email list and newsletter.

I’ll tell you more about why your website and email list may be more important pieces of your marketing puzzle in another post.

How is your experience with social media marketing? Have you noticed a change since you started? Remember, it’s all about sharing, so let me know!

Will You Have Great Content to Share on Social Media This Year?

 

 

One of the services I provide is social media assistance for clients in the well-being niche. Specifically, I find and share blog posts, quotes, and other content to that inspires yogis and other well-being enthusiasts. You’d think this would be easy. After all, there are so many yoga and wellness blogs out there, right?

Well, yes. There are a lot of yoga blogs and websites, but I have a surprisingly difficult time finding “go-to” sites that are sources of shareable content.

Do you have one? Send me a link! I’d love to read it!

Not sure if you have one? Keep reading, and maybe I can help you decide.

Obviously, you want to be sure you have well-written posts, but it doesn’t stop there. If you want your content to be shared, there are a few other things you need to do.

Let me give you an example. I did some ghostwriting for a client’s yoga blog a while back. So, I know I like the content, but I rarely share it. Why not, you ask?

Well, when my client designed his website and posted the pieces I wrote, he didn’t make the content easy to share.And that’s unfortunate, because it’s not too difficult to make content shareable!

 

Five Simple Ways to Be Sure Your Content is Shareable

1. Write well. I know I said this already, but it’s important. I’m not suggesting you need to be an award-winning writer. Just be sure you organize your thoughts concisely and minimize typos and grammatical errors. One or two mistakes won’t hurt (you’re human after all), but I promise your readers will get a subconscious message if your writing is riddled with errors or difficult to read.

2. Use short paragraphs, headings, and numbered or bulleted lists. I still come across blog posts that are just a few long paragraphs with no headings or other way to break up the text. That may work if you’re writing a print book, but your online readers will get tired quickly if you don’t give their eyes a break.

3. Use social share buttons, and be sure they work! Be sure, too, that it’s obvious which icons are for sharing your content and which are for connecting with you on social media! It shouldn’t be a surprise that content is easier to share with a simple click of a social share icon. The alternative is to copy the link, go to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and share from there. I don’t do that often, and my guess is other potential ambassadors for your work won’t either.

4. Include an eye-catching image. You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, right? I’d take it a step further and point out that a thousand words are also worth a thousand words. The picture and words together are worth much more than the sum of their parts. There’s no replacement for prose—for dialogue with your reader that encourages, inspires, or informs. But images enrich prose by appealing to more of our senses. They also call attention to content in an undeniable way.

5. Make sure your image can be shared easily. That means that someone clicks the social share icons I mentioned earlier, they will be able to share the post and the image. People are much more likely to notice, click on, and read a post if they are attracted to it by a colorful image that helps tell the story.

So, now that you know what makes your content shareable, you may have a bit of tweaking to do. I hope you’ll do it, because the easier you make it for like-minded folks to share the love, the more likely they’ll do so and help get your message out there!

Need help with content creation or social media? Contact me anytime for a free brainstorming session!

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