Learn to Love the Editing Process

I love editing. So much.

I love to take people’s words and make them gleam; to make slightly technical things fun and easy to read; to reduce redundancies and increase clarity.

But if someone wants to edit MY work?

No way. Those are MY words, and letting go hurts. I don’t even feel comfortable having my husband sit next to me on the couch when I’m writing an email.

It’s scary to hand over your writing to someone else.

Laptop, book and tea

Love the Editing Process

Ready to get help? Grab that red pen by the cap and tell it who’s boss. When you’re hiring an editor, you’re in control: of your words, of your message, and of the process.

The goal is not to make you feel bad. The goal is to make your business more money.

Take comfort in working with a professional.

No, you wouldn’t ask any stranger to look in your mouth to check on your plaque buildup. You ask a dental hygienist. And, okay, even that might be nerve-wracking and weird, especially when you’re seeing someone new. But if they’re nice, the next time isn’t so bad. It might even get to be pleasant.

Like other professionals, we the editors won’t judge you as long as you’re reasonably nice and pay on time. Seriously.

Just because you can edit doesn’t mean you have to. Or should.

A lot of people feel like editing is something they should be able to do themselves. You took English in high school after all. Well, friends, I took economics in high school, but I’m not doing my own taxes. We all have our talents and choose our training accordingly.

Create efficiencies.

Small business owners need to focus on what brings them joy and money. As soon as you have cash flow, you can and should be hiring out tasks. Those are tasks that you don’t want to do (hello, writing). Tasks that keep you from making money. Tasks that you’re not particularly good at. Hire someone at $50 an hour so you can make $200 that hour.

When you have a communications piece that needs to be written or edited, what do you usually do with it? Agonize a little, complain about it to your co-worker, check Facebook, open and close the document? That’s all fine and good—and goodness knows writers do their own share of procrastinating—but wouldn’t it be easier just to send it away to a professional you have a relationship with?

Choose your experience.

Editors have a bunch of tools at their disposal. We can show our work—every deleted comma, every strong verb choice—or not. If this is important to you, let your editor know ahead of time what.

Sometimes you just want a job done and not spend one more brain cell on it. No problem!

Sometimes, you want to be more involved. Great!

Do you need to know how far along we are on a big project on any given day? We can set that up ahead of time.

Work with someone who lifts you up.

Can I tell you a secret? I’ve written for a number of online and print editors.

Some of them just took my work and mangled it without asking. Some just barely communicated at all—the work equivalent of having a grunting teenager in your car. One made me cry regularly.

A few went out of their way to thank me for good work, and to ask politely and clearly when they needed changes. Some are just downright enthusiastic.

Guess which ones I still work with?

Life is short. Hire someone who is a joy to work with. Good editors will improve your business prospects. They might even improve your future writing, and make you feel better along the way.

That’s the goal.

Otter holding hands!!


Looking for a pleasant editing experience? Email hello@kelleygardiner.com

Have you ever been scared to hand off your writing to an editor? Share your pain in the comments.



If you liked that blog post, you would looooove my email newsletter.

It goes out once a month or so, and it’s a short and sweet way to keep up with the latest in business communications.

Email newsletter signup button

Let’s Chat: What Works for You with Facebook Marketing?

I logged into Facebook today, like I do every day. Several times a day.

They’d made another change. An ad I really didn’t care about (a church in another state, with 67 fans?) chased me around. I have no idea what my friends are up to, but I get to see pictures of some stranger’s camping trip because my childhood friend liked it.

Judge Judy does not approve
Via giphy

Ugh, typical Facebook, amirite?

I’m not here to complain. (Okay, obviously I am, a little. Sorry.) Because I’m still on Facebook, several times a day, for work and personal things.

So are your customers.

Facebook Marketing

Chances are, your audience is on Facebook. So how do you reach them?

There’re a hundred bazillion articles about Facebook marketing on the world wide web—I checked—but that’s a lot of reading. And a lot of it’s geared toward social media marketing professionals who do this stuff 40 hours a week. Most small business owners and solopreneurs are doing this on their own, or depending on a member of their staff to find the time.

So, what the heck do we do?

Post somewhat regularly. Don’t be too sales-y. Use nice images. Hope for the best.

That’s a start.

We also know that we pretty much have to use Facebook if we want to get in front of customers. 79% of online adults use Facebook.

We also know that Facebook wants you to pay more to “boost” your posts so more of your potential customers will see them. There isn’t much organic reach anymore.

Facebook thumbs up

 

What’s the Next Step?

You’ve been diligently posting, and keeping in touch with your customers. What’s the next step? Lucky for us, there’s a rich treasure trove of trial-and-error here, within our communities.

Let’s hear from YOU, small business owners. What works for you on Facebook?

  • Do you use Facebook Live?
  • What’s your most popular call to action?
  • What posts get the most interactions?

Let’s chat. Comment away below!

 

Psst… if the basics still aren’t clear to you, or you don’t have a Facebook page yet, try out this guide for beginners. They know what they’re talking about over there.

Digital Summit PDX 2017: Small Business Takeaways

I went to Digital Summit Portland this week, and it was pretty cool, everyone.

It’s all about digital marketing for people who are involved with all aspects of it, from content creation, to strategy, to back end… stuff. Whatever those people do with code.

Content marketing hub plan

Small business writing is marketing.

“Kelley, you’re a writer. What the heck were you doing at a marketing conference?”

Great question! All content and copy is marketing. If you’re going to hire a writer, you’d better make sure that a) you have a strong marketing plan, or b) your writer has marketing skills to help you support your goals. That’s why I take every opportunity to keep up-to-date on online marketing, as well as to hone those writing chops.

A lot of the presentations and programs at Digital Summit Portland were geared toward businesses that work on a larger scale than my clients. The email strategy for say, Home Depot, will be different than strategy for your home-based photography business. Still, there were some pretty cool things to think about and take away for anyone who’s making content or marketing online.

Be real.

Most of your consumers can see a pitch coming from a mile away. They want their brands to be authentic. To stand for something. To add real value to their lives. And if they get that from you? You might get a repeat customer who loves and supports your brand.

Don’t be afraid to use your own voice.

Make an action plan, but keep it agile.

You need a content strategy plan. Even if it’s sketched out on a napkin and pinned onto a bulletin board — you won’t get results without knowing what the heck you’re supposed to be doing and, more importantly, WHY you’re doing it.

Later, if something’s not getting the results you wanted, take another look. Tweak it if you still think it’s worthwhile, and scrap it if it’s not.

Figure out who your customer is.

Have you ever made customer personas? It’s a fairly common marketing practice. Say you have a brick-and-mortar boutique. A very basic persona might be “Jenny.” Jenny is a 37-year-old woman who lives in South Beaverton and has two girls ages 2 and 5. She’s married, owns her home, and works full-time in real estate.

The new, hot thing? Mapping Customer Journeys. What steps does Jenny take before she becomes your customer? What else is she searching for on the internet? What’s the first time she hears about your business? Does she come into your store than once before she buys, or is she more impulsive? Does she look online first? How can you keep her as a customer after she walks out the door? When will she buy again?

Whew, that’s a lot, and it can get even more complex. But thinking this way helps you nurture your leads throughout the process of buying, and in helping them become loyal customers who will buy again.

Fun fact: Customers are less likely to buy from a company who took their email and never contacted them. Get those newsletters out, people. (Yes, I’d be happy to help you. Send me an email.)

Slay all the time.

There was a presentation that was based on Beyonce songs, so OBVIOUSLY I ATTENDED THAT ONE.

Beyonce water from Lemonade video

Lessons learned from Beyonce? So many.

Slay all the time. Get crazy in love with your customers. Be the best.

Make it easy for your customers to love you. Make it easy to interact, and easy to get questions answered.

No 30,000 unread emails or full voicemail boxes.

No “do-not-reply” email addresses.

Meet your customers where they want to interact with you.

Make extra special customer experiences. Stand out and be unique, but make sure your customers can know what to expect when they interact with you. Empower your employees to go above and beyond. Train them and ask them what customers are saying.

Try Being Funny.

People like humor! It adds a bit of color to your clients’ lives, and helps you compete for attention against internet celebrity dogs. Dogs are really cute. Try adding a little humor into your copy and seeing how your customers respond. Most people get 7-24% increase in conversions with just a little joke.

(There’s obviously more to this, so please be cautious. You may wish to hire a professional for applying humor, as it can backfire.)

Need help?

Let’s can work together on a content strategy that targets your ideal client. Email me, or book a consultation. Start getting more customers today.

And slay.

Beyonce with fireworks

 

NW Kids July 2017: Business Profile with Olababy

What’s special about your business?

I’ve written for what we call editorial for a while—that’s content for publications, rather than for sales—and business profiles cross over the two disciplines.

A casual reader of a magazine and a hot prospect who’s heading to your website both want the same thing: a hook.

Give them the hook

Most people who visit your website, or who flip through a magazine, aren’t going to give you much time. You need to get them interested quickly, or they might decide that whatever you’re offering isn’t for them.

This can be visual, or text, but in an ideal world, visual design and copywriting work together to pique the reader’s interest.

When you flip through this month’s NW Kids Magazine, you’ll see a picture of a cute baby holding a rather unusual bottle. If you have a baby, you might stop flipping, because this obviously is geared to you.

Then, you’ll see the short story about how much my baby took to one of the spoons like bears to honey. If that interests you, you might move on to learn more about the company itself.

What’s the hook on your home page? What will make your prospects want to learn more?

Olababy

Check out this example of a profile I did for NW Kids Magazine’s July 2017 issue. (Page 17, if you please.) Olababy is a local company that designs baby feeding gear: bottles, spoons, and these cool bowls that you can use to steam and serve.

Okay, I haven’t actually tried to steam any food for *my* baby yet, despite the tasty peas in my garden that are about to give up the ghost. But those silicone spoons are a lifesaver.

Olababy business profile with baby drinking from bottle
Olababy business profile spread in NW Kids Magazine, July 2017

Getting the Story

For this profile, I got some information from the PR company to review. Then, the two principals of the company were willing to chat on a conference call. Lucky for me, because one of them was in China at the time. Our Friday afternoon chat was a very early Saturday morning chat for him.

A writer should come to the table with their own background research, and then figure out the tricky part—what’re the most important questions to ask? What do the customers really want to know? What’s missing?

People think that writers just write, but the real work is in thinking through different angles.

Finding an angle that gets the audience interested? That’s the fun part.

 

Whether it’s a profile or an about page, let me help you tell your story.

Shoot me an email today.