Bringing History to Life
A local nonprofit, Pioneers' Cemetery Association, decided they'd like to run a series of short biographies of some of their interred. The organization serves as caretaker of a collection of historic cemeteries on the National Register of Historic Places known as Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. Naturally, the short bits of information in Word were wholly insufficient for these pioneers. Canva and some artistic creativity to the rescue! Peruse some of the biographies on their website to learn about territorial Arizona! This campaign was also promoted on their socials (Facebook and Instagram) and through their email newsletter.
40th Anniversary Special
The series is capped off with a more extensive blog post commemorating Thomas Hayden, a local legend instrumental in mapping early Phoenix, AZ and plotting the grave locations of the interred. This post includes a slideshow and features a group photo captioned with the assistance of one of the organization's founders.
It Was An Honor and Pleasure
I was thrilled to be part of this project to add some interest and publicity for the organization. This little nonprofit is an all-volunteer group of dedicated history buffs. Some have gone so far as to train themselves in proper cleaning, care, and restoration of historic grave markers.
Do you have a nonprofit near and dear to your heart? I specialize in bringing an extra lift in marketing for these organizations. If I can be of assistance on your next project, Let's Chat!
Have you begun to set those goals yet to transition to the new year? I haven't had an official session yet, but this is definitely rumbling on a simmer in my brain. There are as many ways and suggestions of how to do this as you can imagine. I'll touch on just a few here that I'm gravitating toward.
Year in Review
Before we can look ahead, it's useful to review what's been. I appreciated a post from Austin Church on LinkedIn (link to his website) describing his December Zero process, and it may resonate with you as well. "Make a list of your loose ends, open projects, and any heartburn...Define the next step for each" to end the year well.
MAP Out Your Editing Business
SD/PEN (San Diego Professional Editors Network) had a great blog post that could easily be appropriate as we head into a new year. This is from a course at UCSD Extension where students create a MAP (Marketing Action Plan) as their final assignment. A number of task heading ideas are noted. The author recommends creating a new MAP every 90 days to make forward progress in passive and active marketing.
Melanie Padgett Powers notes in podcast episode #174 five questions to wrap up your year. You definitely want to listen to ALL of the podcast, but she lists the questions on her show notes. This is a combination year in review and goal setting.
Work/Life Balance + Income Goals
As expected, Jennifer Goforth Gregory has some amazing suggestions in two different posts - work/life balance and income. Refer to her great blog posts for details, but here is a short list to get you thinking:
I hope some of these ideas resonate with you! Each offers a different approach or way to look at your upcoming business year. Austin and Melanie's ideas are great for some reflection as you prepare to set new goals with Jennifer and SD/PEN's ideas.
Are you a goal setter or prefer come-what-may? Have you found any great year transition questions? Do you reflect and goal set in a single session or take your time to give each their due? I look forward to hearing your approach!
If I may be of assistance to help your vision come to life, Let's Chat!
My passion is chatting strategy to bring your project and vision to life. I offer a number of services to fill in your skillset to make your dream a reality. Let's Read, Write, and Engage for your target audience!
Louise Harnby is an amazing resource for authors and editors alike. She's been in publishing over 30 years. I first discovered her earlier this year starting my business, looking for resources for marketing. I knew it was going to take lessons in marketing to take my entrepreneur's spirit where I wanted to go. It was all well and good to learn rules about proofreading (that I'd been doing for 15 years already), but content marketing would be how to connect with customers.
Content Marketing Is for Everyone
According to MailChimp, an Email Marketing Service (EMS), Content Marketing is a strategy to "attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant...media." I like to think of it as a way to simply be real and engage with your audience or future customers. Louise offers a number of resources through her website, including a Resource Library, courses, books, podcast episodes, blog, and newsletter. Her Resource Library takes topics that interest both authors and editors and rounds up multiple resources on each topic. (ah, the benefit of over 30 years' experience!)
Content Marketing for Editors
I highly recommend her course "Marketing Toolbox for Editors" which includes a pdf copy of her comprehensive book, Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business, or you can purchase it on Amazon. Her course, "Emotional Marketing that Gets Editors Work," truly resonates with my style. "Branding for Business Growth" has amazing worksheets to help you identify your "angel" and "monster" client as you identify your niche. While Louise markets her content to editors, the information is truly applicable to most freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Louise Harnby is An Amazing Resource
I highly recommend following Louise on her socials. Check out her many blog posts going back for years with relevant content. All of her books are included in courses or available on their own on Amazon. I've listened to nearly all of her podcasts with Denise Cowle.
While Louise is an amazing resource, I've been blessed to find many. I'll be happy to share them with you so we can all learn together and grow our businesses.
What resources have you discovered that you recommend? If I can be of assistance to your business plans, Let's Chat!
What IS Project Management
The Association for Project Management defines it as "the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters."
Do I NEED Projects Managed?
Maybe! "It depends" is the best answer. Where are your strengths and weaknesses to achieve what you're after? What can you do vs what do you need a hand with? You may be a BIG thinker, an idea person, but need a hand with the nitty-gritty details to help your vision come to life. Everyone has their special talents. I wouldn't call myself an idea generator, but I'm amazing at process analysis of most ideas and can see the steps needed to achieve a goal or vision. I'm also a whiz with details which can bore some folks to tears.
Let's Bring Your Vision to Life
I would be happy to work on filling in gaps you may have in your project plans. We can work on single-issue items or more extended, ongoing projects. Maybe you need some strategy input - someone to bounce ideas off of. I offer a variety of services based on years of nonprofit work and my own personal training, anything from proofreading/editing to writing to website development and even event management.
Thanks for asking! I recently assisted Pioneers' Cemetery Association with their marketing and donation drive plans to improve a gravesite of a local historic legend, Jacob Waltz, the Lost Dutchman (video). Such projects require meetings to gather thoughts of a group together, delineate roles of team members, and do the things that I may add to the team.
Bet That's Expensive!
Not necessarily. Let's review your budget and what services you may need. I recently learned of a great project pricing strategy from a friend of mine, Brooke Shovelin, that makes sense for longer term projects, be it project or event management, newsletter creation (let's review frequency and extent of creativity needed), website or blog post editing, or regular proofreading of projects you develop. Everyone (including proofreaders!) need an extra set of eyes. Happy to be yours!
What project do you have in mind? Are you stepping up your content marketing and need a hand? Need a hand with the tech side to make your dream a reality? Let's Chat!
What Is Content Marketing?
Let's start with a frame of reference - some definitions.
From the Content Marketing Institute:
"Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Instead of pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve issues in their work (B2B content) or personal lives (B2C content)."
From a leading email provider, MailChimp:
"Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to buy what you sell."
Sounds amazing, right?
But What IS Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a philosophy - a plan - a strategy for your business. Ways you would deliver "content" in your content marketing:
What's the Point?
The point of content marketing as opposed to traditional advertising is to build relationships. Folks are far more inclined to use your services or purchase your product if they like and trust you and feel they know you as their friend next door. Content marketing is relationship building by adding value and providing service.
Is It Quick To Do?
Heavens no. Sorry. Content marketing is definitely not a quick fix philosophy. Relationships require long and steady nurturing. Chat with your customers or intended audience. Offer peeks into your life. Let your customer get to know you and you listen/get to know them. So many of us have developed friendships purely online with others and have never met in person! Video calls or "live" sessions can provide a close facsimile to "meeting" someone.
In listening to multiple content marketers, I consistently hear for every one "sales" email pitch you send, you should send at least double that amount (preferably more) shouldn't have a thing to do with sales. Instead, provide useful information and ways to solve your customer's problem. Also, simply be relatable and a person on the other side of the screen!
Is It Cheaper Than Advertising?
Statistics indicate YES! According to NYT Licensing and Zerys, traditional ads can cost as much as 62% more than your content marketing efforts. Is content marketing free or cheap? There's typically some cost to it, but you can get away with pretty inexpensive!
Build Those Relationships!
The biggest - and best - reason for content marketing as your PR strategy is to build relationships and get to know your customer! Build your "avatar" or "image" of your ideal client. Keep that frame of reference in your head or think of an actual customer of yours. Communicate as if you're chatting with that one person or writing a letter.
Show Up Regularly!
The best way to gain trust is by regularly showing up, even when it's hard and your time is limited.
Do you do content marketing? What's your current favorite technique? What are you stretching to add to your marketing plan?
I have a website; I'm blogging (aiming for increased times); I'm on social media (aiming for more frequent sharing/commenting); and I'm preparing to launch a newsletter!
I'd love to brainstorm ideas with you about your business! I may be able to assist you, or sometimes it simply helps to talk to someone fresh. Happy to kick some ideas around - Let's Chat!
Do You Get Out Much?
I love people. Have the opportunity to network in person at events? Sign - me - up.
I was invited recently by Jillian Stambuli of Edit Global to assist at a publisher's booth at the American Night Writers Association. They had a great course schedule and were very warm to connect with. We even met a couple of fellow small independent publishers! It was a delight to see Jillian in action, sharing her dream of partnering with authors aiming to make a difference in the world. She covered the big picture questions and referred those with specific proofreading or editing questions to me.
Bring the Business Cards!
Oh yeah - that's still definitely a thing! Some things don't go out of style. Always carry a few business cards as you never know who you'll meet or strike up a conversation with. In line at the post office? Definite conversation opportunity. In line at the store? Definitely good for small talk.
I keep the back of my cards blank so I - or someone - can jot a quick note on the back to remind of the contact made or event we were at. There are some unique sizes and shapes to business cards now, but it's hard to beat a standard size that fits in folks' pockets or wallet and is simply what folks expect to see. It may depend on your business and messaging - are you in a "standard" or "unique" market? Many now have QR codes on cards for customer convenience to access websites or additional information.
Elevator Pitch Ready?
Do you have it fine-tuned and ready at the drop of a hat? This is key! Be ready for "What do you do" at any moment! Narrow your message's focus. Keep your ideal client in mind and how you serve or solve the client's problem. You have 20-30 seconds at most - the length of an elevator ride or someone's attention span, which is ever shorter these days.
In-person Networking Post-COVID
It was such a hard jolt in 2020 when the world stopped. It seems it's only just beginning to get back to "normal" to be back with people. The tech advances during that time with Zoom enabled a decent second-best option. It's remained a viable option for some events hoping to maximize attendance and participation. You can certainly network via zoom - there are people on the other end of the line - but you can't beat the benefit of seeing folks in person to really get the body language and unspoken messaging.
Do I HAVE to Network at Events?
If you're an introvert, this in-person stuff likely isn't your cup of tea. It's not for everyone. But if you have the opportunity to get to a networking event, conference, meeting, or workshops, I highly recommend it. That being said, there are ways to network that don't involve handshakes and hugs.
NOTE: I'm a Hugger. Always have been. There were these great short ribbons that hung from conference name badges at the ANWA conference noting Hugger and Not A Hugger. What a fantastic idea to help everyone be more comfortable!
Networking with Less "People"
I'll list a few ideas here to get you thinking. We can cover each in future blog posts.
How do you network with others? Do you prefer more in-person options or a bit of distance with a computer screen?
I would love to help you expand your network and influence by making sure your start (website/PR materials) and finish (proofread/edit your project) are the best they can be. Let's Chat!
Marketing and Website Management
I've noted already, I love podcasts! We reviewed podcasts more geared to editing and proofreading in a prior blog post. For the authors and entrepreneurs here, let's look at a couple I discovered recently that you may find useful as well.
If you're looking to punch up your website with SEO, key words, and light content marketing, Simple Content Marketing for Mompreneurs with Katie Flores is a good resource! You can find her podcast here and subscribe by your podcast app. You can find her blog and general website here. She has some nice lead magnets and a basic no-nonsense approach. Content warning - there are a fair amount of Christian references in podcasts.
Yael Keon is amazing! She's blowing me away with her energy and enthusiasm in every episode! Each episode is packed with tips and tricks for getting started in email marketing or growing what you have. I subscribed to her email list for more regular content. She has a great lead magnet and very affordable initial products to start you on your path.
Newsletter Ninja Tammi Labrecque is another fabulous email marketing resource! No podcasts from Tammi, but I would be remiss not to mention her so you can meet her as well. She's written two books so far, offers a number of classes, and hosts a very active Facebook group. She's an excellent resource for this aspect of your business!
SEO and Website Optimization
Debbie Emmitt is another amazing resource to keep in mind if you're creating your own website! She recently published very affordable books for authors and editors with a focus on website development. No podcasts, but great clear, simple information to get your website in top shape with your own efforts!
Do you create email newsletters and have a subscriber list growing? Do you create your own website complete with SEO key words? Love to hear your content marketing journey!
Need a hand getting an email platform or website started? I'd be honored to help get you going or manage this aspect of your business - Let's Chat!
What IS Canva?
Canva is a design tool. If you need to create flyers, brochures, business cards, social media "banners" or images, presentations, and more, Canva is a very convenient tool. If your project will involve an image or graphic, it's likely you'll be able to create it with Canva.
Is Canva Affordable?
It can be! There is a free option - perfect to test out the platform! You'll likely find in a short time if you really get into using the service that you'll wish you could utilize the more pricey design options.
Is It Easy to Use?
Generally, yes. It's a template-based product, There are some features you can change about each design's basic look, but you're best able to change or remove design details as you create. You can easily add or remove text boxes and image boxes to personalize the design. It's easy to edit - maybe too easy. There's an "undo" button to correct immediate errors or return to a prior look, but it's hard to recreate the template look once pieces are removed.
This uses "drag and drop" technology making it very convenient for novice users. It's also very easy to utilize the same design but change the size depending on how you'll use it, although you may need to shift some content to fit.
You're able to "share" the design with others. It's wise to duplicate the project for someone else to note editing ideas and maintain the integrity of your original design. You may download the project in many different formats - pdf, png, jpeg, mp4, and more. You can even have Canva download certain pages of a multi-page project to share only certain features.
Do I Need to be an Artist?
Not really - but it does help to have an eye for design or style. This isn't for everyone. The key to saving some frustration is to try to get the base design right that you'll be adapting.
If you're working for someone else, share a few design ideas before you get to work. I created a happy hour flyer for a client which would be held at a Mexican restaurant. My initial direction was more the warm, spicy background colors and a margarita. The client didn't want to emphasize the alcohol but more the fun party atmosphere. That makes a difference in images built-in to the design and that you may wish to add along with the amount of verbiage you need to include.
Can I See a Sample?
Sure! The image attached is an ad for a convention book I created recently, changing the image to my own and removing identifying language and offices/titles for client confidentiality. This was for a patriotic organization. Text boxes were rearranged quite a bit to be more visible for the amount of words needed as an original text box was in the red and white plank zone but weren't particularly visible.
How Do I Get Started?
If you're feeling adventurous and wish to give it a try, head to Canva to create a free account to test it out. If you're not sure of your skills, I would be honored to assist you. Let's Chat to get an idea of the project and style you have in mind to bring your vision to life! I prefer to work more closely with clients than not so there is input all along the way to ensure it looks the way you have in mind.
Have you played with Canva? What do you think? I'd love to hear about your experiences - leave a comment!
Build A FREE Website with Weebly
Before you invest any money into a website or domain, get started for FREE to build it! Let's review Weebly today as I know it the best. Wix is very similar for designing but does not offer a free version anymore.
First Step - Create An Account
Weebly is now with Square, so there's a funny two-step log-in process. Create an account by going to www.weebly.com. IF you're prompted to create an account with Square, you'll be redirected to that - just use the SAME user and password to make your life easier.
Decide On A Name
Consider the website address you will ultimately want with the .com, .org, or .edu (dot whatever). You will see a page to begin testing names to see what is available for a domain name (your website's name). See what's close. Think more broadly than what you arrived thinking your address would be. This can take a bit of time. When you see a name that suits you, select it! If you're building a FREE website, your initial website address will be the name you wish, plus dot-weebly-dot-com (.weebly.com). Once you purchase a domain name, the dot-weebly-dot-com will go away, but for now - we're just focused on building for free.
Select A Template Design
Play with a few options that resonate with you in color and style. Future marketing and image branding ideas will be key. This can be changed if needed, all of your content will be reformatted to fit the new design, but this can get wonky. Try to get this right the first time if you can. If you don't feel you have an eye for style, find a friend who may give you additional eyes. There are no great options to change the general color or text style of the templates. We ARE talking FREE templates here.
You're going to want to have a rough idea how many pages you'll want on your website. Select a template with a similar number of tabs at the top. If you go beyond the template's preset tabs, they'll begin layering within the available tabs as "drop-down" menu options.
Weebly's free templates are fairly limited in style, yet can still be quite flexible to work with. While Wix does not have a free option, their least expensive option ($16/month) has a larger base of templates to select from. The price is ultimately similar to what you'll pay for Weebly's professional version, making either service a good option.
Time to Play!
Weebly and Wix are both drag-and-drop styles. Click a design element noted on the sidebar, hold and drag to where you'd like to add it. Click on an element in the template to edit it or upload your own images. You'll see blue lines in the design pane as you move elements (text, images) indicating if you want an element over or under the line. The fonts are pre-sets of the original design elements. You can make the font larger or smaller, maybe mix upper and lower case, but it depends on the template. You will likely want to remove some elements from website pages to make the design your own. I try to build web pages from the top down and leave some elements lower on the page should I decide they may be useful on other pages to move them as I progress through multiple pages.
Time for Additional Eyes!
This is where you may wish to hire an editor or ask a few friends to take a look at your website to be sure it says or does what you want. Are they able to get from your Home page to your Contact or Call to Action page? Do things make sense? Do links work? Is the design style pleasing and comforting, not jarring?
Ready to Release to the World!
You can simply share your beautiful free website as your website! The address will be a bit unique, but not impossible to live with. Or you pay $20 for a domain name to drop the .weebly.com. If you decide to also get a professional website, the domain name may be free for the first year - that's a plus! Get the smallest professional website you need to do business. If you have no likelihood of taking orders or sales through your website, take that into account in your purchase. What features do you need? You can always upgrade later! There is a bit of a price drop by purchasing for the year in advance rather than monthly.
Have you created your own website? Which service did you use and how did it go? If you'd like a hand with your website or even someone to simply create one for you, Let's Chat! I love to build, edit, and maintain websites!
Podcasts to Learn & Grow
I adore podcasts! I listen to them on my daily 3-mile walks or to keep me company during household chores. I love these as they're simply audio - no video - and require no wifi; just download and go.
Top Podcasts for Editors & Proofreaders
This seems a rather niche topic with few podcasts available. I'm grateful for those who bother to create content! These are all very informational, educational, and often introduce me to other resources. I'll link the websites as there are a multitude of podcast players available. Click the underlined titles to head to their websites.
The Editing Podcast by Louise Harnby & Denise Cowle - These ladies are definitely top of the heap and at the top of their genre! They've been podcasting for 4 years and have over 115 episodes. They continue to post content roughly every 2 weeks or "fortnight" as one is from England and the other Scotland. Harnby specializes in fiction topics, Cowle specializes in nonfiction, and they both cover content marketing. I highly recommend this one!
The Modern Editor Podcast by Tara Whitaker - I recently binge listened to all 25 of her episodes. She's on a seasonal break but promises to return. Great, real content about freelancing, editing, marketing, and mindset sharing her 10 years of experience.
The Proofreading Business Podcast by Elizabeth Wiegner - New to podcasts with 8 episodes so far, Elizabeth covers topics for proofreaders in general and transcript proofreading. She posts about every 2 weeks and is featuring guest interviews in recent episodes.
The Confident Freelance Editor by Malini Devadas - Malini has been doing podcasts since 2020 but took a break for a year, only recently returning to podcasts approximately every 2 weeks. She has over 70 episodes at this time with a very no-nonsense, down-to-earth style covering freelancing, editing, marketing, and mindset topics.
The Editor's Half Hour by Nadia Geagea Pupa - This is a new podcast with 8 episodes so far. These focus on interviews with those in the book business covering a wide range of topics.
The Independent Editor by Stuart Horwitz and Madison Utley - This podcast is on hiatus currently but I highly recommend it! These two have a great chemistry with something of a mentor/mentee relationship coming through in the interview style as they share their experiences in the freelance editing/publishing field. Stuart has been editing and ghost writing for years, whereas Madison is new to the business. Lots of great information here. I hope they bring it back! Definitely worth a listen.
What podcasts do you listen to? Do you know others focused on editing, proofreading, or marketing?