You hired an editor who worked with you for weeks, perhaps months, helping you transform your first draft into a polished manuscript. Your sentences are crisp. Your paragraphs communicate your message in your voice without awkward phrases, redundant points, or vagueness. Now your editor suggests you hire a proofreader. And you’re wondering why. Why do you need a proofreader? The manuscript should be perfect, shouldn’t it?
Well, no. (It will probably never be perfect.)
An editor’s job is to collaborate with authors to help them communicate well. What that entails depends on the writer. I work with seasoned professional writers, new writers, non-writers (business people, service providers, teachers, and healers), and folks with varying degrees of English language knowledge. The work I do is creative and collaborative with a dash of rule following.
But it’s not proofreading.
I know some folks assume a typo or missing word means the editor did not do her job.
Those people don’t understand what good editors do.
So, do you need a proofreader?
A better question may be whether you want proofreader. But here’s the thing. You need a proofreader if you are a perfectionist who can’t bear the thought of a single error—even if it’s an error only you notice or care about.
As a recovering perfectionist, I can tell you, perfection is worth aiming for, but it should not be your goal. If you work too hard to achieve perfection, you’ll almost always sacrifice something else (like your sanity).
The purpose of writing is effective communication. A writer’s primary goal is to connect with a specific audience. You may want to educate, inspire, comfort, or convince your reader. If you write fiction, you want to entertain and tell a great story. If you’re a memoirist, your to tell your true story in a creative, engaging way.
Your editor will help you do that. And to help you do that, she will likely read your manuscript several times.
Which side of readers’ brains do you want to engage?
Don’t get me wrong. Attention to detail—the kind needed to spot typos, missing commas, and the like—is a good skill for an editor to have. As an editor of technical reports, I’m often praised for my attention to detail.
But when I edit books, technical details are not my focus. I use the other side of my brain first, because the books I edit are not dry technical pieces.
Two-sided brains are the reason you may need (that is, want) to hire a proofreader, even if your editor has eagle eyes.
Why? Well, try to do something creative perfectly. If you’re a creative type, you know aiming for perfection can be so stifling that you stay stuck in your head, unable to express yourself fully.
As you create, your brain fills in gaps here and there. We all do this when we know what we want to see. The phenomena is called “filling in,” which doesn’t sound very technical, but it has been widely studied.
I used to get upset when I’d spend hours on a complex editing project only to have someone notice a typo. But over time, I noticed that technically perfect writing is often boring. It can even be bad.
And writing that inspires, intrigues, motivates, or engages—writing I’d rather read—isn’t spoiled if it’s not perfect.
Perfection is the enemy of done
When I first heard someone say perfection is the enemy of done, I was both inspired and relieved.
Almost every book has at least one “error.” I’m not referring to factual errors, but the kinds of errors proofreaders fix. Most have more than one, and in many cases, you won’t notice them. Your brain fills in gaps as well.
That’s not to say you should settle for sloppy writing. Too many errors will distract readers from your message or cause them to question your credibility. But the inevitable few are usually harmless.
So, as I tell my authors, if you’ve gone through rounds of creative editing, and you love the way your message is presented but are still going to lie awake at night fearing a bad review if there’s a word missing or misspelled, hire a proofreader—ideally someone who has not read your work before—if you can afford to.
If not, trust your creation. Share your story! If you wait for it to be perfect, it may never be told.
One of the first questions people ask me about editing is how much it will cost. Of course, I understand. When I’m interested in a service, cost is one of the first things I wonder about too.
The answer—and I don’t think this will surprise you — is it depends.
Factors That Affect Editing Cost
Once you understand the editing process and know where you are in that process, you’ll be able to estimate how much it will cost to edit your book, or at least how long the project will take to complete.
So, the first question I have for you is how much have you already done?
One reason there’s no simple answer to the question of cost when it comes to editing is there are a few types of editing. Another reason is every manuscript is different. I edit manuscripts from people with a range of writing skills. Some are professional writers. Many are service providers and small business owners who are not writers, and some are folks whose native language is not English.
An average-length book (which is somewhere around 300 pages or 60,000 words) can take anywhere from 25 to more than 100 hours to edit. Why the big range? Some books can be edited in one or two passes. Others require a third or fourth reading to get everything in order.
Four Types of Editing
Think of editing the way you’d think of building a house. You start with the foundation and work in stages until you’re ready for an inspection before your certificate of occupancy is issued.
When you write a book, you start with a raw concept, polish it in stages, and then dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Generally speaking, the stages of editing are:
1. Developmental editing
2. Line or content editing
Actually, proofreading is technically not editing. It's a service that checks the final manuscript against the editing you’ve already done. The term goes back to the days when proofs needed to be read against a red-lined (edited) copy. But these days, most people use the term proofreading to mean a final or light edit.
Ideally, the person who proofreads your book will not be the same person who edits it.
A Closer Look at The Editing Process
If you have an idea, an outline, or a very rough draft, you may need to start with developmental editing. A developmental editor will help you shape your idea into the pages of a book.
Once you’ve written a draft, you may move on to line editing (also called content editing), which focuses on how the sentences flow, how well you tell the story, readability, and logic. It ensures you’re telling the story you want to tell the way you want to tell it. If you’re an experienced writer, you may not need deep line editing.
The last stage of editing (before proofreading) is copyediting. At this stage, the editor focuses on consistency, verb tenses, punctuation, succinctness, and other details that make sentences more readable. If you’re using a style guide (that is, if your manuscript will be traditionally published or you are self-publishing but want your book to have a professional look and feel), a copyedit also ensures adherence to that guide.
Finishing Touches: Proofreading
Most professional writers and editors know it’s nearly impossible for writers to proofread their own work. If you’ve written it, your brain knows what you meant to write, and that’s what your brain will see. The same idea holds true once an editor has read your book two or three times during the editing process. That’s why it’s smart to have a new pair of eyes do a final proofread.
What’s the Bottom Line?
So, now you can see why there’s no easy way to say how much it will cost to edit your book unless I see your writing and know a bit about your project. But I understand that you’d still like some numbers, so here are some ballpark figures.
A professional editor working on nontechnical nonfiction may charge $40 – $60 per hour, though most will give you a flat-rate estimate based on that rate. That means the 60,000-word manuscript I mentioned above will cost between $1000 and $6000 to edit (give or take).
Now that you know the factors involved in narrowing that range to a quote for your project, you can probably pinpoint whether the fee an editor will charge you is at the lower or higher end of that range. When you’re ready to hire an editor, ask for a sample edit. That will give you and the editor a solid idea of whether you can work together within your budget and time frame.
If you still have questions about how much it will cost to edit your book (or any other aspect of the writing or editing process), feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to discuss your project and point you in the right direction!
These days, it seems everyone is interested in white papers. If you market products or services to businesses, you may consider creating a white paper as a content marketing tool. While the term can sound a bit stuffy or formal, a white paper is simply an evidence-based case for why an organization needs what you have to offer. White papers are sort of research papers in disguise. They appear unbiased, but they offer specific solutions to particular problems.
The goal, of course, is to present the research in such a way that the solution you offer is the obvious choice, but a good white paper is also a tool for vetting clients to make sure your service is a fit for their needs. White papers are different from other types of content marketing pieces, most of which are less formal.
Do you need a white paper?
The simple answer is maybe. There are other types of content marketing pieces that may work better for you. If your clients are businesses, though, a well-crafted white paper may be more effective, since the decision to hire you will likely be made by more than one person or at least after more one than person considers what you’re offering.
Other content marketing options: brochures, case studies, guides, and e-books
Before you decide if you need a white paper, consider the other options. These include brochures, case studies, guides, and e-books. A blog may also be a better option for your business or service, especially if your clients are mostly online and easy to find on social media.
In contrast to a white paper, brochures are sales oriented and not heavily researched based. You may include one or two statistics to support your sales pitch, but a brochure is usually a more emotional appeal than other types of content marketing pieces.
Case studies are specific to your business and how you have helped clients solve problems. In other words, you present examples of actual companies or people you’ve helped. You may need more than one case study, especially if you target different markets.
If your business has a how-to component, even something intangible like “how to get better sleep,” a guide is a good content marketing option. Less formal than white papers, guides can be designed in creative ways. They are tools readers can use to reach a goal but leave room for learning more and solving related problems (which is where your service comes in).
The term e-book is a general term used to describe text delivered digitally. An e-book is usually longer than other types of content marketing, but not always. I’ve seen e-books as short as six pages, though I’d be more inclined to give something that length another name. You can write an e-book on any topic related to your business.
Does it matter whether you call your piece a white paper or something else?
The short answer to whether it matters what you call your piece is probably, but not necessarily. In general, it matters most if you’re using it to attract larger companies (versus consumers or small business owners).
If you tell a company’s decision maker you have a white paper and it’s really a brochure, you’ve already failed to meet their expectations, making it less likely they’ll hire you. A white paper needs to focus on research and evidence and most decision makers expect a white paper to have a formal tone. The same is true for case studies, which must give examples of how your company (not others like you) has helped actual clients. You’ve got a little more leeway with e-books and brochures.
Of course, if your prospect doesn’t know what a white paper or case study is, this will be less of an issue. If they have the wrong idea of what either of these is, you have a different problem (though one that’ easier to solve by simply explaining what you’re offering accurately).
The bottom line is your content marketing piece should capitalize on your strengths. It should offer solutions to real problems your client has that you can solve. You can do that as directly and scientifically or as informally and generally as appropriate. Consider the service and people you serve and what they will likely respond to best.
In other words, if you’re marketing to large companies, and you have the content, expertise, and research to write a white paper, go for it. If your prospects are consumers or small businesses who will be happily informed with a brochure, guide, or case study, one of those may be a better option for you. If you have a lot to say, you may want to create an e-book. If you have a lot to say, but you want to say it over time, you may do best with a well-publicized blog!
Need help deciding what you need or creating it once you’ve decided? Contact me anytime to chat about how I can help!
Lately, I’ve spoken with a lot of wellness professionals who are wondering what to do next and how content marketing writing can help them reach their goals. A yoga teacher wants to write a book. A personal trainer is thinking about blogging. Another yoga teacher wants to get certified to teach Pilates, and a nutritionist is branching into holistic health coaching, so she can focus on the mind and emotions as well as diet and exercise.
The great thing about wellness is the possibilities for growth are endless. I’m working with a coach right now who has just been through a series of certifications so she can do wellness counseling. She’s also a writer, and the project we’re working on is a book to supplement her counseling and position her as an expert her field.
Today I met a young woman who described herself as a “holistic wellness junkie” and a “hippie.” She was wondering how to focus her passion as an entrepreneur.
First Steps First: Outline Your Story
Before you can create content for your well-being business or service, you need to know what that business or service is. Sounds obvious, I know, but most of us evolve, and as we do so, we become a slightly different version of our former selves.
For instance, if you're a yoga teacher, what sets you apart from other yoga teachers? Maybe it’s your love of restorative yoga or your ability to inspire others to become more powerful. Maybe devotion to classical yoga is your thing. Or perhaps you’re ready to offer videos of your classes or write a book about how yoga changed your life.
Or maybe you started your career as a nutritionist. Your next step may be holistic health coaching that focuses not only on food but on the mind, emotions, and physical fitness. What tools will you create to reach that goal?
Do you want to connect with your tribe via email marketing, or is blogging your passion? Helping people grow their own well-being business may be next for you. Or perhaps you offer complementary healing services, like reiki or aromatherapy in addition to teaching yoga, meditation, or tai chi.
I worked with a personal trainer who created his own vegan protein powder and became a new kind of entrepreneur. Another client turned a passion for yoga into a business selling yoga and aromatherapy products.
Let Your Passion Lead You
Last winter, we had a blizzard in the northeast. The yoga studio where I practice was closed, but one of teachers posted a YouTube video on Facebook so we could all practice at home. It was wonderful! I wouldn’t be surprised if the next step in her career is creating more videos and DVDs.
The point is if you tune in and follow the voice that led you to a career in wellness to begin with, it will continue to lead you. What would you like to create next?
Content Marketing Writing for Your Business
If you market online, you’ve heard it said that content is king. Obviously, your online presence depends on something your audience can read, hear, or see. The problem is there’s so much to read, hear, and see these days that a lot goes unnoticed.
The real question is how can you stand out? Here are a few things to consider when you are working on your content marketing writing plan:
I hope these ideas will help you move along the path of your dreams. I’d love to learn what you’re creating and how you're using a content marketing writing strategy to share what you're creating. Right now there is someone out there who needs the service you provide. Please share in the comments, and let’s see how we can help each other move forward!
One of the services I provide is social media assistance. Specifically, I find and share great blog content, quotes, and other media that inspires my clients' audiences, many of whom are yogis and other wellness 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 stand out as sources of great blog content I can share.
Do you have one? I’d love to see it! (Feel free to send me a link!)
Not sure if you have one? I have a few tips for you. Obviously, you want to be sure you have well-written posts, but there's more. If you want your content to be shared, there are a few features you need to include.
Case in point: I did some blog ghostwriting for a yoga client a while back. So, I know I like the content! The problem is, when my client designed his website and posted the pieces I wrote, he didn’t make the content shareable. So, while I’d love to share those posts on social media, I usually don’t.
Five Simple Ways to Be Sure Your Great Blog Content is Also 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 that you should organize your thoughts concisely and minimize typos and grammatical errors. No, one or two mistakes won’t hurt (you’re human after all), but I promise you, your readers will get a subconscious message if your posts are riddled with errors.
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’s fine 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 and your content and which are for connecting with you on social media. It shouldn’t be a surprise that your content is easier to share with a simple click of a social share icon. The alternative is to copy the link, go to my Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest page and share from there. I don’t do that often. Other potential ambassadors for your content 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. And the picture and words together are worth much more than 2000 words. 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 when 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 already great blog content shareable as well, 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 the share the love, the more likely they’ll do it and help get your message out there!
Need help with content creation or social media? Contact me anytime for a free brainstorming session!
If you're thinking about hiring a professional editor, the first step is to consider your goal. Why do you need editing help? Are you self-publishing a book? Do you want to put your best foot (or word) forward when marketing your well-being service? Do want clickable content that search engines will find and people will read?
Of course, you can do a lot of this on your own. Before you think about paying for editing help, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about creating sound copy.
But we all need help from time to time. Even editors hire editors. (I do!)
How Can an Editor Help You?
Think about what you want help with and set some realistic expectations about the time and cost involved. The most important piece of advice I can give you is find a professional editor who knows about your topic. Better still, find someone with a passion for it! Also be sure to find someone you connect with.
A carefully selected second pair of eyes can cut your workload by more than half, because neither you nor your editor will burn out when you're both committed to the project. You'll enjoy the creative process and feel supported as well as assisted.
How Quickly Can a Professional Editor Work?
There is a wide range of skill when it comes to editors. Fast is not better. (On the other hand, slow doesn't necessarily mean detailed or thorough.)
Knowing a bit about how editors work can help you decide if you've found editing help worth paying for.
In her book, The Copyeditor’s Handbook, editor and teacher Amy Einsohn, a leader in the field of copyediting, gives the following estimates of a “typical pace" for editing hard copy. The estimates are based on two passes (the minimum necessary to do the job well).
Light copyedit: 4-9 pages per hour
Medium copyedit 2-7 pages per hour
Heavy copyedit 1-3 pages per hour
The “pages” Einsohn refers to are manuscript pages, which are typically only 250-325 words in length. (Manuscript pages are double-spaced for ease of editing.)
How Much Should Editing Help Cost?
According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, the median rate for a nonfiction copyedit is $45 per hour. So if you have a 25,000-word manuscript (approximately 50 single-spaced pages in a typical Word document), editing fees can range from $250 to more than $2000. For a light to medium edit, expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for professional editing help.
What do copyeditors do?
So what kind of editing help do you get for your investment in professional editing? The short answer to this question is probably more than you realize. If you are hiring a professional editor, ask about his or her process. Look for clues that the person is a qualified, experienced editor.
Here are some questions (and answers) that may help.
1. Does the editor use a style sheet? You shouldn’t have to ask this question, because all professional editors do. In case you’re not aware of this tool of the trade, a style sheet is a form of keeping notes, usually on a chart. The goal is to keep track of anything that may be inconsistent or need attention as the editor reads. Style sheets are crucial to accuracy. For example, while editing a book that is hundreds of pages long, it would be easy to miss that a name is spelled one way on page 3 and another way on page 233 without a style sheet.
Editors also use style sheets to note stylistic preferences. For example, should there be a comma before the conjunction in the last item in a series? Does the author want to use "vanity caps"? Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition? (If you were in school more than a few years ago, you may not realize this is now okay.) How should vertical lists be punctuated?
2. How many “passes” will the editor do? “Pass” is editor-speak for reading the manuscript once. As I mentioned before, two passes are the minimum for quality work. In some cases, due to budget or time constraints, an author may request only one, but be aware that it's unreasonable to expect perfection if you do this.
3. How does the editor ensure accuracy? Some tricks of the trade include reading the manuscript out loud, taking a break at least once every two hours, or spending no more than six hours editing on a given day (except in emergencies). Yes, we all want things done quickly, but as I said, quick does not mean good. Editing is tedious work. If an editor promises to complete a 300-page manuscript in three days, find another editor!
3. Does the editor work on hard copy with traditional proofreaders’ marks or on electronic copy using a feature like Microsoft Word’s Track Changes? If the editor doesn’t know much about either of these methods, don’t expect professional results.
4. Which style guide does the editor use? There are different guides for different purposes. Some companies (and authors) have their own house style as well. I use CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style) or AP (Associated Press) unless a client requests something else. Ask this question to ensure the editor you hire will not simply be working from memory of high school English class.
One quick tidbit before you get out there and find the right editing help for you. There is no consensus on how “copyeditor” should be spelled. CMOS (and I, unless instructed otherwise) spell it as one word; AP (the style guide for journalists) spells it as two (copy editor).
I mention this to show you why it's a good idea to have some guidelines in mind before you hand your copy over to an editor. Or at least be sure your editor has a plan!
If you’re in the well-being niche, content marketing may not be on your radar. In fact, marketing in general is probably not what you love most about your work. You want to be teaching yoga, helping clients improve their diets, or facilitating an awesome reiki healing.
Take heart. Marketing does not have to be something you dread, so don’t think of it in a negative way. Marketing is nothing more than getting the word out that you have something of value to share with the world. In fact, one effective way to market is in part a type of service itself. It’s called content marketing and it works.
I’m not just telling you this because content creation is one of the services I provide (though, of course, I won’t complain if you want to hire me). I’ve gotten more involved in content marketing because my clients want me to help them do it. They want to do it because it works. So I’m sharing this with you so you can do it too!
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a way to stay connected online with people who care about what you do. It’s not cold calling or spamming; it’s giving current and prospective students or clients information they need or want. That doesn’t simply mean giving away your services for free, though. Content marketing is about establishing relationships through writing.
And it’s awesome!
How Can Well-being Professionals Use Content Marketing?
It’s simple. Create content and share it online. Well, it’s not exactly simple, but it is fun. You get to create content that shares something of value that you are passionate about and then find ways to get it in front of people who want it and can benefit from it.
Getting your content out there is a subject for another post. For now, let’s look at the different types of content you can—and should—create and distribute.
5 Types of Content Marketing Pieces for Marketing Your Yoga or Well-being Service
1. A Blog
As I’ve taken more content marketing workshops and webinars and read more and more books and articles about it, one thing comes up over and over again. You must have a blog! Websites with blogs are much more likely to be noticed, visited, visited again and again, and trusted.
If you don’t have a blog, the first thing you need to do is create one! Then decide what kind of content you will post, who will write the content, and how you will get that content distributed to people who will eventually become your students and clients (hint: you can do this via social media).
The most important things to know about using your blog as a marketing tool are you must update it regularly and you must make your posts search engine friend; that is, you must understand how people search for content and how to write yours so it’s more likely to be found and appreciated.
Don’t know how to do that? Don’t worry. There are people who can help you.
2. A Newsletter
In a survey conducted in 2012, more than half of business owners said that their newsletter was the best content marketing tool they used. If you subscribe to newsletters, you’ve probably noticed many of them contain the same, or same type, of content as blogs. The difference is the content is delivered to your inbox rather than you having to go to the blog to read it.
Newsletters are best for practitioners and teachers who often have events to publicize or new classes or services to announce. They also work well for sharing larger industry trends. For example, if you are a nutritionist, you might distribute a newsletter to explain a health study that’s been all over the news recently, or if you are a yoga instructor, your newsletter might highlight the life of a guru whose birthday is happening this month. Newsletters are also great tools for sharing holiday recipes or tips for developing a home yoga practice.
3. Free Guides, Special Reports, or White Papers
Sometimes known as hub pieces, guides, reports, and white papers are usually longer pieces that readers can turn to often as a resource. Offering a free guide or report to readers serves a few valuable purposes. First, it puts your content (and you) in readers’ hands for an extended period of time. Second, it positions you as an expert in your niche. Third, it’s a great tool you can build other campaigns around. You can write blogs and articles related to the content in your giveaway piece, or you can create a series of emails.
Which brings us to the fourth type of marketing content.
There are different ways to use email for content marketing. Industry experts say the most effective is a drip series. A drip series is a series of emails sent out over a certain period of time to share information related to a certain topic.
A yoga teacher might do a drip series on the chakras, for example, while a nutritionist could write a series of emails giving people tips for lowering blood sugar or understanding essential nutrients in more depth. A health coach might do a series on natural ways to manage stress.
As I mentioned, a drip series is often tied to a longer guide or special report created as a giveaway for anyone interested in your work.
5. Social Media Updates
Facebook shares, Tweets, Linked In updates and the like are also important parts of an overall content marketing strategy. Which platform or platforms you choose depends on the type of service you offer.
While social media content is usually easiest and quickest to create, it won’t do much good alone. The purpose of social media marketing is to develop and maintain relationships. You want to connect with people who visit your website, read your blog, or request your content. And the purpose of having people do all of those things is to nurture relationships that turn leads into clients or students.
Since the vast majority of people use some form of social media on a regular basis, you’ll have access to the largest pool of potential students or clients via social media platforms.
Other Types of Content Marketing to Consider
You don’t have to limit your marketing to content people read. Videos, podcasts, and infographics are also great tools, though they may be more difficult and costly to create.
Videos are especially good tools for yoga instructors. You can create a short piece to demonstrate a series of poses or to highlight your teaching style. If you are a health coach, you can create a podcast or infographic to explain a concept or give health tips.
Overwhelmed? Don’t Be
As you can see, there are lots of ways to use content marketing to stay connected with people who may be interested in taking your classes, hiring you as a consultant, or using your well-being service.
Do you need to use them all to be successful? No, you don’t. Pick one or two to start and focus your efforts there. Before you know it, your network of readers, followers, and colleagues will grow.
You never know when one of these leads will become a paying student or client, but until then, enjoy the journey of sharing what you have to offer and getting the word out about how you can help others live a better life.
Would you like more help with content marketing for your well-being business? Join my email list and receive access to my free guide that will help you start editing your own work today!
Is writing shareable content important to the success of your business? It is if you want an effective digital content marketing strategy, and here's why.
As a writer and editor whose niche is well-being, I've got a network of wellness providers whose work I love. When I speak to them, read their books, or take their classes, I'm inspired and often in awe. I want others to know about the great work they do!
But when I read their blogs, websites, or newsletters, I'm not always quick to share.
Why Shareable Posts Matter in Digital Content Marketing
It's one thing to post mediocre content or send out an unedited email to your students, clients, and followers. After all, they already love you. Maybe they don't care if your writing lacks clarity or the ability to engage a reader. But here's something to consider: Is your content shareable?
Getting people to share your content is a critical piece of the digital content marketing puzzle. It's amazing how easily content can spread through cyberspace, and how easily (more often), it can get ignored.
I'm aware of this because I manage a few social media pages for clients with a good number of followers. I'm always looking for great content to share. I know more than one well-being rock star whose content I'd share in a second if only it were just a bit more polished. As a professional working for others, I want to share only the very best content so I don't overwhelm my clients' clients, customers, and readers with content that doesn't serve them.
My point? If you're going to be out there in print, put your best foot (or paragraph) forward. It matters more than you think. There are dozens of people sifting through posts, blogs, and websites deciding what to share and what not to share.
How To Improve Your Chances of Digital Content Marketing Success
The easiest way, of course, is to hire a writer so you can focus on serving your clients and running your business. But if you don't have the budget for a writer, there are some other things you can do.
1. Read and share. Read blogs, websites, and newsletters from your favorite brands, and share the ones that inspire you. The more you read great writing, the better you'll get at writing shareable content yourself. Sharing content also makes it more likely that your content will be shared, as those in your network are likely to return the favor when they like something you write or post.
2. Take a writing class or hire a coach. While you'll still have to pay for a class or writing coach, once you've learned a few tricks of the trade, you'll be able to write shareable content on your own.
3. Consider working with an editor or proofreader, and be sure the person you hire understands your business well. In most cases, having someone look over your copy or polish your rough draft will be more cost effective than hiring a writer to research and write from scratch. One thing to consider here is niche. An editor who understands what you do and how to tailor a digital content marketing strategy to your goals will be more effective and efficient than someone who needs to learn about your business and target market from scratch.
4. Put your work aside for a day. Good writers and editors know it's best to sleep on a piece and read it again with fresh eyes before posting it or sending it out. And here's a related trick of the trade: Read the post, article, or email out loud. You'll be much more likely to catch errors, awkward phrasing, and other issues if you actually hear the words as well as read them.
Why Writing Shareable Content Matters
I recently worked with a wonderful health coach who had a great new product to sell. This man inspires everyone he works with. He's open, engaging, intelligent, and able to change people's lives. But the content he'd written to promote his product was riddled with grammatical errors, awkward phrasing, and a few statements regarding nutritional content that were not correct. Unfortunately, that content did not translate into sales.
Why do I tell you this? Because you too can change the world with your gift of teaching yoga, advocating for the environment, coaching people in matters of fitness and natural healing, or promoting a clean, healthy diet. You are busy being good at what you do, so you may not have the time to write about it in a way that will engage readers and turn them into customers, students, or clients.
But people want to read about your work, and the place they're most likely to read about it is online—on your website or blog, in an email, or via a newsletter. That's why a good digital content marketing strategy is crucial. Studies show that people do judge your business and your professionalism by the quality of your writing.
Make sure your content reflects your greatness! Chose words that bring forth your brilliance and shine a light on your gifts. It's subtle, but just a few badly written sentences can turn people away from your message, and they won’t necessarily know the reason for their lack of interest.
You Don't Have to Be Perfect!
Please don't think I'm saying you need to be perfect. I don't want you to lose sight of the spirit of your message because you're consumed with finding every spelling error or missing comma in your work. You don't need to agonize over every word and sentence. Just have an eye for quality, because it matters as much in your written presentation as it does in other aspects of your business.
The Value of Your Digital Content Marketing Strategy
To understand the value of writing shareable content, let’s go back to my client with the great product to sell. As I mentioned, he was giving away a short promotional e-book, but few people were following up and buying the product he was promoting.
So we edited the content, a project that cost the equivalent of four sales of his product.
The e-book went viral and sales took off. Several years later, I'm told sales are still booming. The revised e-book has brought in many more than four additional sales.
Why I Do What I Do
I write work with wellness professionals because health of mind, body, and spirit is my passion. What better way to use my calling then by partnering with those who share my passion for yoga, nutrition, fitness, psychology, spirituality, and holistic health? My clients and I work together to change the world—one inspired and carefully crafted sentence at a time!
Would you like help with content marketing? Join my email list and get access to my resource library, which includes content you can start using today. I'll also send you my free guide to editing your own work so you can save time and reduce the cost of partnering with a professional content creator.
Let's tell your story!
If you visit my website and read about my services, you’ll see one of the things I do is assist clients with social media. 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 should 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 may not depend 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 may not 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 they are 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 people 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!
Keep in mind 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.
What’s been your experience with social media marketing? Have you noticed a change since you started? Remember, it’s all about sharing, so let me know!