There’s an interesting discussion at the moment on the SfEP forums about choosing a name for your editing or proofreading business. Should you use your own name to emphasise that your business = you + your particular skills, choose a clever play on editing-related words, or perhaps go for something creative with no hint of what you do to pique interest and act as a conversation starter? Is it better to have a short name that’s easy to spell or go for something that people will remember? There’s a good checklist of things to consider when naming your business in a previous blog post.
That got me thinking though about the other nuggets of good practice when setting up your business that have been shared by fellow editors. What is clear is that it pays to spend some time thinking about your complete business identity – or brand. You may not have thought of yourself as needing a brand before but the businesses that look most professional, however small, are the ones with a consistent look, feel and message, wherever you encounter them.
A strategy for consistency
For starters, answer the following.
- When did you last update all of your directory entries and social media profiles? Did you even remember that you had an entry in Freeindex or About.me or your local business listings?
- Do all your profiles use the same photo or logo?
- Did you perhaps experiment at one point with a quirky avatar that you’ve forgotten about but which still lingers out there on the web?
- Is your ‘blurb’ consistent – perhaps just tweaked for different platforms?
- Have you used the same branding on all your business documents – e.g. terms/contract, invoice, style sheet, information for authors?
- When people visit your website (you do have one, don’t you?) will they recognise you as the same person/business that they’ve seen on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn?
Housekeeping your online presence
When prospective clients search for you online, what will they find? Have you clearly separated your personal online presence from that of your business? Crucially, is there anything from your business or personal past that you’d rather people didn’t now see? Member of the SfEP Julie Marksteiner, who started the conversation on business names, has a good strategy:
‘The first thing I did when I decided to go freelance was to Google my name, which resulted in deleting a lot of old social media accounts and cringeworthy photographs. Would rather prospective clients take notice of my proofreading, not the Myspace account from my “emo phase”!’
Resources to help
Copy-editor and proofreader Mary McCauley has a wealth of tips and resources about branding and marketing yourself as a freelancer on her blog. And if you’re serious about revamping your business identity and marketing strategy you also could get hold of proofreader Louise Harnby’s book Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business.
Margaret Hunter (daisyeditorial.co.uk) is a freelance copy-editor, proofreader and book formatter, and is also marketing and PR director of the SfEP.
Proofread by Advanced Professional Member Liz Jones
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the SfEP