In the first of a series of posts anticipating our 2018 conference in September, Louise Harnby previews her session: ‘What flavour is your business? Building a brilliant editorial brand’.
What’s your favourite chocolate? I like Galaxy. Lindt’s lovely too. Cadbury’s is good but not as good as Galaxy and Lindt! I’ll eat Nestlé if it’s free but I don’t buy it. And Hershey’s? Just no.
There’s nothing wrong or right about any of those types of chocolate. It’s just that chocolate comes in different flavours, which means what we like or don’t like is personal. It’s about fit, about preference, about taste.
Building a brand identity for our editorial businesses isn’t so different. And just as there are some types of chocolate that don’t float my gastro boat, so there are some editors who aren’t the perfect fit for a client.
It’s not that those editors aren’t fit for market, or that they don’t have excellent qualifications and a ton of experience. It’s rather that none of us can be all things to all clients, and when we try to be, we risk diluting the message to the extent that it’s bland.
Baseline appeals to everyone
It can be tempting to focus on the obvious when we’re presenting ourselves online – this qualification, that training course, this certificate, that award, and other stuff such as being professional, meeting our deadlines, and producing high-quality work.
All of that is important but none of it’s particularly interesting. How many of your colleagues actively advertise themselves as poorly trained editors who produce questionable work and struggle with time-keeping? None, I hope.
And yet many editors focus heavily on these baseline attributes when constructing their websites. My site used to be like that – I was talking to students, authors, businesses, academics and publishers … anyone I thought might hire me. That meant I had to keep the message watered down so as not to put anyone off. And so I focused on the baselines.
The problem with baselines is that they speak to everyone but inspire few. And while that kind of message might generate work leads, it rarely generates ideal work leads.
To move ourselves into a position where we’re attracting the perfect clients – those who are offering us the type of work we crave at the price we’re asking – we need to add flavour.
Communicating the way we taste to our ideal clients is where branding comes in.
Building the flavour of you
If you want to extract the flavour of you and infuse your online presence with it, please join me for ‘What flavour is your business? Building a brilliant editorial brand’.
In the first hour, I’ll show you a brand-building framework – one that explores what makes each of us tick, what’s troubling our clients, and what our nemesis thinks and does.
In the second hour, it’s your turn. You’ll use that framework to begin the process of creating a rich, compelling and unique brand identity that attracts your best-fit clients.
You don’t need any experience of branding or marketing. All I ask is that you come with an open mind and a readiness to be honest with yourself.
Can you keep a secret?
There’s one more thing, but let’s keep this between ourselves … there might just be chocolate. Not the chocolate I like. The chocolate you like.
If you sign up for the session, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your favourite choccy is. That way, I can make sure the workshop is a truly flavoursome experience for you!
I look forward to seeing you in Lancaster!
Louise Harnby is a fiction line editor, copy-editor and proofreader who specialises in supporting self-publishing authors, particularly crime writers. She is an Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and an Author Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Find out more at www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com.