You’re clinging to the security blanket that is your corporate nine to five. (Or is it your seven to seven?) You so badly want to ditch your for-the-man job and leap into your new business. You want to throw that batch of confetti in the air and shout that you are the independent, self-directing entrepreneur you’ve always envisioned.
Maybe you’ve even already taken the leap but you’re not sure where to go from here. There is just so—much—to—consider.
Wherever you are in your planning, being in business for yourself is exciting. Among its many perks is getting to use your skills and talents to help others—your clients—become successful.
The big picture
Your written content plays an important role in how you reach your clients. Newsletters, web content, blog posts, social media, books, articles, and marketing materials are each business-driving tools that tell the world what you are all about.
Clients rely on this content to learn what you can do for them. Did you know something as simple as a few typos can distract readers from your message and negatively affect their opinion of your brand? If your writing lacks attention to detail, clients can interpret the oversights as a reflection of your work and credibility.
So many times I’ve seen an ad and have had no idea what it is selling. Not because the product was unmemorable or the marketing wasn’t catchy; but because the red flag of grammar blunders was waved so feverishly in my face that I never even got to a place in the ad where I could find out what the product was. I admit that I could be missing out on something fantastic, but I’ll never know.
So what if writing is not one of your strong suits? Would you rather grab a lighter and set your eyebrows on fire than write copy for your business? You’re not alone . . . but let’s face it—singed eyebrows aren’t going to generate business.
Knowing who can help
This is where a copyeditor comes in.
Your clients seek you because you have the experience and knowledge to help them get where they want to be. You are the expert and they need your advice.
In the same vein, having someone in your corner who will make sure your writing is clear, makes sense, and is (of course) grammatically correct can make a huge difference in the quality of your content (and the time you can instead devote to other parts of your business). You need an expert too.
A good copyeditor will help you avoid the grammar and vocabulary hounds turning their noses up at your services simply because your subjects and verbs don’t agree. Wait, what? Case in point—you have so many other things to think about.
Does it really matter that you use apostrophe’s as liberally as 80’s high school girl’s used hairspray? Is it going to hurt your business when you tell your clients that your the right choice for them? Well—yes, absolutely. Those are exactly the things that can make your potential clients close their browser on your content, move on to your competitor’s typo-free webpage, and jump into his book of business. (FYI, those questions were very painful to type and were used to prove a point. If you’re not sure why they are so cringe worthy, a copyeditor can definitely be a big help.)
The good news is that none of that boring* grammar stuff has to be your problem. Your copyeditor can’t do anything about your singed eyebrows, but she will certainly make sure your content’s usage, style, grammar, and spelling aren’t a hairy mess.
*Yeah, if by “boring” you mean “awesome”!
Your personal blind spot detector
You know exactly what you can do for your clients and the best way to do it. These are the very reasons you shouldn’t edit your own material. Your thoughts are already clear in your mind; of course what you write will make sense to you. You’re not writing for yourself, though. You are writing for an audience that only knows what you put into words—and things get lost in translation. You should always (always) have someone else look over your work (even if it is just casually).
Having your material edited by a quality copyeditor has shown to increase readers’ engagement by as much as 30 percent. Imagine what that could mean for your business. More client conversions, anyone? How about a plateful of market share? A heaping side of income growth?
Heck, I even had a trusted colleague look over this article before I put it in your hands. I know better than to think that none of this applies to me. You can bet your eyebrows that I do outstanding work for my clients, but that doesn’t mean I have the right lens to review my own content.
The bottom line is that we all need help.
Visit Achievers’ Minds next week to read the conclusion of Engaging Your Clients One Word at a Time: How a Copyeditor Can Rock Your Business. I will share what to look for in a great copyeditor and give you four tips to help you find the right copyeditor for your business!
Megan Langston is a corporate communications consultant and freelance copyeditor in Denver, Colorado. She enjoys working with clients in all fields but particularly relishes partnering with clients who write about travel, pets, and crafts. She is an animal lover to the core and spends her free time either hiking the Boulder mountains or curled up on the couch knitting her latest project. She is also an avid traveler who takes every opportunity to hop on a plane to see new places — her favorite thing to do abroad is visit as many local bakeries as possible. Linkedin: Linkedin Email: MeganLangstonCopy@gmail.com