Client Profile: Small Steps

Small Steps LogoLast month I had the opportunity to work with someone who’s just taken a big, brave leap into pursuing her career dreams (just like I did a few years ago!). Elizabeth Small (hereafter Liz) decided recently that she wanted to focus all of her professional efforts on growing her small business, Small Steps. Her endeavor provides reflections, one-on-one sessions, and workshops to those who are looking to restore or grow their personal faith. She also provides programing for college campuses on spirituality and hooking up. And, the best part of all, she’s honest, funny, and self-deprecating, which gives her regular blog posts a refreshing voice and makes them must-reads.

Liz reached out to me after realizing that creating the copy for her website was too daunting a task to do alone. She had hired other professionals, including a photographer and graphic and web designers, to elevate her site’s look, and she wanted to make sure her copy delivered the Small Steps message as effectively as possible.

HeadshotDuring our collaboration, Liz and I traded many e-mails and files. She contributed the original ideas and writing to the project, and I looked through it with an editorial eye to suggest ways to be more direct and explicit. For Liz’s website, she needed to be clear about her services but also retain her distinct voice. As an editor, I wanted to achieve these objectives while also checking for other grammar, usage, and style issues. In just a few weeks, Liz and I had polished her copy and it was ready for her website’s new launch.

Liz was kind enough to supply a quote I could use for my own marketing efforts as I continue to grow my offerings for individuals and small businesses. Regarding our collaboration, Liz said: “Working with Natalie was such a treat! She’s clearly honed her trade as an editor, and I felt like all of her suggestions helped my message become clearer!”

If you are in need of reconnecting with your personal needs and spiritual life, contact Liz to set up a time to talk. She offers regular programs on self-care, something many of us could use on a regular basis. And if you are looking to refine or create a clear and effective message for your own small business, reach out to me so we can begin a meaningful collaboration.

Small Business Owners: Why You Need an Editor

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Hey small business owner! Yeah you! The one with the website, brochure, newsletter, and blog that you are trying to manage along with your business services, networking events, professional development, and accounting. Are you feeling a little overwhelmed?

As a small business owner myself, I bet that you have a pretty long to-do list. I started my publishing services business two years ago and have gone from “I feel overwhelmed at the thought of getting all of this going” to “I am not sure where I should be spending my time and efforts.”

Sound familiar?

Chances are, if you are running a small business, you are passionate about the services you offer. Whether it’s selling products, providing services, or being just plain awesome, you want to spend your time focusing on these activities, not on invoicing, tracking expenses, writing copy, or reviewing every marketing material for grammar, usage, and style. That’s where other professionals can help so you can focus on those all-important core activities of your business.

Here are three reasons to find and hire an editor now:

You Need a Brand and You Need to Build It

Just like so many small business owners outsource bookkeeping to keep their accounting organized and streamlined, hiring an editor and/or writer can simplify and boost your marketing plans. In this day in age of content marketing, where you send out informational content to be absorbed by the masses (think social media posts, blogs, and newsletters), your communication efforts need to be substantial and well presented. As a Harvard Business Review article, “Every Content Marketer Needs an Editor,” describes:

The editor . . . acts as a proxy for the reader, and ensures your content offers that reader real value in return for their time.  That editor also has the ability to recognize the difference between an idea that’s worth a 140-character tweet, and one that can be developed into a blog post or report—or, for that matter, a three-minute video. They have the ability to work with an author whose ideas may be terrific but who may not be a strong communicator, and develop that author’s ideas into a compelling and engaging piece of content. And yes, the ability to transform inelegant or even incoherent prose into a tight, readable argument.

So you may be an expert in fitness, in selling jewelry, or in creating beautiful interior designs, but it’s unlikely that you’ve got the time to create each piece of written communication necessary to build your brand for the masses. (If you need help developing your branding concept, check out my associate, Caitlin Merto). Let an expert navigate the world of words so you can focus on everything else.

Why not hire a person who gleefully enrolled in a grammar, usage, and style class in college and who practices editing and writing skills everyday working with a variety of clients? A trained and skilled editor can keep you on message and write eloquent prose in a fraction of the time you would spend doing it. Think of how much more precise a trained photographer is at taking pictures and editing them than an amateur. That’s what an editor can do with your written communication.

You Need Someone to Put Thoughts to Paper

I recently worked with a client whose vision was clear but who had no idea how to articulate her concepts through words, delaying her from launching a new business. She called me one day with trepidation and excitement, unsure if I could help her but excited at the possibility of getting her thoughts on paper.

During our initial phone consultation, the client and I spoke about her concept, her audience, and her needs. Later, we met at a coffee shop and just talked. She told me about herself and her ideas for the business, and I wrote down key phrases and themes that kept appearing in the conversation. She gave me some handouts she had used for workshops that might help craft her message. After our meeting, I went home, compiled my notes and, in just a handful of hours, created web copy that conveyed her vision.

Imagine how long it would take you to create polished copy for a five-page website and think about whether it’s worth your time.

You Need Polished, Professional Prose

Not only can an editor make your thoughts and ideas come to life through words, he or she can also review your prose and correct grammar, usage, and style mistakes as a copy editor. A copy editor looks at the nuts and bolts of your writing and fixes it for obvious errors, grammar mistakes, and overall clarity, among other things.

The article “10 Reasons You Need a Copy Editor” by Whiterock Business Solutions articulates perfectly why you need a copy editor for your business:

There is nothing more embarrassing then promoting yourself or your company with materials that are riddled with typos, grammar mistakes, inconsistencies and poor sentence structure. How can a potential customer expect that you will do quality work when the materials you publish do not live up to the same level of quality.

An editor doesn’t seem like such an extraneous investment for your business now, does it?

I hope I’ve made my case for why every small business owner should utilize the services an editor provides. If you want to take your business to the next level, let’s talk about how I can make your written communication sparkle. Contact me at natalielsilver(at)yahoo(dot)com so we can start a conversation.