Banishing the marketing heebie-jeebies – conference session preview

By Louise Harnby

If you’re a new entrant to the field of editorial freelancing, and you’re attending this year’s SfEP conference in Aston, I hope you’ll join me and my co-presenters Liz Jones and Sue Littleford at our speed start-up session: Things newbies need to know. Together, we’ll be rattling through some top tips to help you with three pillars of editorial business building: finance, pricing editorial work, and marketing. I’ll be handling the marketing section.

banish doubtI know that business promotion gives many newbies the heebie-jeebies, and so, with that in mind, I’ve based the presentation around the questions that I’ve been asked most frequently by anxious marketers-to-be. In this way, I hope the session will be as much about what I think you should know as what you think you want to know!

I want the session to be as accessible as possible, so I’m throwing in a couple of promises, too – there’ll be no marketing jargon and you needn’t have any prior experience of business promotion whatsoever. It’ll just be me talking to you – one editorial freelancer to another. If you hear me utter words such as ‘utility’, ‘drill down’, ‘marginal’ or ‘basis of segmentation’, you have permission to throw things at me!

So what are those frequently asked questions?

  • What is marketing? I don’t have a clue where to start!
  • What do I say? How do I structure my marketing message?
  • What promotional tools or activities work best?
  • How do I get noticed and stand out from the crowd?
  • Should I promote myself as a generalist or a specialist?
  • How do I combat my marketing nerves?

Using those questions as my guide, I’ll provide you with one definition and five frameworks to banish those heebie-jeebies and provide you with a structured way of developing your editorial marketing strategy with confidence and even, I hope, a little excitement.

There’ll be a handout, too, that includes a summary of what’s been discussed and a list of useful additional resources to help you on your editorial marketing journey, including the latest combined edition of my business books, Omnibus: Editorial Business Planning & Marketing Plus (all conference attendees will be entitled to a one-off 20% discount voucher for use against a purchase of the PDF).

Liz, Sue and I will be presenting on Monday, 12 September 2016, between 1.30 and 2.30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there. [There are a limited number of conference places left if you haven’t booked yet, but do it soon!]

Louise HarnbyBased in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader with 24 years’ publishing experience. An Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), she specializes in providing proofreading solutions for clients working in the social sciences, humanities, fiction and commercial non-fiction. Her customers include publishers, project management agencies, professional institutions and independent writers. Louise is the curator of The Proofreader’s Parlour and the author of Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers, Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business, and Omnibus: Editorial Business Planning & Marketing Plus.

Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, follow her on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the SfEP

1 thought on “Banishing the marketing heebie-jeebies – conference session preview

  1. CS Petherick

    It’s not just newbies that get the heeby-jeebies. I’ve been editing since 1993 and I still get the willies at the thought of – as Molesworth would say, ‘perish the thort!’ – cold calling.
    With the rise of email it’s got worse. Because now I reckon that most of us – well, most of me, anyhow – can relax in the knowledge that sending an email is far less intrusive than making a phone call; there’s no need for our correspondent to drop what they’re doing to respond to the imperious summons of the bell. So now I only make a business phone call when email’s failed me. And of course, as most people are Just Like Me, they won’t want to be interrupted by a phone call from someone they’ve never heard of, trying to sell them something.
    To add to that, even when it’s not a matter of cold calling, it’s a matter of getting over my own deprecatory self-image. Who am I to hope that this person I’m approaching will want to hire me, when there are so many better qualified / more experienced / cheaper people out there?
    Okay, so what it looks like I really need is not so much a conference session as 20 years of deep analysis. But I’m betting that many members of the SfEP may be able to find, deep down, similar difficulty in valuing their service for what it’s worth. And that limits our ability to present our service effectively to someone new to us.
    There is one thing I’ve done that’s helped me hugely on that score. That was to apply for, and gain, an upgrade in membership, in my case to Advanced. It took me several weeks to get the necessary evidence together and to upload it all. But the consequent boost to my morale and to my own self-image has been extraordinary.
    Instead of hoping and believing I’d be perceived as more or less good enough if I worked hard enough and charged little enough, I now have solid evidence that tells me I can present my work as good enough and my fees as fair. So, thank you, SfEP – thank you for all your hard work in creating a structure that can turn dreams into a benchmark recognised not just by potentially good clients but also – most important of all – by me.


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