Need a sign? Here’s five it’s time to hire an editor
You know how some people look to the universe to tell them what to do?
Take me, for instance.
Earlier this year, I did a pivotal pivot in my business (AGAIN – jeesh). Right after I made up my mind, two jobs that would have been *perfect* for me had I stayed on the old path were practically handed to me. Like, served up on the ol’ silver platter, complete with a fancy cloche.
It’s like the universe was saying, “Dig in.”
Except I didn’t. Some people might have thought this was a sign that I’d chosen to stroll down the wrong country road. Uhh, hellooo – TWO jobs?
Sure, I saw it as a sign. But my interpretation was that the universe was testing me and my resolve.
Anything like that ever happened to you? Maybe you’ve been considering upping your content game, and you’ve just been waiting for a sign that now is the right time to level up and claim your spot in the stars. You know, among Cassiopeia and Pegasus and all those balls of burning gas…
If that’s you, here’s five signs it might be time to hire an editor.
You’re flying by the seat of your (so cute, btw) pants
When it comes to your weekly blog, here’s your usual modus operandi (yeah, I could have just said MO…): You sit down in front of the computer at your appointed writing time. You open a blank document. You think about what you might want to write about. For an hour. You finally come up with an idea and start writing.
Next week? Pretty much the same.
Listen, it’s totally cool if you’re feeling super inspired and want to write an off-the-cuff, in-the-heat-of-the-moment post from that passion-filled place of goodness.
But if you’re writing from a bit of a panic-packed, what-the-hell-should-I-say perspective every single week, your content’s not working its best for you.
There’s *probably* a lack of cohesion between your posts. They might not be pushing people toward a pre-determined point or call-to-action. And they might just be all over the place so your audience can’t keep up with all the switchbacks and hairpin turns.
With a trusty editor, you’ll have a schedule and a plan (and someone to constantly check in on you – hi, new accountability buddy!), so you’ll stay on track. Your content will be a little less haphazard and a little more intentional.
You’re letting the small stuff slip through the cracks
A typo here and there doesn’t signal the apocalypse. (I can’t believe I just said that either.)
Honestly, you can’t catch every single thing. Especially when you’re the writer, editor, VA, web designer, accountant, marketer, owner, publicist, social media manager…
Let me tell you a little story.
When I was doing marketing for professional services firms (it sounds more impressive than it is), I used to write 100+ page proposals, 3-inch binders full of technical jargon and plenty o’ fluff, too. You probably know by now that I consider myself somewhat of an eagle eye, and I had a reputation for spotting errors just by glancing at a page.
But, when you’ve been staring at a document for weeks and you’re two hours away from the deadline and you’ll miss out on a multimillion-dollar (or billion-dollar) project if you don’t ship it NOW, sometimes there’s no room for perfection.
I could go grab an old proposal off the shelf and find alll kinds of mistakes. (And, yes, it hurts my too-small, heart-murmur-y heart to this day.)
Sure, sure, you aren’t working on ginormous documents – maybe only a couple thousand words at a time. Unless you’re writing a book…
But you’ve been looking at it for a while. You’re close to it. And you really just don’t have the time to fine-tooth comb it.
So your content goes out there with a typo here and there, a missing sentence, a weird paragraph that just trails off….
It goes without saying that an editor’s got your back when it comes to that small stuff. Well, and the big stuff, too.
You’re getting cold pitches from proofreaders
Okay, I have another story for you.
The first time I attempted freelancing, I pitched a bunch of bloggers that I personally thought could have cleaner copy. (I’m an editor…no matter how much I talk about a few typos being a-okay, I’ll still complain like a crybaby whenever I see them.)
I even considered marking up their copy and showing them how much better it could be if they hired an editor.
And, just last week, I saw someone make the ol’ pubic vs. public mistake that makes me cringe so hard every time and promptly started plotting a pitch in my head. (In case you’re wondering, it started off with, “I don’t always cold pitch bloggers, but when I do…”)
Unfortunately, that’s not alway super productive and – let’s be honest – comes off a little offensive to the other person.
Moral of the story is: Don’t embarrass people.
Okay, but really. If you’re getting cold pitches from proofreaders, it’s because people are noticing your mistakes.
It might just be people like me who are sensitive to grammar and punctuation (case in point: yesterday, I threw a conniption fit because I’m pretty sure no one actually edits our local newspaper), but why take that chance?
All those pesky little commas and colons instead of semicolons are detracting from your message.
Again, it’s 100% okay to not be perfect. But if you’re trying to position yourself as an expert and the go-to person in your industry you might want to get a little bit closer so you’re taken a little more seriously.
Your writing could use a boost
Truth: Most people really aren’t garbage at writing.
More often than not, they just need a bit of a power up (or to outsource the hell outta any and all writing because they hate it so much that the thought of it sends them into a spiral of swearing and throwing whatever’s within arm’s reach).
Whether your copy’s lacking personality or a sense of humor, whether it’s not as focused and compelling as it could be, or you have trouble writing snazzy intros and powerful closings, that’s all fixable under the watchful eye of an editor.
It’s not that you don’t have good ideas or that you can’t write sentences. It’s that you aren’t quite sure how to take your copy to the next level. From good to great. From “oh, that’s interesting” to “holy hell, that’s totally me!”
And you know what? That’s fiiine.
An editor is there to help you hone those ideas. To make sure they’re coming across the way you intended. To let you focus on the big picture and stop worrying about self-editing or annoying grade school grammar rules.
They’re there – behind the scenes – to help you shine like a mothereffin’ dolphin’s fin catching some mid-day Florida sun. (It makes sense in my world, trust me…)
You want to start showing up more consistently
Maybe you’ve already got a schedule. Maybe you’ve got a plan. But that doesn’t change how you’re showing up – or *not* showing up.
Left to your own devices, you’ll so quickly go off script, like a reality TV star in their first straight-to-DVD movie. You’ll start scheduling meetings during your writing time. (Whoops, didn’t have time to get this week’s post done.) You’ll start pushing your deadlines back. You’ll start skipping a week here and there. You’ll go dark for a month or two.
Even though you know that’s not getting you closer to your goal. You know you want to be a constant in your people’s minds. Anytime they think *your thing,* you want them to think of you.
The problem is…you have to be consistent to stay at the forefront of their squishy brains.
Unless you’re really good at holding yourself accountable or if you’re really good at lying to yourself and pretending it doesn’t matter, it can be damn near mission impossible to stick to the plan when you’re going it alone.
Shit happens. Life and business get in the way. Your dog gets sick. Or eats your keyboard.
Having an editor gives you someone to be accountable to. Someone who’s going to push you to do what you say you’re going to do. Because they’ve got you on their calendar and, if you muck up, you throw their schedule off, too. You don’t want to ruin someone else’s plan, do you? DO YOU?
Maybe you’re a Libra like me and you’re a little indecisive. Maybe you’re a Taurus and you know an editor is *exactly* what you need. Maybe you’re not sure you saw YOUR sign here (Zodiac or otherwise…). I’d love to invite you to chat to see if working together is a good fit for you. Book your 100% free, 100% pitch-free call right over here.