Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that one of the most challenging aspects of running your own business is finding and managing high-quality people. Finding employees or contractors can be relatively easy, but what you really need are people who buy into your vision and contribute towards the growth of your business in a meaningful way.
As the owner of a membership website, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that require your attention. The problem is, once you get dragged into the trap of running around putting out fires, you lose perspective and forget about the bigger picture.
One way you can overcome this problem, is to hire someone to help you with one of the most important tasks you face as the owner of a membership blog or website: quality content creation. So in this post we will take a look at how an editor can help you with content creation, and how you can go about finding the right person for your project.
Why Do You Need an Editor?
Here are some of the main reasons why you might want to consider hiring an editor for your membership blog, as well some of the benefits you can reap from doing so:
Boost Your Productivity
Having someone who is responsible for reviewing and editing everything that is published on your website will free up a tremendous amount of time. This will allow you to focus on other more important tasks – the ones that will help drive your business forward.
I think you’ll agree that one of the most important aspects of a good membership website is content. Without good quality content, you lose the ability to communicate effectively with your membership base. In most cases, your members are also expecting new content on a regular basis. It takes considerable time and effort to build a solid membership base and the last thing you want to do is be losing members.
By hiring an editor, you'll be able to produce more content, without having to worry about micromanaging all the small details.
Improve the Quality of Your Content
In almost all cases, hiring an editor will add significantly to the quality of your content. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re a good enough writer and that you don’t need someone to edit your work – but that’s small thinking.
Even the top authors, journalists, novelists, and bloggers have an editor who reviews their work. A fresh set of eyes can do wonders for even the most esteemed wordsmith. An editor can add that extra little bit of polish that will set your site apart from the competition.
How To Go About Finding a Good Editor
Now that we've covered the why, lets take a look at the how. Finding and hiring the right editor for your project needed be a daunting task. By following this practical advice you can ensure your new working relationship gets off on the right track.
Determine Your Requirements
Depending on where your strengths lie, you’ll need to vary your requirements and make them crystal clear in the job description that you create. Maybe you’re already a great storyteller, but need help with spelling and grammar. Or maybe your spelling is generally fine, but you struggle with flow. Figure out exactly what you need from your editor and let them know because editors can wear many hats. Here are just a few:
- Copy editors can focus on style and consistency of mechanics as well as spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Stylistic editors focus on just that – the general style of your writing including cleaning up language, reducing technical jargon, and adjusting reading levels.
- An editor who specializes in fact checking may be required if you tend to quote or reference other sources on a frequent basis.
- Substantive editors tend to spend time on organization and general cleanup of the content and structure.
- If you need help before you even begin a project (maybe you're producing a guide or ebook), you're probably looking for a developmental editor. Someone who is capable of helping to plan the details of your project.
Be Clear in Your Expectations
Working with an editor is just like working with any other contractor. Decide on the terms and conditions of your project and put them down in writing. If you have specific expectations, which you should, make sure to include them in your contract. Here are some of the most important terms to consider:
1. Frequency & Volume – Because your editor will likely be reviewing content prior to publishing it to your members, you should lay out some guidelines that explain how much work you'll be providing and how often.
2. Work Flow – Part of what makes your work relationship function efficiently is a proper flow. Figure out a system that is effective for both you and your editor. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Some tools you might consider using:
- Google Docs
3. Deadlines & Expectations – Your members are probably expecting content to become available according to a schedule. Make sure you clearly establish deadlines and expectations surrounding the completion of each task.
4. Payment Terms – How will you pay your editor? On a monthly basis or upon completion of each small project? Also, how much will you pay them? Make sure all the details regarding pay are clearly outlined and understood.
Where To Find an Editor
Finding a reliable editor for your membership site should not prove to be a difficult process. Especially if you are producing ongoing content and are in a position to supply consistent work.
There are a few reliable sources that are worth trying (in no particular order):
- Sites like Upwork (formerly ODesk) and Freelancer have hundreds of listings for available editors. Rates typically run between $15-30/hr and you’ll have to spend some time sorting through the possibilities, but you should be able to find an editor capable of meeting your needs.
- Another option involves posting on local job boards (craigslist or ProBlogger) or even contacting the owners of websites who are focused on educating freelance writers. You'll likely find rates a little higher when you take this route.
- A third option and likely the most expensive (and highest quality) would be to post an ad with a service like the Northwest Independent Editors Guild specifying your exact requirements.
Hiring an editor for your membership site or blog may be one of the smartest decisions you can make. There is an enormous amount of content on the web, both good and bad, but by hiring an editor you’ll be able to accomplish several key objectives:
- You’ll level up the quality of your content – likely by a significant margin.
- You’ll free yourself up to produce more high-quality content instead of spending your time editing.
- You’ll have more time to interact with you members, a key component in developing a strong membership base.
If you’ve experimented with hiring an editor for your website, please share your experiences in the comments below!