Monday, April 5, 2021

Selling Your Proofreading Skills Directly to Small Businesses


Many freelance writers are able to diversify their skill set by offering their attention to detail for short-term gigs.  While many of these are offered by online proofreading or editing companies, some of the hiring requirements may call for a bachelor's degree or higher.  Truth be told, the pay offered isn't ideal for the freelancer looking to do this full time but in an age where good content writing sells, there are options!

One reason a lot of companies have rigid hiring requirements is that we tend to use bad grammar in our everyday language.  Now, if you're thinking "Duh?",  think in terms of the reader and how their views may be swayed when they read slang in a business document.  Other companies use freelancers to proofread or edit academic documents, which tend to be on the more formal side.

Companies that don't require experience or a college degree tend to pay on the really low side but can be good for getting feet wet. Although some people would rather invest in a training program (honestly, I haven't verified if non-degree holding graduates have been successful at retaining steady work), there are many offering varying curriculum and price points.  My recommendation would be to go with the local college, which may take longer but at least there's some accountability.

However, if you're confident that your wordsmith skills have that snap, focus on how you can re-vamp online copy, e-commerce, and social media.  We all know this doesn't require perfect grammar but the right language that connects with the targeted audience. This includes colloquialisms, incomplete sentences, and anything that will catch their eye at first glance.

Packaging Your Talents

Of course, your SEO skills will play a role in this as well.  And you may be thinking, "Aren't you talking about being a copywriter?"... yes AND no!  See, it's all in how you package your talents.

For example, you may have read lengthy landing pages written as one long block of text.  Somebody was paid good money to come up with the words but the right formatting (smaller paragraphs that focus on a single topic) is what drives the sale.  Your proofreading talents may also include refreshing the text so that it's relevant to the topic.  

No one wants to read about how good a local dish is, they want to hear about the sizzle, intense aroma, ... or how you can still smell it hours later. The right words + formatting + SEO = a winning formula.  And let's not forget spelling everyday words and responsible use of punctuation.  

Selling Your Services

If you work with the usual onboarding sites, you may want to include examples (even if their specs) in your portfolio.  These may include an analysis of why a particular piece of online content may not be effective, with an improved version next to it as a PDF or link.  You can also create a before-and-after website where you can demonstrate to current site owners how your expertise will help improve their bottom line.

Your current roster of clients may respond positively to this when you upsell the convenience factor.  They know that it's easy to overlook typos and having a second set of eyes always helps in the long run.  Either way, be prepared to bring it.  If you have access to psychology in ad formats and sales language, this will help your initial presentation.  Remember, a lot of sellers don't have experience in this area so let them know your services will bring great value!

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