An American Editor

November 5, 2014

The Practical Editor: 5 Social Media Sites You Should Be Using (Part II)

5 Social Media Sites You Should Be Using (Part II)

by Erin Brenner

In Part I, I reviewed Google+ and Goodreads as two lesser-known social media sites that you can incorporate into your marketing plan to spread your brand message. You don’t have to give up the Big Three — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter — but you can be more visible on a smaller site, and that’s worth something.

Today, I look at three more sites to consider using: Storify, SlideShare, and Pinterest.


Storify works beautifully with a professional communicator’s talents. We know how to tell and edit stories, and this site allows you show off those skills by curating of others’ social media postings, giving them context, and then sharing them with your audience. You’ll also demonstrate your knowledge of your industry, as Adrienne Montgomerie does with her links of the week posts.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Gather postings from various social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
  2. Add text, images, and URLs to your story to give it context.
  3. Publish your story.
  4. Share the link on your other social media sites.
  5. Embed the link into your website to keep on sharing it.

Storify Pro Tips

That said, collecting and curating stories takes time, so approach them as you would original stories, because in a way they are:

  • Research the main commentators and the hashtags being used. Use the most reliable sources.
  • Consider how to best tell the story. Should you tell it chronologically? As a Q&A?
  • Edit, edit, edit! Choose the comments that best highlight the points you want to make.
  • Keep the story at a reasonable length. It should be long enough to tell the story, short enough to keep the reader’s attention.
  • Add words, links, and pictures to help tell the story.
  • Write headlines and introductions for readers and search engines.


SlideShare is just like it sounds: a social media site that allows you to share your PowerPoint decks. Visitors can look through your slides, comment on them, share the link, even download the presentation as a PDF (if you let them).

Although SlideShare gets only about 4 million visitors a month, it offers a targeted audience: businesspeople, many of whom work for B2B companies. So while you won’t reach individual authors on the site, you can reach companies you want to work for or be associated with. A large portion of the audience are the decision makers themselves: the business owners.

Most users post slides from presentations they’ve given. But you needn’t have given a presentation to post something. Create a slideshow just for the site. Short decks, consisting of 10 slides or less, do really well. You can also share videos, infographics, and documents to share with an audience.

SlideShare Pro Tips

  • Skip the animation. Animation can be great in a live presentation, but it doesn’t work on SlideShare. You can fake animation if you have to, but consider whether that’s necessary.
  • Make your links live. Take advantage of the fact that viewers can click on links within your presentation. Don’t forget to link to your site!
  • Include a call to action. Encourage people to take the next step, whether it’s to visit your website or call you or just share your presentation. Put the slide in the middle of the deck.
  • Make the presentation useful. Slides need to be more than just images. Ensure that some give tips viewers can use.
  • Write good titles and descriptions. Make them accurate, and include keywords. Many views will come from viewers searching on keywords.


Pinterest is essentially a pretty bookmark-sharing site. You collect web pages from around the web and save them using an image from the page or one of your own images. Visitors to your Pinterest page will see the images and can click on them to get more information.

You can post your own content, share others’ content, approve of someone’s posting, and comment on the posting. Pinterest a very visual site that packs a lot of punch.

Use it promote your own writing or your author’s. Pin your articles. Pin links to books and other materials you’ve edited, using the book covers as images. Use others’ pins to enhance your collection and make it more useful to your audience.

As with all curating efforts, you want to add a good description (context) and be particular about what you collect. Remember: your audience is looking for useful information. Provide it, and they’ll remember your brand positively.

Pinterest Pro Tips

  • Create a board others can pin to. Get folks involved!
  • Don’t just pin the first image you see. Look at your options and choose the best one.
  • Spread out your pinning activity. When you pin, your followers receive a notice, so avoid pinning a lot all at once. It can look spammy and feel annoying.
  • Tag your content. Utilize Pinterest’s Guided Search categories and subcategories. This will help people find your pins.
  • Embed board URLs on your website page. Lead website users to your Pinterest account, where they can get useful information.

Social media is a great opportunity for freelance editors, allowing us not only to market to millions of people for the cost of our time but also to demonstrate our creative skills. As with most marketing tactics, however, results take time. You build your audience one person and one click at a time. Have patience and keep at it!

Erin Brenner is the editor of the Copyediting newsletter and the owner of Right Touch Editing. You can follow her on Twitter. Erin is also a guest presenter at various conferences on topics of interest to freelancers.

The Practical Editor: 5 Social Media Sites You Should Be Using (Part I)


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