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)

November 3, 2014

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

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

by Erin Brenner

Almost every editor — heck, almost every person — is familiar with the Big Three of social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you use social media at all to market your business, you likely use at least one of them.

And why not? These sites have lots of users, offering you a big pool of potential clients. Even better, companies with big marketing budgets are spending large chunks of those budgets on studying how to use the Big Three, and results are published in reports and articles all over the web. There is no shortage of ideas for how to use these sites.

The downside is with so many people on these sites, how do you get heard over the din? How do you stand out from among all the other freelance editors in the crowd?

There’s something to be said for being on a smaller site, with less competition.

This time and next, I will review five social media sites that you should use in addition to the Big Three: Google+, Goodreads, Storify, SlideShare, and Pinterest.


Google+ was created to be a Facebook killer. Three years in, it hasn’t caught the social media giant yet. There’s a perception that on Google+ you can hear the crickets because there’s so little going on.

Yet Google+ has 359 million monthly active users (MAUs). 359 million. I don’t know about you, but if the smallest percentage of that audience hires me, I’ll be very successful. True, the numbers don’t compare to Facebook’s 1.3 billion MAUs, but they do to LinkedIn’s 300 million monthly active users. What’s more, Google+ is growing 33% each year, while Facebook is growing at a mere 3%.

Let’s forget about MAUs, though, because what really matters is whether there are enough users who would be interested in your services and who would engage with you to warrant spending time on the site.

So who hangs out on Google+? According to Adjust Your Set:

  • 63% of the audience is male
  • 35% of users are ages 25–34 years, 15% are 35–44 years, and 11% are 45–54 years
  • Tech workers are a strong presence

If any of these demographics describes your audience, you should consider using Google+.

Google+ Pro Tips

  • Set up a Google+ Page for your business. You’ll get free data, and it’s one more place to be found.
  • Follow people on Google+. Because users are still trying to find their audience on the site, they will more likely follow you back than they would on other sites.
  • Make use of circles to target your content. Create circles that make sense for your audience, such as topic, client type, or job title. Share content specifically to one of these communities.
  • Participate in relevant communities. There are plenty of writing and publishing communities to join. Look for one with recent activity. Also check out the Copy Editing community (no connection to the newsletter). Because there’s less bloat, your comments are heard more clearly. Be sure to follow those members who comment frequently.
  • Participate in a Hangout. Hangouts are real-time conversations (with or without video) and can be a great way to network.
  • Host an Event. Events are Hangouts that have been scheduled. Invite others to join you for a conversation on a topic important to their business. Try interviewing your published authors on the publishing process or a designer on the importance of book design. Record the video and share it on your site later.


Owned by Amazon, Goodreads is a site for listing, reviewing, and sharing the books you read. What better way to show an author that you know what’s what in horror books than by talking about them intelligently?

How big is the Goodreads universe? According to Quantcast, each day Goodreads has:

  • 950,000 unique visitors
  • 1.1 million visits
  • 5 million page views

That means most folks (83%) visit once a day and look at five pages while there.

Other stats from Quantcast:

  • 22% of users are ages 25–34 years; 20% are 35–44 years, and 16% are 45–54 years
  • 28% of users earn $50,000–$100,000, and another 12% earn $100,000–$150,000
  • 42% are college grads, and another 22% have graduate degrees

Sound like your audience? Here’s how you can use Goodreads better.

Goodreads Pro Tips

  • Create custom bookshelves. Goodreads gives you three standard shelves: read, currently reading, and to read. Create your own shelves to organize books in a way that helps potential clients. How about a shelf of books on your chosen subject matter or books you’ve written, edited, or reviewed?
  • Write professional, useful book reviews. Book reviews follow books, so you can attract new followers or potential clients with your reviews.
  • Share your reviews and books with your other social media audiences. Connect your Goodreads profile with your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Amazon account, and then share your activity, such as publishing a new book review. Not only are you creating content for the other sites, you’re drawing people to your Goodreads account, inviting them to know you better.
  • Recommend books to your top influencers. “Top influencers” are your biggest fans, the people who love to spread the word about you. By sharing something exclusively with them, you’re making them feel special and getting your content out to more people.
  • Participate in Groups. There are Groups for writers and editors. When I last checked, Goodreads had a list of 1,000 tags used to categorize Groups. Choose a Group with recent activity, and follow those you talk with in the Group.

Coming up in Part II: an overview of Storify, SlideShare, and Pinterest.

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 II)

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