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How to establish an online profile after your proofreading course

We frequently stress to our proofreading course students and course graduates the importance of raising their online profiles. It’s an essential process if they are setting up a business or hoping to attract freelance work.

The same applies to other courses, too, but our online proofreading course tends to produce more graduates with freelancing ambitions than our other online courses.

That’s probably because there is a lot of proofreading work around these days.

We provide every new student with a free ebook called Promoting brand you, which provides advice on establishing their online and social media profiles - and how to maintain them. Social media promotion isn’t a one-off job, but an ongoing daily commitment.

"Self-promotion" does not come naturally to some students. Many people are reticent about putting themselves forward or blowing their own trumpets. But it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get established as a freelance proofreader these days without publicising yourself, even if you have a proofreading course qualification.

Steps that any proofreading course student can take

So how do you go about it?

Firstly, you’ll need a small website. You can either build one yourself, or get a company to produce one. Our partner organisation, BST Creative, has a special package for CMP students see: http://www.bstcreative.co.uk/chichester-design-packages/

It’s best to have your site built professionally, and with its own domain name. Self-build sites never look that good, unless you really know what you’re doing.

Then you’ll need feeds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to promote yourself and your services. You need these to drive people to your website.

It’s also helpful if you put yourself forward as an expert in your field - the go-to person for advice or opinions on editorial skills, proofreading services or similar.

These are some of the steps.

  1. Promote public perception, by:

    1. Improving then blogging regularly on carefully selected subjects.

    2. Producing the occasional white paper.

    3. Having credible and authoritative CVs on your website, LinkedIn and other social media channels.

  1. Proactively responding to important industry issues. You can do this by:

    1. Putting yourself up for interview by local journalists by phone or email. For instance, a proofreading course graduate might have something to say about a new government report that reveals few children know how to use apostrophes.

    2. Contributing to debates on respected online forums.

    3. Produce a weekly, or monthly podcast or video, accompanied by a downloadable pdf with links to digital output etc - talk about industry issues, offer advice, promote discussion, and, of course mention your services.

You’re a proofreading course graduate - not everyone’s best mate

It’s important to get the tone right when you are building online rapport. Your tone should be friendly, to compensate for the lack of human contact. But remember, you are pitching yourself as an expert. You are not trying to become everyone’s friend. There’s a difference. It’s unprofessional if you become too chummy or over-familiar.

Some people worry about their personal safety when they start to build an online profile. It’s a valid concern.

You don’t know who you’re dealing with in the online environment, and we have all read the horror stories about abuse, trolls and personal criticism.

It’s therefore important to keep your personal and professional lives entirely separate. Many teachers and uni lecturers don’t use social media for this reason. Obviously, it’s different if you’re working for an online business. But you still need clear lines between the personal and the professional. In fact, virtually all employers insist on that these days.

If you look at the CMP tutors’ bios: https://collegeofmediaandpublishing.co.uk/Prospectus/page/team and my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/collegeofmediaandpublishing/ you’ll notice they do not include any personal information at all.

Our tutors might mention brief personal details if they are helpful, and relevant. For instance, when I mark proofreading course assignments, I might mention that I’m an Arsenal fan and spotted three typos in their programme last week, if it was relevant … but that’s all … I wouldn’t say, for instance, that I’d taken my son to the match last week, or what we had for dinner … that would be going too far.

So it is possible to establish yourself as an expert after completing your proofreading course, and to build a convincing social media profile. It takes time - but is well worth it.

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