Posts Tagged ‘Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers’

Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #21: Avoid Overwhelm and Hit Your Target

Posted in Blog on June 1st, 2012 by Carol Tice – 6 Comments

Today, I want to talk about one of the biggest problems afflicting freelance writers.

I’ve imparted a boatload of marketing ideas in the course of this marketing-basics series.

But there may still be a problem.

Have you started implementing these marketing strategies yet?

Maybe only a little? Maybe…not so much?

Mm-hmm. I thought so.

To be a successful freelance marketer, you’ll need to take a few important final steps. These will get you over the hump and started doing your marketing.

1. Write a one-month marketing plan

When you think about everything you’d like to get done in your freelance writing business this year, it could make your head explode.

So I don’t advocate looking at that long of a timeframe. At least not at first.

For now, decide which of these marketing strategies appeal to you most, and are the best fit for the types of markets you plan to target.

Take a look in the mirror and think about what form of marketing sounds intriguing to you. Maybe even sounds fun. That’s what you should try first.

Choose perhaps two or three methods you will use. Maybe you’ll do in-person networking and send query letters. Or you’ll work on your writer website, find local designers to partner with, and reach out to past editors on LinkedIn.

Whatever feels doable to you and easiest.

Then, write down your realistic goals of what you can get accomplished in marketing in the next 30 days.

Your marketing plan might be three sentences, or it might be pages long. Totally depends on how you like to do these things.

That’s all.

2. Create accountability

Now that we have a plan, the question is — what will make you actually do it?

In my experience, the biggest problem freelance writers face is that there is no boss standing over us saying, “OK Carol, make sure those five query letters get out by the end of the week, or else.”

So we don’t do it.

The answer here is to find a way to create accountability. To find someone who could stand in for that boss and make you feel like, “Hey, this is expected of me. People will be disappointed if I don’t get it done.”

In other words, someone who will help you develop a sense of massive guilt if you are not marketing your writing business.

Three great ways to do this:

  • Join Freelance Writers Den. (Or get on the waiting list to join, when we’re not open.) We have a forum in there called Share Your Goals. Nothing like telling over 400 writers you’re going to do something to compel you to get off your duff.
  • Find a writer buddy. We’ve got a writer buddy match-up service in the Den, too. But you could also partner up with a writer-friend you already know. Make a date to check in at least once a week and discuss your progress. Just knowing those phone calls are coming will often be enough to make you prioritize your marketing tasks.
  • Enlist family members. If you have a supportive sibling or spouse, you might make them your accountability partner. Check in regularly just as you would with a writer buddy.

3. Analyze and change

At the end of month one, take a look at what you got done.

What felt easy? What was agony?

It will be a little early to look at actual results. Allow several months before you do that.

For now, just get a sense of whether you are getting marketing done, and how you feel about different types of marketing.

As you write your next month’s marketing plan, maybe adjust a bit to go in the direction that feels right in your gut.

Once you’re 3-6 months into marketing, it’s time to look back and reflect.

Did you get new clients? If so, were they great payers and the types of writing you really want? Which marketing efforts brought you the most clients? The best clients?

I recommend you at least analyze your marketing success annually. Doing his has saved me a boatload of time on marketing initiatives that weren’t getting me quality clients.

4. Learn more

If you go a few months and you’re not getting any results with your marketing, there may be things you could do to improve your marketing pitch.

You might learn more about how to come up with marketable story ideas, or how to write a stronger query letter or letter of introduction.

You might work on your in-person networking pitch.

But whatever you do, don’t beat your head against the wall. If something’s not working, either figure out why and get better at how you’re doing marketing, or try another method.

5. Keep marketing

It can be slow going at first.

Make a promise to yourself that you won’t get discouraged.

Remember that the single best, most empowering, and potentially career-changing thing you can do to take your writing career to the next level is to simply put one foot in front of the other, and keep marketing your business.

If this series helped you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Need more marketing help? Here’s the place where I answer your questions…




Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #20: Are You Missing This Key Ingredient?

Posted in Blog on May 25th, 2012 by Carol Tice – 31 Comments

Naked girl with sunflowerIf you’ve been following along in this marketing series, you know that we have covered a lot of ground.

We talked networking, cold calling, and warm emailing.

We went over query letters, partnering, referrals, social media marketing…you name it.

Maybe you’ve tried some of those things now, and it’s just not working.

No customers want to hire you.

What’s wrong?

There could be something missing.

I’ve looked at hundreds of writer websites, and reviewed scores of query letters and letters of introduction in Freelance Writers Den. Many of these marketing pitches have the same problem — they have a missing element.

See if you can spot what it is — take a look at this LOI one writer proposed sending out to a prospect that was advertising a full-time writer job. She wanted to see if they also use freelancers:

Hi there, not looking for full-time, but I have the skills you need. I’m a [city]-based freelance writer.
I could fill in the gap until you find someone. Do you use freelance writers?
So — did you spot the problem?
That’s right.

It’s got no personality

It doesn’t answer one of the most important questions every prospective client wants answered about you:
Who are you?
Clients want to know what it would be like to work with you. Are you fun-loving, a big business dork (like me), do you make jewelry in your free time?
Too many writers create marketing materials that read like a business letter from the 1960s. They’re dull as dishwater.

How to reel in the clients

As my friend Danny Iny wrote in his new manifesto Naked Marketing, marketing today is about authenticity.
It’s about revealing who you are, and what you want.
Not naked like full-frontal nudity — especially if you weigh 300 pounds — but naked as in not phony.

Be yourself

It’s what gets you hired.
Even better, if you’re really honest and genuine in your marketing, you will get exactly the type of clients you want most.
Take a look at your About page of your writer website.
Do you talk in the first person on there, right at the client?
Do you tell them some things about you that help them understand where you’re coming from, and what sort of writing you’d enjoy doing for them?
If you do that, the very people you want most — the ones who’d appreciate your sense of humor, your skills — will call you.
Contrast that letter up top with this one my writer friend James Patterson wrote to a bakery chain near him:

Dear (Cupcake Company Owners),

First of all, it’s late and I wish you guys were still open because I just got a hankerin’ for a grasshopper cupcake like you wouldn’t BELIEVE…but, alas, you closed 14 minutes ago.

Which made me think to look you guys up on Facebook…and there you are.

Let me back up for a minute. I’m a freelance writer and social media consultant. Usually I work with health and wellness companies, but I’ve been wanting to do something a little different lately, and I’ve expanded into working with some locally owned restaurants. Mom and Pop type places, no big chains. I thought about you tonight thanks to my rumbling stomach and thought I’d drop you a line.

Here’s the deal. I’m not contacting any of your competitors in the area with this same pitch. Scout’s Honor. Why? Because I think you guys have the “stuff” when it comes to marketing. I can tell. You’ve got the look, the swagger, the sass. And I only work with people who “get” it. And so I know that you know that Facebook is absolutely where it’s AT when it comes to marketing to your demographic. It’s so dang cheap when compared to everything out there, and it’s so dang effective.

But the key is to not just DO Facebook, but do it effectively. And, I love you guys and I love your cupcakes, but I’m gonna shoot straight with you: you’re not maximizing your potential on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, 800 fans is great, but you guys, with your locations and what you have to offer? You should have at LEAST 2,000 fans by now. Seriously.

I use proven Facebook techniques to help organizations build their Facebook followers and then keep them. Right now I’m working with a local hospital in our area. In just two months, they’ve gone from not even having a Facebook page to now being on the cusp of breaking the 600 mark.

I’d love to work with you guys. I think you’d be surprised how affordable it could be.

Give me a call or email me back and let’s talk about how to take your social media presence not just to the next level, but through the roof.

Hit me back.

James Patterson

Do you feel like James just pulled up a chair and had a chat with you? Did you get that he’d like to do Facebook marketing? Can you feel his naked lust for cupcakes here?
This pitch probably took a few minutes longer to write than that first one. But it slayed. Because it’s honest and real — and fun. We could all use a little bit more of that, too.
And yeah, it got him a gig.
What’s your personality, and what do you like to write? Sum it up for us below using only a couple of sentences. I dare you.

Need more marketing help? Here’s a place where you can get a bunch…



Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #19: The Amazing Strategy No One is Using

Posted in Blog on May 18th, 2012 by Carol Tice – 7 Comments

Writers are always asking me if I can tell them the one, best way to market their writing.

More exactly, you’d like to know the one, easiest, low-cost, and most effective way to market your writing.

Unfortunately, I can’t.

It’s not that I don’t want to — it’s that there is no one answer to that question. Different marketing strategies work for different people.

One writer might spent three days writing every marketing email, so that strategy is ineffective for them, while another one whips out ten a day and lands tons of clients.

One writer is afraid to pick up the phone, so they only make a few cold calls. Another cranks out dozens a week and grows their business.

However…there is one strategy everyone can use, and it often works great.

To use it, you’ll have to do a little research. You need to find out:

What are all the other writers doing?

Ask around. Seriously.

You’ll need to ask a decent number of writers for this to work.

You need to know: What are they doing, and what is getting them the best results?

Maybe all the writers in your town are going to BNI meetings.

Or they all send query letters. Or do cold calling.

Talk to enough writers, and you’ll start to see a pattern on what writers in your town do for marketing.

(And no, “nothing” does not count.)

Now you’re ready to to put the amazing strategy into practice.

Have you guessed what it is?

Do something else

That’s right. The key is to zig where everyone else is zagging.

You can stand out from the pack by doing a different type of marketing.

For instance, my Other Den Mother, Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer, has done direct-mail postcard campaigns to find copywriting clients. She told me that works real well.

Yes, it’s a bit of expense. But it’s creative and unusual.

No freelancers do direct mail marketing. So you can imagine that postcard jumps right out at the marketing manager, as opposed to trying to stand out in the 100 emails they got that day.

Everyone you know sending marketing emails? Maybe you want to send yours as InMail on LinkedIn instead.

Bust a marketing move. Do something different.

You may just find the marketing strategy you need to get noticed by the prospects you’ve been dreaming of landing as clients.

Need to learn more about marketing strategy? Take a look at the e-courses in here…

Baby photo: Stock.xchng – mokra

Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #18: How to Get Clients the Lazy Way

Posted in Blog on May 11th, 2012 by Carol Tice – 13 Comments

If you’ve been following along in this marketing series, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. I know I’ve laid out a lot of different strategies for marketing your writing.

I can hear you asking: Isn’t there some easier way to get freelance writing gigs?

Actually, there is.

You could get other people to do your marketing for you.

As a solopreneur, you probably can’t afford to hire a sales staff.

The good news is, you don’t have to.

The magic of partnerships

In many freelance writing projects, the writing is just one aspect of what needs to be done. Among the other skills that may be needed:

  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Website design and layout
  • Website SEO

Each of these service providers are in a good position to refer you or partner with you on a project.

I highly recommend getting to know at least a few professionals in these related niches, in case a client wants you to provide a complete package and you need to hire a visual or SEO pro.

Even better, they may do the same, and send you a client who needs writing in their project.

How to find partners

To line up marketing partners, you need to get out and do a lot of networking, to make connections with related service providers.

I’ve met designers at big networking events, and at more intimate ones. I’ve also looked them up in my local Chamber directory and taken them out to lunch.

I take a look at their samples and they do the same. If we like each others’ style, we agree to stay in touch about possible gigs. It’s just that simple.

Well-Fed Writer author Peter Bowerman likes partnering with graphic designers so much, he wrote a whole book on it — Profitable by Design.

Partnering is a proven way to grow your income — while you kick back and relax. After all, how much work is it to bring up that designer’s name next time a prospect asks if you if you could refer them to someone talented?

Right now, my husband is busier than ever with his videography business because he connected with a Website designer who’s pitching his clients that they need to add video to their sites, too.

This technique may not pay off instantly. But it’s really worthwhile to line up some partners. It can  pay off handsomely down the line, as you build those relationships and keep referring each other.

Need more marketing help? Here’s a place where you can get a bunch…