Posts Tagged ‘networking’

5 Ways Introverted Freelance Writers Can Do Painless Marketing

Posted in Blog on January 16th, 2014 by Carol Tice – 33 Comments

Shy freelance writer peers around computerBy Nillu Nasser Stelter

If you’re anything like me, one of the reasons you are a freelance writer is that you enjoy solitude.

Whether you write best in a hideaway or in a crowded cafe, you’re comfortable inside your own head.

But good writing skills and original ideas aren’t enough to make you a success in this business. You need kick-ass marketing skills, too. If you’re an introvert, you may find marketing doesn’t come easily.

You still need to do it, though.

Here’s how you can market yourself painlessly if you’re an introverted freelance writer.

1. Use social media that suits you

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn … the sheer number of social media options out there is daunting.

To do social media well, you need to update your content regularly, so why not play to your strengths?

If you’re a succinct communicator, you may take well to Twitter.

Happy to share personal information? Then Facebook may be a good fit for you.

Or if you prefer connecting in a professional capacity, try LinkedIn.

Do what comes naturally and don’t spread yourself too thin.

2. Try one-on-one, in-person queries

If you’re an introvert, you may balk at going to networking meetings. If too much interaction with strangers drains your energy, there are equally effective alternatives.

Build confidence by arranging one-on-one meetings with prospective clients where you can impress with your research and attentiveness. You may even win extra brownie points for taking the initiative.

3. Make your business cards a talking point

If you must attend a large meeting, make life easier by bringing business cards that are a cut above.

Show off your creativity by opting for handcrafted cards over standardized ones. Create a talking point by including a generous offer for first-time clients — a free consultation, perhaps — or using a memorable logo.

Stand out from the crowd on your own terms.

4. Let your website do the talking

For the introverts out there, a strong writer website can do the hard work for you in presenting your brand to the world.

On your landing page, tell prospective clients about what you offer them. Write an engaging bio, add a picture of yourself, include your contact details — you are good to go.

Hundreds of repetitive conversations saved, and you can breathe easy.

5. Choose to listen

It’s a competitive market out there, but who said we have to compete on the same terms? Allow your personality to work for you and turn your pitch upside down.

Instead of focusing on what you can offer your client, tease out their concerns with insightful questions. Then, impress them with your ability to recognize the subtle nuances of their business. Close by wowing them with your perfectly tailored solutions.

Regardless of your personality type, in a world where many are shouting “look at me,” the quiet ways you market yourself may be the most effective.

How do you play to your strengths when marketing? Tell us in the comments below.

Nillu Nasser Stelter is a fiction and freelance writer living in London, UK. She identifies as an ambivert and is married to an introvert. Learn more about Nillu at NilluNasserStelter.com.

4 Reasons Why Grammar Police Make Terrible Writers

Posted in Blog on January 5th, 2014 by Carol Tice – 151 Comments

Grammar policeman points out errors in your writingby Linda Formichelli

The other day I received this email in response to a marketing message I sent out to my subscription list:

Basic grammar forbids the use of double negatives, “…using the wrong
set of skills for the wrong job”. An authority on writing must master
the rules of writing before they can be taken seriously.

(I so wanted to let this guy know that “the wrong skills for the wrong job” is hardly a double negative, and that some of the greatest writers of all times used double negatives for emphasis — Shakespeare, anyone? But I took my own advice and hit Delete.)

And here’s a small excerpt of a 400-word comment I got a few months ago pointing out two typos in a post:

This the very first article of yours that I have read and I already have an image of you built in my mind. A harried, hair all over the place woman who rushes around to get her work done! Not very flattering, is it.

I DO NOT think that of you, but I could and all because of two little mistakes in your writing! A person’s writing is a reflection of them, is it not? Given that you are teaching writers how to make a living from this wonderful craft, is it not prudent to be as perfect in your advise as possible?

I know other professional writers get all kinds of emails pointing out their typos and grammatical errors.

So what’s the problem? People need to know when they’re wrong so they can improve, so why not be the one to let them know — right?

Wrong. Here’s why you should retire your Grammar Police badge forever.

1. Grammar Police aren’t perfect

Did you notice the mistakes in these two Grammar Police messages I received? In the first one, he put the period outside of the quote marks. (And I know he’s American, so he has no excuse.) In the second, he wrote “advise” for “advice.” (And there were many more mistakes in the rest of the 400 words he posted.

People in glass houses and all that.

If you want to criticize someone else’s writing, you better make damn sure yours is absolutely perfect. And who wants that kind of stress?

2. Grammar Police waste time

The time and energy you spend policing other people’s grammar is better spent elsewhere — like, say, writing.

I just had to look up the guy who unsubscribed from my Morning Motivations emails because of a perceived double negative, and discovered that he has a book on Amazon. A book with a flabby three-star average rating (out of five stars). And reviews calling the book “boring.”

With all the time he spent getting PO’d about my grammar, writing and sending me an email, and unsubscribing from my list, he could have improved his own writing by reading a writing blog, reading chapter of a book on the writing craft, or editing some of his own work.

I guarantee you will never see, say, Stephen King shooting off an email to a writer admonishing her for a typo. He’s too busy, you know, writing bestsellers.

3. Grammar Police have bad attitudes

I love it when people write to me and say, “You may not have noticed this, but I wanted to let you know you have a misspelled word in the title of your post.” That is constructive criticism and that writer doesn’t earn the moniker “Grammar Police.”

I think the term “Grammar Police” refers specifically to people who berate you for your grammar errors — all out of proportion to the severity of said errors. Those who tell you your writing won’t be taken seriously with typos, or who paint a picture of you as a frazzled writer who can’t cope with life.

If that’s the attitude you display to other writers, you’re going to have a hard time networking and making friends in the writing community. And we all know how important contacts are in this industry, right?

4. Grammar Police have trouble writing

People who are sticklers for grammar and who blow up over typos tend to be perfectionists who never get their writing out to the world because they’re too concerned with making it perfect — which it will never be.

When you see a writer who is über prolific, you’ll find that they make the occasional error. That’s because they don’t get hung up on getting it perfect — they get hung up on getting it done.

Also, show me someone who gets hyper about grammar and I’ll show you someone whose writing is probably stilted, businesslike, and boring. I mean, “An authority on writing must master the rules of writing before they can be taken seriously”? Snooooze.

Good writers know how and when to bend — and break — the rules. For example, sometimes purposely breaking a grammar rule adds emphasis, or makes a piece of writing more conversational and reader-friendly.

Okay — time to hang up your Grammar Police uniform for good, and instead spend your time writing, writing, writing.

Ever had a run in with the Grammar Police? Let us know what happened in the comments below.

Linda Formichelli has written for over 130 magazines, is the co-author of The Renegade Writer and blogs about writing at The Renegade Writer. Her new book is Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race and Step Into a Career You’ll Love (Carol’s link there. Appreciate your support!).

5 Ways Freelance Writers Can Earn More Without Marketing

Posted in Blog on December 5th, 2013 by Carol Tice – 19 Comments

Happy writer gets more moneyHands up, writers — who loves to do marketing and reach out to new prospects?

Yeah. I thought so.

Well, here’s a piece of good news. You can earn more without having to talk to strangers, if you have a great client or two already. Or even a medium-good one.

I even have one tip you can use if you don’t have any freelance clients yet.

There are plenty of ways freelance writers can get more money without having to find any new clients. Here are my five favorites:

1. Ask for a raise

I recently got a heartbreaking email from a writer who had been writing for a business client for 12 years at $25 an hour. She had finally figured out that wasn’t a professional rate, and wanted to know how she might now broach the topic of getting a raise.

I wanted to cry. After 12 long years, it would probably be hard to talk this client into a higher rate now. Don’t let this happen!

Don’t ever go more than a year with a client without asking for a raise, at the very least a small one. I try to set up initial contracts to expire in 90 days so that I can ask for a raise in three months.

Remember, you are learning more about that publication or business as you go. That expertise makes you more valuable. It saves your client time and money not having to train up someone new on their audience or business all over again.

As it happens, November is the best month to ask for a raise — so go for it.

2. Get introduced around

You’ve got a contact at your client…but they may not be the only person who assigns work. Ask your editor or marketing manager to introduce you to others in their organization who might need a writer, and you could hit a gusher of additional work.

If you’re writing for a magazine, ask about other editors who assign for other parts of the magazine, or for that magazine’s website. At a big magazine, there might be a half-dozen editors or more. This is how I ended up blogging three times a week for several years for Entrepreneur — I was writing for the magazine editor, but asked around and found out another editor needed a blogger.

Even if your editor doesn’t provide an introduction, reach out and introduce yourself as a current writer for the magazine.

Also, most publications are owned by a publisher with more than one title. See if you can reach out to editors at sister publications. It’s an easy entree in the door when you write a query that starts, “I write for your sister pub X and have a story idea for you…”

On the business side, even medium-sized enterprises may have multiple silos, divisions, departments, affiliates, or marketing partners. See who your contact touches who might also need a writer and ask if you could get an introduction. If your contact likes your work, they’re often happy to oblige.

3. Up-sell your client new projects

If you’ve been blogging for a business for six months or more, it’s time to analyze their marketing and find more lucrative writing assignments they need done. Look for something that would help drive more sales.

Perhaps they should launch a newsletter, or their team bios need refreshing. Or you’re writing that newsletter, but they don’t have a blog, or should add videos you could write scripts for. Or the CEO needs speeches ghostwritten.

For instance, one business-finance company I was blogging for didn’t have a free product to give its blog subscribers. So I sold them a $1,500 white paper on how to find money for your business. Win-win — a stronger signup offer for the client that grew their blog readership, and more pay for me.

4. Expand your ongoing role

Clients with regular, recurring work for you are a great situation that you want to keep growing. For instance, if you’re blogging once a week for a client, maybe it’s time for them to up their frequency now that they’ve got some readers.

Remember my Entrepreneur blog? After a while, I sold the editor a new weekly column where I blogged about business-related reality TV shows.  Presto! Another several hundred dollars a month of ongoing revenue.

5. Publish your own products

Every freelance writer should be thinking about ebook topics they could publish. A short ebook on a topic you know can provide another income stream that helps you avoid desperation and taking crummy clients. If you have a strong title, Amazon may find you some sales without a lot of effort.

I’m trying to get more into this myself — have one short ebook on writing productivity I cranked out with Linda Formichelli that’s done fairly well. And I’m working away on more, including the replacement(s) for my old Make a Living Writing ebook, which I’m splitting into three new ebooks.

How have you earned more without marketing? Leave a comment and share your technique.

The Laid-Back Method That Grows Your Freelance Business

Posted in Blog on November 27th, 2013 by Editor – 44 Comments

A freelance writer grows their business like a thriving plantBy Daryl George

Have you ever labored over writing the perfect guest post or pitch, only to be greeted by silence or rejection?

Or maybe you’ve hit a roadblock, with your freelance writing business spinning its wheels while the mud splatters in your face as you desperately try and fail to get things moving.

Guess what? There’s an easy way to solve these problems.

It’s something that’s even more important than great writing. Something more important than a strong idea, killer headlines, or a perfectly SEO’d website.

What is this secret?

It’s who you know

The power of relationships to boost personal and business success is often understated. In fact, career experts say up to 80 percent of jobs are found through personal relationships.

The benefits of relationships, however, extend far beyond a paycheck. For example, relationships with Jon Morrow and Derek Halpern have helped Carol learn more about blogging and connecting with readers.

However, for many new freelance writers, there’s still a problem: How do you go about establishing relationships with people you’ve never met before?

Thankfully, there ways to develop new relationships that will help your freelance business grow without having to make expensive investments.

Here are four easy ways for freelance writers to establish new relationships:

1. Leave comments

Commenting on other blogs is one great way to establish relationships with new people. The truth is, even the most popular of bloggers love it when people comment on their blogs and enjoy engaging with those who take the time to post thoughtful comments.

Don’t just comment for commenting’s sake, but make sure every comment is valuable and adds something to the discussion.

2. Offer help

Maybe you’re knowledgeable in WordPress, and you see a fellow blogger with a design flaw that can be easily fixed. Or you could be an SEO expert and you see someone whose content would benefit with a few minor changes.

By offering just a bit of help or advice, you can quickly form an immediate and long-lasting bond with the person you’re advising.

Of course, nobody’s telling you to offer a full package of services for free — but a few words of advice can go a long way in initiating a new relationship.

3. Be authentic

It’s easy to see when someone is trying to develop a relationship with an ulterior motive, such as just to secure a writing gig. Instead of trying to establish relationships purely to make a dollar, understand that connecting with others who share a similar experience to you is in itself a reward.

When you become authentic in your interactions, you will notice that opportunities begin to present themselves as you develop a deeper connection with your new friends.

4. Build your own community

Don’t always let someone else form a group — instead, build the community you want to be a part of. This could take the shape of a LinkedIn group, a mastermind group, or anywhere else people can engage with each other easily and quickly.

Developing new relationships can provide powerful benefits for any freelance writer. By building relationships with new people, you are developing a critical resource which can launch your freelance writing businesses to higher heights of success.

How do you network? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.

Daryl George is a writer and freelance blogger for hire who specializes in using the written word and psychology to help small- and medium-sized businesses connect with customers and increase profits. He tells his own freelance story at freelancewriterstartup.com.