Freelance Marketing Fix: A Nurse’s Cure for Crummy Writing Clients
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Freelance Marketing Cure for Bad Clients

What’s the temperature of your freelance marketing efforts to get writing clients?

If you’re fully booked with steady work and dream clients, you’ve probably got some healthy freelance marketing habits in place.

But if you’ve got bad clients and soul-sucking work that makes you sick, what should you do?

Cry? Roll around on the floor? Binge-watch more movies and shows? Shake your fist at the sky, and shout “Whyyyy?”

You might get some temporary relief. But you won’t get better writing clients this way.

If your freelance marketing habits aren’t well, you’re at risk for contracting low rates, flaky clients, and work that leaves you feeling empty inside. And the longer you let it fester, the worse it gets.

Fortunately, there’s a cure for crummy writing clients. And I learned all about it in an unlikely way…taking care of patients as a nurse.

Want to give your freelance marketing efforts a boost to get better clients? Here’s what you need to know.

Meet the nurse-turned-copywriter Janine Kelbach

Freelance Marketing: Janine Kelbach

Janine Kelbach

Janine Kelbach is a registered nurse with more than a decade of experience taking care of patients, working with doctors, and helping people get well.

Today, she’s a nurse-turned copywriter, founder of WriteRN and co-host of The Savvy Scribe Podcast.

She’s also the author of the book: Entreprenurse: 30+ Nurses Turn Into Business Owners and Share Their Secrets to Success.


Get better copywriting clients with a nurse mindset

If you want to get better copywriting clients, think like a nurse.

Why? If you treat writing prospects or clients like patients, you’ll make a difference, build your reputation, and help clients achieve their goals. The know-like-and-trust factor works in copywriting just as well as it does in nursing. For example:

  • Patients trust nurses because they are on the frontline of care. When a  patient doesn’t feel well, it’s the nurse who is there to make things better. Nurses call the doctor to get the necessary medication while changing the patient’s bed linens, fixing their pillow, fetching a popsicle, and helping them shower.
  • Patients are vulnerable, and nurses never make them feel ashamed. They are simply there to hold their hand.

What if you treat your freelance clients and prospects like this?

You’ll get results. Trustworthiness follows you wherever you go, from personal interactions to online.

I’ve seen it happen on my own journey as a nurse writer. And I’ve helped other nurses and copywriters achieve success, solve problems, and fix content pain points for their clients.

And so can you, even if you’re not a nurse. Here’s how:

  • Be a teacher. When I write health-related articles, I think like a nurse. I present information in a patient-friendly manner, with content that’s easy to digest and understand. Know your audience, and write content with a voice and style they understand.
  • Use primary sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about health, business, technology, or something else. Primary sources demonstrate your ability to research a topic, conduct interviews, and build trust with your client and their audience. Don’t rely on “Dr. Google” to do all your research.
  • Offer insight. If you’re going to take good care of prospects and clients, know your niche. Study the trends, thought leaders, and latest news in your niche. When you reach out and engage, you’ll be able to offer unique insights that the generalist can’t.
  • Master productivity. Nurses are wired to be systematic thinkers. For example, throughout a busy shift, nurses are continually looking for ways to make their jobs more efficient. As a freelance writer, you can do the same thing. You’ll be more productive, and you’ll be able to better help your clients.

Freelance marketing fix: 5 steps to get better clients

So what’s the cure for crummy writing clients? It starts with getting your freelance marketing process right. And it’s a lot like the checklist a nurse works through with a new patient. Here are the steps:

1. Assess freelance writing prospects

It’s a lot like the intake process a nurse handles with a new patient. Give your prospect a head-to-toe evaluation. Study the website. Read the blog. Review the prospect’s social media presence. It’s a proven way to get a good picture of a prospect and find out if you’re a good fit.

2. Diagnose prospect needs

So what did you find out? Sometimes that initial assessment reveals facts about a freelance writing prospect that helps you decide to move on or prepare to send a letter of introduction. What’s the biggest problem area for this prospect that you could help them with?

3. Create a plan

What’s the treatment plan? It’s one of the first things a nurse needs to know when a new patient arrives. Think about your prospects like that.

What could you offer in terms of writing, content marketing, or planning that would help this prospect? Maybe it’s:

  • Blog posts
  • Updated sales/product page content
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Short and punchy social media posts
  • Content for a lead magnet

Think about what you could offer to help this prospect with their specific problem.

4. Take action

This is the implementation stage. You’ve done an assessment of your prospect, diagnosed their content weaknesses, and created a plan to help them. Now you’re ready take action. Reach out, connect, send a letter of introduction, get on a call, and see if you’re a match to work together.

5. Evaluate your freelance marketing process

How did it go? Nurses are always evaluating, reporting, and recording data about their patients. You should do the same thing with freelance marketing. It’s the best way to improve your pitches, connect with better clients, and land higher-paying assignments.

Sick of bad clients? Treat the problem with better freelance marketing

Nurses use this process for their client assessment, but I have learned that writers also find value in implementing a process for finding clients and creating content.  It’s the best way to move up and earn more.

Need help with freelance marketing to get better clients? Leave a comment, and let’s discuss.

Janine Kelbach is a registered nurse, the founder of WriteRN and co-host of The Savvy Scribe Podcast.

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2 comments on “Freelance Marketing Fix: A Nurse’s Cure for Crummy Writing Clients

  1. Mikey on

    My advice is to not be a writer.
    Being a writer is a HORRIBLE career.

    If you need to constantly find clients, then you are likely in no man’s land of plenty of one-off assignments where you GET zero residual.

    It makes far more sense to put that labor into building your own website and creating content that can eventually create passive income.

    Most writing gigs are soul-killing and even at the high dollar amount that some copywriters promise, it still doesn’t give you any residuals.

    Do not waste your writing talent making others rich, but instead build equity into your own websites.

    You would be better off working for Walmart for a year as you build out 10 quality sites with your writing vs doing the silly freelancer hustle.

    • Carol Tice on

      Wow, sorry to hear so much negativity around freelancing, Mikey! I paid a family of five’s bills with my freelance writing for many years — and it wasn’t ‘in a no man’s land of one-off assignments,’ but through having many retainer clients.

      It’s true that most freelancing doesn’t give you residuals… but also true that building your own website to create content that makes “passive income,” will be for 99.9% of the people who try it, a complete waste of their time. Because the vast majority of blogs earn zero, ever.

      I’ve been running a blog-based business now for over a decade, and I’ll let you know when I’m kicked back on a beach and the income is PASSIVE… because I’ve been actively serving my readers, 6 days a week, all this time. Everyone else I know in online, content-driven business does the same.

      Because people pay for access to YOU. My experience is that content-based biz is HIGH touch. Anything BUT passive.

      Many dream of creating some course that runs on autopilot and they’ll be rich… but the reality is usually different. Content we create must constantly be updated, people need to be coached through it. I’m going to bet you haven’t done it, because I think the reality is quite different from the myth.

      Meanwhile… people need to eat, and pay their bills. THIS month. And for that, there is freelance writing. If you know how to do it right, and to find legit clients, it can pay very well. Keeps you off the street, while you wait for that moonshot website-based biz dream ship to come in.

      But when you’ve got your passive-income thing going, those ‘residuals’ are rolling, and you’re rich, please check back in! Would love to hear how you do it. Maybe I can get some tips. Until then, I’ll be writing in service of helping my readers claim an independent lifestyle where they control their time.


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