Jerry Collins 3 years, 2 months ago
3 Painless Marketing Tips for Freelance Writers
Love to write but hate having to find people willing to pay for it? Join the club. Most writers cringe at the thought of having to “hawk” their services to the masses. We’ll write stellar marketing copy and send out attention-grabbing press releases for our clients but, when it comes to doing it for ourselves, we’re our own worst clients.
You know as well as I do that few working writers who actually make a living at it can stand on the sidelines and wait for work to come to them. You must expend effort and action. But it doesn’t have to be a laborious, hand-wringing, sweaty-palm experience. To keep your writing profits flowing, try these three quick tips:
Throw out a pitch every day.
If you’re a magazine writer (or want to be), identify an editor and pitch a story idea. Tomorrow, identify another editor and pitch another story idea. Do this every day. You don’t even have to pick up the phone and speak to anyone, just send it via email. You may be surprised at how many assignments come your way by simply sending out a pitch every single day.
You can do the same thing with potential clients. Create a list of likely local clients and send out an introduction email that focuses on benefits (to THEM) of using your services. As long as you think in terms of being able to fill a need that they have, you will feel less like you’re selling yourself and more like you’re helping them overcome an obstacle.
Make top-of-the-mind connections with previous clients.
Previous clients can be a goldmine of opportunities. Nurture those relationships by sending your contacts the links to articles you think they’ll appreciate. Or simply check in from time to time to ask if they have any upcoming projects you can help writing with. You can also let them know what you’ve been working on that might be of interest to them, i.e. writing case studies that helped bring in new revenue for another client. Or you could announce your brand new press release writing and distribution service that could save them time and money. Did you notice a story on the company in the local newspaper? Be sure to email a congratulatory message. You can do this for companies you don’t know, too, as a way to introduce yourself.
Our clients are busy with many day-to-day tasks. By staying in touch and planting a few “idea seeds,” your email could end up being in the right place at the right time to capture that next project.
Keep marketing even during times when you don’t need to.
For many years I was a BIG offender of this marketing “rule” and sometimes old habits die hard. I’ll get a new project that will keep me busy for a few weeks or more. I let myself get all wrapped up in it and completely forget about doing any kind of marketing. By the time the project is winding down, I don’t have anything else lined up. Drat! Suddenly, I’m in panic mode, scrambling to find someone who needs what I have to offer NOW! A few times, this has resulted in my making some very poor project choices, or forced me to reduce my fees. Neither of these knee-jerk reactions is a step in the right direction if I want to remain a working writer.
If you have trouble remembering to market yourself during busy times like I do, put it on your daily “to do” list and don’t end the day until you can honestly check it off as completed.
The bottom line is that new clients don’t just “find you” and previous clients don’t spend their days thinking up ways to throw business your way. You’ve got to remind them that you are ready, willing and eager to work for them.
TIP: Match your marketing plan to your personality. A few years ago I wrote a book titled SPLASH Marketing for Overworked Small Business Owners. I am not including a link to it here because it’s for small business owners and I’m not trying to sell you a copy. But the whole SPLASH system that I developed and describe in the book is based on identifying marketing tactics that you are comfortable with and then capitalizing on them. If you’re comfortable in front of an audience, volunteer to give a free presentation to an association or Chamber of Commerce meeting on how to write a proposal or a sales letter (and scoop up all the work from attendees who would rather have you do it for them). If being the center of attention is not for you, use the email tactics described in the above post. The point is to choose marketing strategies that you are comfortable doing so you will use them regularly.