Go Where The Money Is: Advice for Freelance Writers By Nick Usborne
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- Write and grow rich
- Marketing your freelance business
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Articles on Freelance Writing Success
- Bob Bly
- Peter Bowerman
- Nick Usborne
- Ed Gandia
- Pete Savage
- John Riddle
- Kendy Sproul
- Clayton Makepeace
- Steve Slaunwhite
- Michael Masterson
- Chris Marlow
- Roger C. Parker
- Marcia Yudkin
- Michael Stelzner
- Brian Tracy
(Excerpted from The Well-Fed Writer: Back For Seconds; Fanove 2004). Whenever I give talks to "creative" types, I love watching the reaction when I initiate the "marketing" discussion. Dozens of sets of eyes all calculating the distance between their seats and the door. Brows furrow. Throats gulp. Teeth practically chatter. Okay, enough already. It's just not that bad. Let's establish what marketing is, and just as importantly, what it isn't. I humbly offer up my simple definition of marketing:
Successful marketing of a freelance commercial writing business is simply letting prospective clients know you're out there - on a consistent basis, in a variety of ways, and with a message they can hear through the clutter.
If you can effectively reach enough of the people who can hire you, and you do that until you have as much work as you want, and then repeat the process (with good results) whenever you don't have work, I say you're a successful marketer.
More good news: Once you're in the game, it's simply a matter of employing the same proven strategies over and over again. Simple. Not necessarily easy, but simple. And none of it is beyond the capability of any reasonably intelligent human. Now, add in the power of the Internet. This single technological marvel can so dramatically streamline and simplify your marketing efforts, it'll take your breath away.
What Marketing ISN'T
Marketing on this level isn't some arcane, wildly esoteric and obscure puzzle that only reveals itself to Harvard or Wharton graduates after exhaustive, mind-numbing research and analysis. Sure, that kind of marketing does exist, replete with al the vernacular: demographics, psychographics, market share, etc. And for all intents and purposes, it only comes into play with much larger companies, not one-person freelance shops. That's that. This is this. And ne'er the twain need ever meet. So relax.
National catastrophes notwithstanding, sales and marketing aren't things that are out of your control. In fact, there are plenty of components of the marketing process that you have complete control over, and they're more than enough to ensure your success. This is important to get, so let's say it again:
There are enough components of the marketing process that you have complete control over, and they're more than enough to ensure your success.
Do a few simple things, and do them enough, and you'll have plenty of work. And once you master the process, you can put it into action anytime and anywhere, with predictable results. You control the number of calls you make (both initial and follow-up), the number of e-mails you send and the number of postcards you mail.
Provided you're targeting the right audiences, if you do all those things regularly and consistently, you'll be successful. That's powerful stuff. Teaching-yourself-to-fish stuff.
Dare to Be Seen
As a single guy, I occasionally surf over to one of the online dating sites. The clichés there are rampant. Here are zillions of people, looking for the most important relationship of their lives, and barely one in a hundred takes the time to craft a message that is even remotely creative and original.
Virtually every ad lists such unique gems as I love moonlight walks on the beach (FYI, that's "moonlit") romantic, candlelight dinners (FYI, that's "candlelit"), snuggling in front of a fire and, my favorite one to hate, a man who's as comfortable in a tux as blue jeans just like EVERYONE else's.
I always want to ask: Do you think you'll attract the opposite sex by blending in with everything around you? That's called camouflage. People in the armed forces do this very thing when their lives depend on not being noticed or standing out in any way. If you want to be seen, you have to draw attention to yourself. As commercial writers, precious few do regular mailing, phoning or networking campaigns to elevate themselves above the din. Getting noticed isn't all that hard if you're one of the few who make the effort to stand out.
Business-Building is NOT Immodesty
I know - you hate drawing attention to yourself. That's immodest. Listen.
There's not a darned thing immodest about drawing attention to yourself when you have a legitimate, high-quality contribution to make to the marketplace - a professional offering that's in demand by every successful business under the sun. You're living in a certain place, driving a certain car, wearing certain clothes, dining at certain restaurants and vacationing in certain places because some company successfully marketed something to you. Or to the friend who made the recommendation to you. And you're probably glad it did.
By the same token, there are a lot of companies in Atlanta that are glad I made it my business to let them know I was out there in the marketplace. And they acknowledge the difference I've made every time they pick up the phone and call me for another job.
I hate to say it, but you'd better be willing to draw some attention to yourself or you'll need to find another line of work. You're not selling some Veg-o-Muncher on late-night TV. You're not some smarmy car salesman. You're a professional marketing a professional service to other professionals.
Keep Showing Up
Want to know the simple key to success in this business? Keep showing up.
Assuming you're competent, creative, and reliable, it's all about multiple impressions. The small biz folks who build thriving businesses have just kept showing up in front of their clients and prospects in a variety of ways. And kept knocking on new doors. A "last man standing" sort of thing. It's that simple. Jump in - the water's fine.
Related learning materials:
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Get your copy of Writing For the Web #1 - 7 Challenges every Writer and Copywriter faces when writing for the Web.
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