Today, I’m sharing an article with some great tips for freelance writers…
Successful writers share one common trait—they market themselves using very easy-to-implement tactics. Yet even as demand for writers is skyrocketing, many freelancers would rather spend their time walking the dog or washing the dishes.
“What we’ve got here is a major disconnect. Never before in the history of words has the demand for freelance writers been so high. Yet I constantly hear from copywriters, journalists, technical writers and copyeditors that ‘marketing’ is a four-letter word,” says Michael A. Stelzner, one of America’s top-paid freelance writers.
Peter Bowerman and 9 other top authors share tips to help grow a freelance writing business.
There’s plenty of work for the taking. According to a recent Junta42 study, 6 in 10 businesses are spending more for content production. The need for case studies, ebooks, newsletters, articles, websites, white papers and press releases is growing at an unprecedented rate.
For the writer who applies a few simple techniques, work is plentiful and money is good.
To land more work from higher-paying clients, Stelzner and nine other top-billing freelancers suggest the following easy-to-employ tactics:
How Ten of America’s Top Writers Keep the Money Flowing In
- Stop Billing by the Hour: “Pricing projects by a fixed fee, not by the hour, increases your chances of landing the job. Don’t say, ‘My fee to write your e-newsletter is $75 per hour.’ Say, ‘My fee to write your e-newsletter is $800.’” – Steve Slaunwhite, author of Start & Run a Copywriting Business.
- Write About Your Target Industry: “Identify some of the biggest names in your target industry. Interview a few of them, create a great article and shop it to a few major online or offline publications. The free press will help you gain exposure and be read by an audience of prospective clients. Plus, the experts will be happy to help you again in the future.” – Michael A. Stelzner, author of Writing White Papers
- Stay Top of Mind by Keeping in Touch With Clients: “It doesn’t matter how good a job you did for a client before. When even a little time has passed, if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. Pick a way to stay in touch-by phone, personal email, newsletters or social media. Doing so may even remind clients they need to get started on a project—and they’ll call you.” – Casey Hibbard, author of Stories That Sell
- Leverage Social Media Marketing: “In this age of Google and social media, your prospects are even more distracted, cynical about sales messages and rightly motivated by their own self-interest. Make your promotional content brief, attractive and to the point. Always offer significant value before asking for anything. When making a request, frame the action as a way for the prospect to get even more benefits.” – Chris Garrett, content marketer and co-author of ProBlogger
- Ask for Referrals From People You Know: “Whether or not you’re new to freelance copywriting, approaching people you already know about your freelance business, such as previous employers, is always the best place to start prospecting. These folks know and trust you. Even if they can’t hire you, they’re usually more than willing to introduce you to those who can.” – Ed Gandia, author of Stop Wishing and Start Earning
Compelling customer case studies and success stories do many things...
- Close a sale
- Land PR
- Generate leads
- Upsell to existing customers
- Train new sales reps and employees
Can we add to the list, help you keep an existing customer that is considering moving to another product or service?
And, here's the kicker. The case study would be on the customer that is thinking of leaving.
Wait, if the customer is happy enough to be featured in a case study, then why are they at risk?
Business dynamics can be complicated, and many customers don't fully realize the impact a product or service actually has.
Sometimes you have to continue proving why you're better than the competition.
Here's the scenario:
I'm currently working on a customer case study where the customer account is in jeopardy. The day-to-day person who manages the software is satisfied. In fact, the solution has helped the company make major strides in boosting its service to customers. There are even some measurable results!
But the new director of support has other ideas. He wants to switch to another product. The reasons are not 100 percent clear yet.
My client is hoping that well-documented success, summarized in a solid case study, will help convince the new director to keep the product.
So, how can we maximize this case study so it does its intended job?
Understand the objections
Try to find out as much as you can about WHY the customer is thinking of switching, though it may not be easy. The sales/account manager should be in tune to this.
Perhaps this new director doesn't fully understand how the incumbent product can perform.
Answer the objections
Once you understand the goals and motivations behind the possible switch, you can respond accordingly. Be sure that your interview collects solid evidence to address the company's concerns.
As clearly and thoroughly as possible, lay out the specific results of the product or service. Being vague here won't accomplish the goal.
A case study alone may not save a customer. Maybe the customer needs some education about functionality or capabilities they are not yet taking advantage of.
But it does give them a summarized view of success to date—something your customer may not even be aware of.
In January, we reported that corporate trust was at a 10-year low, according to the semi-annual Edelman Trust Barometer.
The mid-year news is a little better, though still not that promising.
First, why does a blog about leveraging customer stories care about trust in corporations?
Because trust is one of the most valuable outcomes of communicating your message with authentic customer stories. Prospects believe your customers much more than they believe you.
So, here's a summary of Edelman's most recent findings:
Trust in business increased – In January, just 36 percent said they trust corporations to do what is right. In July that had increased to 48 percent.
Technology is trusted most – Technology was the most trusted industry in the U.S., U.K., Germany, India and China – 5 out of 6 of the countries surveyed. In France, healthcare came first.
Customers were top stakeholders – Those surveyed named customers as the top stakeholders that CEOs should consider in their decisions, ahead of employees, investors, society, local communities and government. That's good news!
24% really distrust large, global corps – In the U.S., 24 percent distrust these companies, while 29 percent gave them a "fair" ranking, when asked how they would describe the reputation of large global businesses.
All these are just reminders that we need to keep telling positive, authentic stories about how our solutions and companies make a difference for customers and communities.
Eleven years ago, I took the plunge.
I left a salaried journalism job to become a freelance marketing copywriter.
I quickly learned that writing skills aren't all you need to be successful./p>
You have to know how to market and sell your services as well—something that doesn't come naturally to most writers.
I've learned much along the way, and am still picking up fresh tips.
That's why I'm excited to share with you details of Copywriting Success Summit 2009 – the online event for writers seeking to grow their businesses.
SO WHAT'S THIS ABOUT?
There are tons of businesses looking for good writers. Yet, most writers just don't know how to market themselves well.
Last fall, the world's leading business copywriters came together and shared their insight in a special online event called Copywriting Success Summit 2008. Hundreds of freelance writers attended and transformed their businesses. In fact, 98 percent of the attendees said they'd attend again.
This year, Copywriting Success Summit 2009 will help you fast-track your business growth, attract better leads and win higher-caliber clients-all while earning more money.
I'll be sharing what I've learned, along with many of the world's top business copywriting superstars, such as Peter Bowerman (Well-Fed Writer author), Steve Slaunwhite (Start & Run a Copywriting Business author), Michael Stelzner (Writing White Papers author), Marcia Yudkin (Persuading on Paper author), Nick Usborne (Net Words author), Chris Garrett (Problogger author), Chris Marlow (the original copywriter's coach), Pete Savage, and Ed Gandia. Together this "who's who" team of business copywriters will help you succeed using practical sales and marketing tactics.
Whether you're a "work from home" copywriter or a "moonlighter" seeking to jump into business copywriting as a career, this event is for you.
And the great news is it's a live online event you can attend from your home or office (forget about travel expenses).
Go here to learn more: http://www.copywritingsummit.com/ch/
Here's to your success!
P.S. If you act now, you'll get 40% off. There are more than a dozen original professional development sessions for freelance copywriters.
I adore airports.
Sure, they're big, busy and the source of a lot of stress and frustration at times. But they're also endlessly interesting.
I got a firsthand, daily view during three summer stints in high school and college as a passenger services aid ("wheelchair girl") at the massive Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.
Among people coming and going from every direction in the world, there were tearful family reunions, health emergencies, celebrities, weather scares, and all the usual yelling that delays induce. The drama never stopped.
That's why I'm excited to hear about a new airport storytelling project at London's Heathrow.
It's a risky, uncontrolled approach to capturing customer stories. Heathrow has hired a writer, a successful author, to spend a week in the airport collecting passenger stories.
The catch: The writer asked to be able to write about whatever he sees.
The stories will go into a book published next month, to be handed out to passengers.
It's an interesting approach. Instead of controlled customer stories to enhance public perception, the airport is pulling back the curtain to let the stories be told as they may. Pretty bold!
I still feel like the airport has veto power over what's published. They hired the writer after all.
What do you think? Smart PR move or too risky?