Thursday, August 30, 2007

Post #5: 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

PUBLISHER NOTE: If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know about the upcoming freelance writing seminar in October. Details.


Many have inquired about what will be discussed at the seminar. So, in order to answer your questions and to get you prepared for what to expect, I've started a series of posts entitled "40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career."

To start at the beginning, click here. And, welcome to the blog. Now, on to todays post . . .
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In yesterday’s post, we discussed how to and let go of the starving writer’s mentality so that you free yourself to target high-paying markets. The post also discussed 7 rules to follow to get the rate you want.

One of these rules was PR --- but not in the sense that you think. So, what exactly do I mean? First, let’s make the distinction between PR and advertising.

POST CONTINUED BELOW
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Want to learn exactly what to do to earn $100, $150, $200/day or more as a freelance writer, editor and/or copy editor? Inkwell Editorial's upcoming Freelance Writing Seminar will tell you how. Details. It's a career anyone who can read and write can start -- with the right information.
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Which Works Better: PR or Advertising?

PR is usually when you get free coverage from the media. Eg, a local newspaper profiles your business, you are quoted in an article, your seminar is mentioned in the local Chamber of Commerce newsletter, etc.

Advertising is what you pay for – eg, an ad in the Yellow Pages, a banner on the side of a bus, etc.

Both of these – advertising and PR – fall under the larger heading of marketing. Which one do you think works best? The answer is usually PR. When you think about it, it makes sense. When you pay for an ad, you are actively soliciting customers for your business.

BUT, when you get PR, potential customers view it as a third-party endorsement of your services. Eg, you were popular enough/successful enough/knowledgeable enough to be profiled in the community newspaper.

A combination of both methods – advertising and PR -- should be used to grow your business. But, when you are just starting out and don’t have much money, all of your marketing can be PR-related – and it can be free.

2 Ways You Can Get PR for Your Freelance Writing Services – Quickly – and for FREE!

A. Local Newspapers: As you’re about to get into the freelance writing business, this is an excellent venue to start.

You can get free coverage in your local paper in a number of ways: a) cover a neighborhood event, write up a story and send it in to the editor. Use a byline like, “Yuwanda Black is a freelance business writer. She blogs at InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com.”

Now, it may take you a few tries to get in the paper, but if it’s a local community paper – you will get coverage before long. I practically guarantee it. How do I know? I did this when I lived in New York City. I took another route, which you can use too.

b) Pitch a column to the paper: I called the local editor and pitched my small business column to her. I told her that I frequently wrote on small business issues and would like to contribute a small business column to the paper, which didn’t have one.

To my surprise, she called me back a couple of weeks later and offered to take me to lunch to discuss it.

While she did not buy my column idea – she did ask me to write a few articles for the paper, covering local events from a small business perspective.

Background Info: I wrote a small business column a few years ago called EntrepreDoer, which focused on the problems and concerns of "micropreneurs."

I self-syndicated the column, which just means that I sold it to outlets myself. The column was published by newspapers and e-zines alike, including, Greater Diversity News; The Mississippi Link; The New York Christian Times; Houston Style; Caribbean Life; and UrbanVoicesOnline.com; among others.

Lesson Here: Local newspapers are excellent sources for getting the word out about your business – and setting yourself up as an expert. Seeing your name in print week after week gives you the type of coverage and professional credibility that practically no amount of paid-for advertising can buy.

Sue Fagalde Lick, author of Freelancing for Newspapers writes, “You have more of a chance of becoming a household name via the newspaper than you do from a hundred magazine articles.” Why?

Because most community newspapers are literally starving for fresh, relevant content written in a professional, concise manner. As many publish daily and have small staffs, they rely heavily on freelancers. So, pick up the phone and call your local editor, or send them a query via email.

FYI, I hope to interview Sue in a future issue of Inkwell Editorial’s newsletter.

B. Free Case-Study Ebook: As I wrote in Post #2, explain to potential customers how you can help them increase their sales.

An excellent way to do this is to create an e-book featuring a case study as a free giveaway. Don’t have data to do a case study? Don’t worry, the study doesn’t have to be real, it can be hypothetical.

For example, I can increase your sales 15-25% by doing the following:

a) rewrite your website, which will convert more prospects into paying customers;

b) create an e-book as a free giveaway – this will do two things, eg, convert prospects into paying customers more quickly; and increase the number of subscribers who sign up to your newsletter; and

c) include a “personal” section in your newsletter, which will bond customers to you faster. Why is this important? People do business with those they know, like and trust.

Including a personal section in your newsletter will give them a window into who you are as a person. It will be so much easier to share your services with them (eg, convince them to use you) once this bond has been established.

Writing a case-study ebook and sending it to potential clients via email won’t cost you anything but time. And, the long-range benefits are immeasurable.

In addition to distributing the ebook to prospects, distribute it free to the media. Write a press release about it. Don’t know how to do this? In a future post, we’ll discuss this in the context of “Shock Marketing.”

FREE Giveaway Ebook for Freelance Writers: Click here to get a feel for what this type of ebook is all about. Its sole purpose is to get clients to use freelance writers.

These are just two things you can do to get some PR for your business. The only thing they cost is time. Doing this type of marketing consistently will bring those high-net-worth clients I wrote about yesterday.

NOTE: One thing I failed to mention yesterday is that to attract the right clients, you have to do the right kind of advertising.

Successful small business owners, the niche I target, most likely read a local newspaper and are in touch with technology and advanced marketing mediums (eg, case studies). So, reaching them via these outlets is relatively easy.

TOMORROW’S POST: In Post #6 tomorrow, we’ll discuss how to find info on your target marketing – in essence, researching them – so that you can more effectively market to them.

What do you think? If you have questions, comments or observations about this post, send them in. Email them to info [at] InkwellEditorial.com.

Sincerely,
Yuwanda (who is this person?)
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Upcoming Features in Inkwell Editorials Newsletter

September 12: Gordon Graham. We ring in the editorial season by interviewing Gordon Graham, aka that white paper guy. Gordon writes and edits white papers and case studies. He charges $90/hour just to edit a white paper and a minimum of $4,000 to produce a white paper from scratch.

Now, do you see why I had to interview him?! Most freelancers dont even dream of making this type of money. I cant wait for this interview.

Missed the latest issue of Inkwell Editorial’s freelance writing newsletter? The 8/15 issue featured an interview with B2B freelance writer, Meryl K. Evans. Want to break into this very lucrative market? Meryl's interview sheds some detailed light on how. Sign up to receive your copy to read what Meryl had to say.

Gain clients, web traffic and brand awareness. How? Let us interview you for our popular newsletter? Full details. Read the first issue here.

NOTE: As editorial is cyclical and slow during the summer, in July and August, the newsletter will be published once. In September, we go back to our twice-monthly publishing schedule. Subscribe today so you don't miss anything!
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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1 comment:

Jamie said...

Thanks for the great resources!