Thursday, October 25, 2007

Post #34: 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

PUBLISHER NOTE: This series was started to answer questions from seminar attendees about what was going to be taught at the Freelance Writing Seminar. Details. I entitled these posts "40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career".

Freelance Writing Seminar Cancelled: Unfortunately, due to my stepfather's illness and subsequent death, the seminar was cancelled, but this series continues. FYI, you can still take a class on how to start a freelance writing career. Click here for details.

To start at the beginning of the "40 Days" series, click here. And, welcome to the blog. Now, on to today’s post . . .

Can Freelance Writing Newsletters Really Make Money from Ads?

In Post #28 and #29, we discussed how to make money interviewing experts for your newsletter (if you don't have one, this will make you think about creating one). One of the ways to do that was to, as I wrote:

. . . [monetize] on the front end: What I mean by this is, charging for ad space. Once your subscriber rate hits a certain level – and it will if you consistently publish a high-quality newsletter – you can start to take ads.
FREE E-Report: How to Make $100/Day as a Freelance Writer! Simply send in your email address and the report will be emailed to you absolutely free.

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My newsletter has just over 17,000+ subscribers and I've been approached enough by advertisers inquiring about ads that I'm considering charging for ad space starting in January.

I tell you all this to say that, considering this, I was poking around the net trying to determine what to charge. I have a figure in my head, but wanted to do some research to see how on target I was. I ran across this article, which gave me a great measuring stick by which to judge my pricing.

To get the full skinny on what to charge newsletter subscribers, check out this article as well. It will lay out some things you must consider before setting your ad rates.

Advice for Setting Ad Rates in Newsletters Targeting Freelance Writers (& Other Creative Types)

While there is great information to be found in the articles mentioned above, I just wanted to point out a few things about newsletters that target freelance writers and other creative types.

i) Freelance writing is a notoriously low-paying niche. Hence, any advertiser hoping to attract this segment must keep in mind that they are going to have to depend on volume and/or repeat advertisers to make it worth your while.

If you were a tech newsletter with 17,000 subscribers, you might be able to charge $20 per 1,000 subscribers (ie, $340 for one ad). In a freelance writing e-zine, you'd be lucky to get $5 per 1,000 subscribers (ie, $85 for an ad to the same size list).

ii) Freelancers are persnickety and "cliquey" by nature. What does this have to do with setting ad rates? Well, for one, they research a lot. So, if you are promoting a product that doesn't ring true, they will run off to a yahoo writing group to ask questions.

Eg, has anyone ever heard of "x" company? What was your experience with them? Etc. You can ruin your reputation pretty quickly with them, so don't let just anyone place an ad in your e-zine. Choose your advertisers wisely.

I know, I know, it's not your fault if an advertiser's product is crappy. BUT, you put your reputation on the line when you let them advertise in your e-zine. So, even if it means turning a potential advertiser away, it's better to do this than to ruin a reputation you've ostensibly spent a lot of time to build up.

After all, the only reason an advertiser wants to spend money with you is because your subscribers have a sense of trust in you. Don't "sell" that cheaply.

Yuwanda Black, Publisher
How to Start a Successful Freelance Career Newsletter
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