Sometimes I abosolutely despair over the confusion that seems to exist around the word marketing. Writers in particular seem cringe and often whimper that they hate marketing.
Yet you’ve simply got to market yourself and your skills if you want to make a good living as a freelance writer. There’s no way around it.
Which does not mean you have to force yourself to do a ton of stuff you hate to do.
The problem, of course is that many don’t understand what marketing is all about. Writers and other creatives often have the notion that if they market themselves they are somehow selling themselves and their craft out.
I say it’s just the opposite – if you’re not marketing yourself and your writing ability you are dishonoring both your writing skills and yourself. I believe that our purpose here in the world is to be of service to each other. I also know when I remember that everything in my life gets easier. Which brings us straight back to marketing.
The purpose of marketing is simply to get you in a position so you can to be of service with your writing skills.
Go ahead read that again: The purpose of marketing is simply to get you in a position so you can be of service with your writing skills.
You will only get hired for one reason
I can almost feel your skepticism. And almost hear you muttering “but what about the money?” It’s simple. There is only one reason in all the world why someone will pay you to write for them:
They will pay you only because they think you can solve their problem, whatever they might perceive it to be.
In a very real way, the writing you do is incidental. You’re solving a problem. Your helping them and that’s why they are willing to pay you. You’re being of service to them. As it happens the service you provide is writing. Take that in. For me it works like this: when I remember that the service I provide, the way I solve problems for others, is by writing my shoulders relax and my mood lightens. I become more creative and start having fun with what I do.
Marketing with service in mind
When I remember that it’s my job to be of service and I do that by writing, that my writing solves problems for folks, it not only becomes easier to market but becomes an imperative of my commitment to service. In a way the thought now is “how dare I NOT market my services; how dare I hide my light under that bushel basket
Lori Widmer has a nifty article called Why Marketing Isn’t All That. It’s reassuring because it breaks marketing down to simple things we mostly do pretty naturally. As she points out there marketing is really just about contacting people, pure and simple.
When you build a simple marketing plan knowing you’re offering a service to people, sure you’re able to help solve their problem, it becomes much easier, and often more effective.
Make a list
Your marketing plan can be, and probably should be, as simple as a list of people you think might benefit from your service. People who may have a problem you can solve. Then you work your way through the list, name by name, however you want to do it.
Oh sure you need a website and business cards and a presence on Linkedin etc. etc. etc. You’ll find even those become easier when you remember you’re simply offering to solve problems for folks with your writing.
Create a simple marketing plan for the next week or so, keeping service in mind. Follow it and repeat.
How do you approach marketing?