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Build Your Own Marketing

Marketing for Freelance WritersBy Lori Widmer

It doesn’t matter how many books you read or classes you take – marketing is a personal thing. What works for someone else doesn’t necessarily work for you. I like email and Twitter. Another writer may like phone and client meetings, which are both, to me, fear-inducing wastes of time. Email is super efficient, but to you it may feel impersonal, cold, and too formal.

I know writers who avoid the phone and writers who reach for it first. Some love email. Others think mailing letters and brochures works best. Know what? They all work – they just don’t all work for you.

So how do you know what marketing methods fit you best? Start with examining how you communicate now.  How do you talk with other writers, friends, clients? Are you reaching for email or the phone? Are you a people person, or are you happy being left alone?

Now let’s look at each marketing method available. You don’t have to use them all. In fact, I don’t. But think about each one and decide how, or if, it fits with who you are and what you want to accomplish:

Email. Fast, easy, accurate. That’s why I love it. If you’re drawn to email naturally, you’ll love the ability to leave a paper trail – project parameters, deadlines, and contact information.

Snail Mail. Do people still send real mail? They do. If you have a gift for presenting features and benefits in a neat, sassy package, postal mail could be your best tool.

Phone. I don’t rely on the phone much at all, but many successful freelancers use follow-up calls to seal the deal on mailed proposals or brochures. Some people do all their business on the phone.

Social Networking. I contend that every writer should engage in some form of social networking, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or other sites. Not all work for everyone. Twitter requires interaction and short, eye-catching messages. LinkedIn, the grown-up version of Facebook, is a more static site with interactive forums in which writers can shine. Also, LinkedIn allows you to reach out to colleagues and PR professionals, extending your network and work potential even further.

Face-to-face Meetings. If you live in a metropolitan area and your clients and potential clients are concentrated there, personal meetings may make sense. Just keep in mind travel time, travel costs, and by all means charge a consultation fee for the meeting to recoup lost billing time.

Events. Depending on how you are in crowds, you could go about meeting plenty of people and “soft” promoting your business – I’ve never seen a hard-sell approach work for anyone in a social setting. But attending industry events, conferences, and meetings and getting to know others in the same industry is a great way to expand your work possibilities. If nothing else you’ll gain contact information for some great story sources.

What ways can you think of to get your name in front of clients?

Lori Widmer is a Philadelphia-area freelance writer and editor with over 15 years of experience. She specializes in insurance and business topics, but can pretty much rock any project effectively. Visit her blog, Words On The Page.

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Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

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