In There’s Only One Key To A Successful Freelance Writing Marketing Plan I said that a marketing plan could be as simple as a list. Many freelance writers think that statement is an over simplification. They expect to be told that it’s complicated to marketing themselves as a freelance writer.
But marketing yourself and your writing can be, and probably should be simple.
I find when I keep it simple I’m much more likely to do it, and that’s when I get results. Here are two simple sample plans for a week’s worth of marketing:
If you want to break into magazine writing
Magazine writing is one area many new freelance writers want to try. Here is an approach that will work if you work it:
- Pick two topics you want to write about.
- Using Writer’s Market or searching with Google, determine the two or three top paying markets for each that you think might want your articles.
- Write the one article on each topic
- Send each out on spec, making sure you state in the brief cover letter that you are sending a copy. Yes I’m suggesting simultaneous submissions. But follow all other instructions exactly.
- By the end of the week you will have sent two articles to 4-6 markets. That means multiple opportunities for editors to buy your work.
- Repeat this for four weeks. You’ll not only have gained great experience writing at least eight different articles, you’ll probably find at least on editor who either wants to buy one of your article or wants you to re-write it, or suggests you write something else.
- The chances are you’ll have one at least tentative acceptance by the end of four weeks. Note, this might take six or even eight weeks.
I’m suggesting submitting the articles on spec because you’re a beginner and don’t have many or even any real credits yet. So you let your writing demonstrate you can perform.
Once you start selling and have some magazine credits, move to writing queries and aim for even as many as one or two or more a day.
If you want to break into commercial writing
Commercial or corporate writing is pretty much any writing you’d do for a client who has a business. I can’t think of a business that doesn’t need at least some writing. Follow these steps to start marketing your writing in this area.
- If you’ve got a knowledge specialty like HR or insurance, put together a list of what you can do, with a few samples. This is your starting portfolio. Ideally you’ll have this information on a website, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t; prepare it as a paper portfolio that you can take in person and/or email.
- If you don’t have or don’t recognize specialty, put together a list of what you think you’d like to write for clients.
- Figure out two categories of businesses you want to contact – insurance, auto shops, it almost doesn’t matter. Almost every business uses some writing.
- Make a list of 25 businesses with contact info. Don’t go crazy over this part – the list of 25 businesses in your town with the phone number is really all you need. Or their address.
- Try making some cold calls. Okay, I can hear most of you screaming. I challenge you, if you haven’t tried making cold calls for at least a week, try it. Call five businesses a day for five days and you’ve contacted 25. It will get easier with the third or fourth call. All you want is a chance to introduce yourself and your writing to someone at that company who might hire you to do some writing. And if you actually do five calls a day for a week you’re likely to find this an acceptable form of marketing.
- If you can’t bring yourself to cold call then you’re stuck with email, snail mail, or walking cold into businesses from the street. Any of these can work.
- For email and snail mail locate 50 businesses and get out 10 introductory messages a day for a week. I think it works best just to be straight forward saying something like “I’m contacting you to let you know that I write great sales letters, press releases and other marketing material. I’d like to be of service to you. I’ll call you next week. Meantime, if you have any questions, give me a call.”
- Yes, I’m sneaking in a phone call for you to make – having sent the email or snail mail, with a link to your site of course, and having told them you’re calling it’s not exactly a cold call. Repeat this for say four weeks and the chances are you will have found a client or two.
- If you can’t bring yourself to call on this basis reconsider what you’re doing. You may have to send out hundreds of emails or snail mails to get a response – it can work, but it’s slow.
- I wasn’t kidding about walking into businesses. This can work well, particularly if you can work a compact area. Start at one end of a street with businesses and stop in each one.
- Plan on walking into a minimum of 10 or 15 businesses a day for a week.You arrive, with your business card and portfolio and just ask who you should talk with about doing marketing writing (or whatever your offering.) Do this for two or three weeks and you’ll probably have found a client or two.
If you want to do some other kind of writing
Marketing is roughly the same for any kind of writing. Even, for example, this blog. My goal is to reach people who are interested in becoming freelance writers. All my web marketing is based on finding people like that. SEO, Facebook, Linkedin, where I comment, etc. etc. is all aimed at building traffic here.
If you want to write fiction, you’ve got to write and submit, stories or books. The same thing is true of poetry, writing and submitting – submitting being your marketing plan.
You see, marketing yourself and your writing is pretty simple. It’s about contacting folks and one way or another, if you want to be successful, that’s what you’ve got to do. Exactly how you do it will end up being fairly unique to you, but you’ve got to find a way to do it if you want to become a successful, well-paid freelance writer.
How do you market yourself?
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