You’ll find everything from how to write a marketing plan for freelance writers to simple and esoteric information about branding. There are an amazing number of numbered lists aimed at helping freelance writers learn how to market their writing and themselves. Many of them, I suspect, are good and helpful articles, including the ones I write along the same lines.
Recently, however, I’ve begun to wonder if we writers need to learn anymore about marketing so much as to get brutally honest with ourselves about how we feel about marketing and what, if anything, we want to do about that.
Once you’ve learned some marketing basics, it seems to me there really are only three secrets or rules or tips to the successful marketing of your writing and yourself as a freelance writer. They are:
What kind of marketing will you actually do?
The first step to any marketing plan is to figure out what kind of marketing you’ll actually do. It doesn’t matter, for example, now effective cold calling for finding good paying writing jobs might be for you if you know in advance you simply won’t pick up the phone and make those calls.
If you’re absolutely not willing to get your website done no matter how easy or inexpensive it actually turns out to be, and even though I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot, just admit you’re not going to do it and move on to something else.
Even if you hear yourself saying over and over again how much you hate marketing, and you might want to change that kind of self-talk, I’m willing to bet there is some sort of marketing you will do. Perhaps it’s handing out business cards. Or maybe it’s writing articles for trade magazines teaching this is how to hire writers.
I do know that all sorts of marketing works. Your challenge is to find out what kind of marketing you’ll actually do.
How often will you really do it?
Once you know that you really will make phone calls, or pass out business cards, or tweet in industry-specific hashtags or write articles and trade magazines etc. etc. etc., you then have to figure out how often you’ll do that. It doesn’t work, usually, to do market only once or twice. Effective marketing gets done over and over and over again.
That doesn’t always mean daily, it might mean weekly, and it probably means at least monthly. The frequency depends on what it is and includes things like how much time of yours it takes and how often your message will be in front of potential buyers of your writing.
Rinse and repeat
Once you decide what you will do to market yourself and your writing, and how often you’ll do it start scheduling that on your calendar. If after a week or so you find you’re actually doing it as scheduled, great, continue until something changes.
If, as so often happens, you discover you’re not actually doing the marketing you promised yourself you would do it’s time to adjust. You may need to choose a different kind of marketing, and/or different schedule or some combination of both. Keep experimenting until you find yourself actually keeping to a minimal marketing schedule.
It’s worth noting that the chances are over time your marketing will need to change. That’s fine. Growing and evolving is a plus. It’s rare that a writer sticks to one kind of marketing for a lifetime or even half of one. Note too, that after awhile you may very well want to learn some new ways to market. That’s fine.
Once you figure out what you will do and how often you do it than just repeat that over and over again until it’s time to make a change.
And there you have the three secrets of marketing. I’ll bet that’s simpler than you thought it would be.
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Write well and often,