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When The Wheels Fall Off Your Freelance Writing Marketing Plan

freelance writing marketing planYou may be slow to recognize when the wheels fall off your freelance writing marketing plan.

If the plan was a good one, the work coming in will start to slow gradually. Suddenly you’ll realize something’s gone wrong and it may take a while for you to realize exactly what’s happened.

It’s easy to panic, but far more productive to take some time to figure out both what happened and what you need to do to remedy the situation.

A freelance writing marketing plan fails for a variety of reasons

As you might expect, marketing plans fail for all sorts of reasons. Here are three typical ones:

  1. You stopped working the plan.
  2. The plan wasn’t as good as you thought it was.
  3. The market has changed.

We’ll look at each one individually.

You stopped working your plan

By far the most common reasons for plan failure is writers stop working their freelance writing marketing plan. I suspect it happens to most of us at least once.

Face it, there are very few freelance writers who love marketing their writing and themselves. I’m not sure why this is. I’ve recently come to believe that at least for me it’s because I don’t care enough about money! Oh I know I need it, and I enjoy having enough, but money as such doesn’t interest me much. I’m actually getting some coaching around this that’s teaching me to be much more intentional about making money. (Contact me if you’d like to know more.)

There also seems to be some connection between creativity and a dislike of the need for marketing. Sometimes it’s a notion that marketing is beneath us – if that describes you, change your perceptions. Unless you’re a trust fund baby, you need to market.

However it happens, when you stop working your plan, your plan stops working – it really is that simple. Keep it simple by avoiding excuses and taking responsibility for what happened. It’s not the end of the world, I promise.

Solution: There’s no help for it. You’ve got to get back on the proverbial marketing horse and begin doing what you need to do to bring the business in. Day after day after day. If you discover you simply won’t use the plan that was working any longer, then you have to figure something else out – create a new plan and work that one. The need to market your writing and yourself never stops, period.

Your marketing plan wasn’t as good as you thought

Usually you know pretty quickly that a marketing plan isn’t working. How do you tell? Little or no writing work is coming in.

Once in awhile, however, previous marketing or just dumb luck fools you into thinking the current lan is working well.

This can be hard to figure out – listen to your intuition, and at least keep it in mind as you look further.

Solution: Tweak your freelance writing marketing plan. Change something up. If you’re sending cold emails, try some cold calls. Or make sure you ask a question in every email subject line when you use your autoresponder. Track your responses. Updating your logos and graphics may help – sometimes a change of a single word makes all the difference.

The market has changed

Writing markets do change. We are, for example, seeing a shift from short articles in the 500 word range to what’s known as long form length, which may be as long as 2,000 words. How do I know? I see many more requests for long form posts than I did a year or so ago. Paying attention is one of the keys to noticing market shifts.

Changes in the economy also signal changes in the market for freelance writing. The better the economy, the more writing gigs are out there and the more well paying opportunities too.

You can also Google freelance writing market trends 2016 and get some interesting opinions that may inform yours. Note the addition of the year; without it you may find excellent articles on the topic written a decade ago – only useful from an historical perspective.

When trend watching don’t assume any single article or expert has it right. Read a bit more and if several or even many are saying roughly the same thing, take it seriously. It still may be wrong, so pay attention to what your own gut is saying too. Of course, a change in the market does mean you’ll need to update your freelance writing marketing plan.

Solution: Update your professional website to show you can write the new ways too. Include your ability to handle whatever is hot when you talk with clients. If you don’t have samples, create some for your website.

These approaches when a wheel comes off your freelance writing marketing plan will help you recover with some elegance and speed.

What’s have you done when business has dropped off? Tell us in comments.

Write well and often,


{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Thanks for Informative Post <3
    Influencer Marketing

  • I simply stopped writing except for my own interests. I worked for a company which allowed clients to pick and choose if they wanted the work. Generally, it was accepted, but if they said, “Sorry, someone else suits our needs better,” then the work was wasted. I tired of that, especially after three 900-word articles were refused. So currently, I work a number of other streams of income and write for them as needed. My dream job would be conservative political writing so if anyone knows of anything, please contact me. Thanks.

    • Cheryl, you might want to contact existing conservative sites/blogs/magazines directly and offer your services, for money, of course.

  • Great article but I have one observation to share:
    Savvy freelancers don’t just throw a bunch of marketing activities at the wall. Instead, create a focused marketing plan of the best techniques based on your own interests and the types of clients you are targeting. For instance, if you love shmoozing and are looking for small-business clients, in-person networking should definitely be on your list.

    • Travis, even the most focused plan can fall apart for one reason or another. In person networking is one of many approaches. A focused plan makes sense for sure.

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