You want to make money writing. Specifically, you want to make money writing content. That’s EASY to do. Everyone wants content, so content buyers are everywhere.
A couple of days ago I received an email message from a content writer. The message provides a great example of what NOT to do to make money writing content.
The message offered me articles at $10 per 1,000 words. That’s OK; it takes me around an hour to write a thousand words, so the writer’s making $5 an hour. He may live somewhere where $5 goes a lot further than it does in a developed economy.
You’re wondering why I said he makes $5 an hour, and and not $10 an hour. One reason; you can’t spend every hour writing. You have to do all the housekeeping chores which surround writing: marketing, communicating with prospects by sending quotes and other material, communicating with clients, and on, and on. Chores are endless.
So the article writer – let’s call him “Jim” — is making $5 an hour.
Here are the mistakes Jim made in his unsolicited email message
I won’t share the message, because it’s not mine to share. The copyright remains with the sender.
1. He didn’t target his prospects
I don’t buy articles, so sending me and others like me (I’m assuming he sent messages to hundreds of other people who run blogs) is pointless.
2. He didn’t tell me his name
When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s common courtesy to lead with your name. (His message greeted me by name, so shouldn’t he tell me his name?)
When you’re writing to someone you don’t know, lead with your name. Hi, Prospect, my name is Jenny Smith, and I write content.
In your next sentence, explain how you heard of the person you’re writing to: I’m a (blog) reader, or I found your name on Twitter, or Fred Jones suggested I get in touch with you.
You can write anything you like as your reason for contacting the recipient. It doesn’t matter what you write. What matters is that you don’t sound like a crazed stalker, because you have a connection — no matter how slim — to the person to whom you’re writing.
3. His message is all about Jim
Here’s the structure of Jim’s message:
- His first paragraph says he’s been writing content for eight years, and mentions several content factories.
- His next paragraph tells me he’s very experienced in SEO copywriting, press release writing… etc. He offers no evidence for this experience. (A copywriter would shoot himself in the head before he wrote anything for $10 an hour, but I digress…)
- Next paragraph: his fee for his 1,000 word articles.
- Final paragraph: a bunch of links to articles at content factories.
Can you see the huge problem with this email message? It’s all about Jim. No one cares about Jim except Jim. We’ve talked about What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) — that’s a primary tenet of copywriting. When you’re promoting, it’s all about your audience, and how your offer can help them.
Jim could have made his message all about his audience and how he could help them very easily. Whoever he is, I’m sure he knows how his content writing helps his audience. He should have made his message all about that, rather than about himself.
Don’t be Jim: content writing gigs are everywhere
Jim did something right. He reached out to prospective buyers. Well done, Jim! I’m not being sarcastic at all. It takes courage to reach out to people, so Jim did that, and he deserves kudos for it.
However, please don’t be a Jim. Yes, reach out to people. But send targeted, well crafted messages, which are all about your audience.
Never, ever send out mass emails. Send personal emails, about how you can help. If Jim had given the slightest indication that he knew me and my blogs at all, by mentioning something that I’d written, he would have received a response of some kind from me. If I felt that he could write for someone I know, I’d have put him in touch.
Want to write content? You can make much more money than Jim does
Check out Article Firestorm, and our free mini course.
Article Firestorm is a complete 4-week writing workshop with videos and PDFs. Its focus going beyond articles, to content strategy.
When you sell a content strategy, rather than positioning yourself as an “article writer” your income goes up. A lot.
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