If I had to pick one EASY thing which you can use to market your writing today, I’d pick freebies. “Free” sells. Everyone loves to get something for free, even me and thee. 🙂 So let’s look at some ideas which will help you to create delicious freebies.
Freebies work whether you’re selling your writing services, or are selling products like ebooks. For freelance writers who are hustling to get gigs, a freebie is the perfect introduction to your writing. For self-publishers, freebies have become so common that they no longer work as well as they did.
A freebie can be as simple as a checklist, or as over-the-top as five full-length novels which you’ve compiled into a bundle and offered as a freebie.
We’ll look at the kinds of freebies you can create in a moment. Firstly however, let’s think about value.
To market your writing effectively, your freebie must have value
Value is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but do ask yourself what the person who’s using your freebie gets out of it. Perhaps he saves time, when he uses your free template. If you’ve made your thriller novel free, the reader gets entertainment. The prospective client who downloads your white paper is getting authoritative information.
You need to know the value because it helps you to promote your freebie.
You give your freebie, you get an email address
Sometimes you’ll give away freebies in return for attention. Usually however, you give away something valuable in exchange for an email address.
There’s a difficulty with this of course. You can end up with many people on your mailing list who aren’t your target audience at all. They will never hire you to write, or buy an ebook from you. That’s OK. If you’ve heard of a “marketing funnel” you know that the funnel is very wide at the top. A friend of a friend of theirs may well hire you to write or buy an ebook one day.
Emphasize the value when you promote your freebie
Once you know your freebie’s value, write it down. It will come in handy later, when you’re creating a landing page on which to offer your freebie in exchange for an email address.
An aside: documenting your writing is an excellent habit to get into. Writers who don’t do it end up procrastinating, because every time they get back to a project they need to ask themselves… now, where was I?
Fast freebie ideas you can use today
Almost anything can be offered as a freebie. And your freebies can be simple.
Simple freebies include: a free report, a short story, a list of resources, a mind map of a process, an infographic, a brief tutorial, a slide presentation… It’s up to you. You can create a simple freebie in an hour or less.
On the other hand creating your freebie may take you many hours when you decide to create something more complex. It depends on your audience, and what you want your freebie to do. Freebies which are more complex include: tutorials, an email course, a video course, a membership group, a white paper, a package of several freebies…
Know what you’re creating, and why you’re creating it
In our Team Up program, students have a similar challenge to many marketers. They complain: “I’ve done everything I can to build my mailing list. I have a free ebook, and I’m not getting subscribers.” Alternatively they say: “I’ve got 4,000 people on my email list, and when I launched my latest ebook, only four people bought a copy.”
An unresponsive list is a common challenge.
You may think: “I’ll run a giveaway for an iPad.” You end up with a list of people who aren’t interested in your offerings. They’ll never hire you, or buy anything you create. They’re not your target audience — your funnel was too wide.
That’s fine. Everyone hits these kinds of speed bumps, and they’re a blessing. Seriously. You learn a lot from them, so they’re valuable, even though you may only realize that in retrospect. 🙂
A powerful, underused type of freebie: searching for a HOT idea
I adore a special kind of freebie: the market research freebie. Years ago, when I got an idea for a product, I’d create a blog to see if the idea had legs.
Today, I create a short nonfiction ebook, or a short story. I make the ebooks free, or offer them at 99 cents. Is the ebook selling? Then it’s worth pursuing the idea. No sales? Sadly, the idea is a dud.
Use freebies: they’re an easy form of marketing, and they help you to achieve your writing goals
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Freebies are magic. Use them often to market your writing. One day you’ll hit on an idea for a freebie which earns you a mass of subscribers and downloads. You can monetize this windfall.
Many of my students have taken freebies to heart. They get into the habit of creating freebies, then one day, a sleeper idea turns into a bestseller. Have fun creating freebies. 🙂
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