Marketing for writers is a tricky topic, because most of us hate marketing with a passion. We’re writers, why oh why do we need to be marketers too? I feel your pain, but… Here’s why: in 2014, there are millions of writers around the globe. Writing has become competitive, because there are so many people who claim to be “writers.”
Putting it bluntly: if you don’t market, others are eating your lunch.
Today, we can’t afford to stand above it all, waiting and hoping for prospective clients to get in touch. Even if you have a full order book, your clients may cut back on their business, or change their business model. Publications die. You need to market consistently.
Your blog is central to marketing, it’s your marketing hub.
Blogging’s long been a great marketing tool for writers. For example, Jesse, one of my writing students, is making over $8,000 a month from one simple marketing strategy: his blog.
Marketing for Writers: How To Turn Your Blog Into a Money Machine.
Jesse has turned his blog into a money machine. You can do it too. More on that in a moment.
Choose Your Targets: You’re Auditioning for Them.
Start by deciding for whom you want to write. If you’re just starting out, you may say you’ll write for anyone who’ll hire you. Sadly, “everyone” ends up being no one. Decide to woo your prospects, and you’ll be amazed at the results.
I’ve often talked about the magazine I wooed for nine months, before the editor finally called me. Not only did he give me an article to write, he hired me to be a regular monthly contributor. I wrote for that magazine for 15 years, through several editors.
Here’s why I was able to do that: I loved the subject matter, studied it endlessly, and always read the magazine cover to cover. Writing for them wasn’t a chore, it was a pleasure.
These days, it’s much easier to woo people. You can get in touch with anyone, with little effort. The easiest way is by doing what Jesse did: he wrote about his prospects on his blog, then he let them know he’d written about them.
Action tip: make a list of companies and publications for which you would love to write. Add prospects to the list as you come across them.
Your Blog Is Your Sales Tool. No Blog? No Problem.
If you’d like to use Jesse’s strategy, you need a blog. You can use any blog for this strategy, no matter what you’re blogging about on the blog right now. Just start a new “Hire Me” category on your blog.
One tip: if you’re blogging on a website you don’t own (that is, you haven’t registered a domain name, and don’t have a Web hosting account), keep regular backups of your blog posts. Companies get bought – viz Posterous, whose principals were hired by twitter… or they close down.
You’ve got a blog. Great. Now it’s time to make yourself memorable.
Jesse’s Experience: Make Yourself Memorable.
Even just a couple of years ago, a writer could create a blog about whatever, and you’d get a certain amount of traffic because of the RSS feed, and search engines.
That’s no longer the case. In 2014, it’s a real challenge for writers with a new blog to get traffic. It will come, but you need to put in the effort first.
As Jesse found, there’s a shortcut.
Remember wooing? In time-honored fashion, writers who are wooing clients send them query letters. They’ve done that for decades, and they do it today, although today it will be a query email. A query is a proposal. Basically it’s you saying to a company or publication… Hey, want a story about this? Or, would you like me to write about that for you?
Write for Results: Write, and Reach Out.
Jesse says: “My process is simple. I choose companies I want to write for. Then I develop a couple of blog posts about them. Before I publish a post, I send them a quick message introducing myself. If they have a blog, I comment on the blog. A few days later, I contact them to let them know about the post.”
Most companies and publications have alerts for their names, so when you write about them, they will acknowledge you. However, Jesse doesn’t stop there. Next, he sends his prospects a query (proposal), offering to write something or other for them.
Can you see how clever this is? Jesse auditions for his prospects; he writes about them. He says: “If a company has a blog, writing about them is easy. You simply respond to something that you saw on their blog. Mostly I do a review of the company, researching news reports, customers, and products. I get responses because few writers take the time to get to know the companies they want to work with.”
Everything’s Personal Today. Your Marketing Needs to Be Personal Too.
These days, everything is personal. Google tracks you around the Web. If you’re researching a product you want to buy, you’ll see ads for that product appearing on many websites you visit. Your marketing needs to be personal too.
Choose companies you’d like to work with, and write about them. Then get in touch with them to let them know, and query them – offer to write something for them. When you personalize your marketing, not only do you get to work with the companies you choose, you’ll become a lot more confident too.
Give Jesse’s process a try. It’s marketing for writers which works.
Want to make the most of new opportunities? SYWON 2 (Sell Your Writing Online Now) helps you to do that.