As the old saying goes, “it pays to advertise.” Unfortunately, paid advertising is fraught with challenges for writers, just as it is for most small business owners.
You can waste a lot of money before you discover what works for you.
Reasons writers have problems with paid advertising include:
- Failing to differentiate their offerings from those of other writers (that is, they omit to define exactly what they’re selling, and to whom);
- Advertising in unsuitable venues for their offerings (a business blogger advertises on Facebook, rather than LinkedIn, for example);
- A lack of copywriting skills (primarily a focus on “me, me, me” rather than on the buyers’ needs);
Paid advertising: is it essential?
Paying for advertising is the last things writers who are broke want to do. It’s also difficult for writers who have money to invest in promotion.
I’m sure you’re wondering: if paid advertising is such a challenge, why bother?
The big reason: you want to make a good living from your words, rather than eat noodles every day. Competition is hot no matter what kind of writing you do.
Competing on price doesn’t work; your competition comes from all over the globe, so someone is always willing to price their services or books lower than you are.
The good news: paid advertising will make you a better writer
So, we’ve got the bad news out of the way.
Now the good news: not only does paid advertising increase your income, it will help you to become a better writer too. You’ll get lessons in writing for an audience and marketing which you can get in no other way.
The following tips will help you to get started.
1. Pick one: decide what you’ll sell, how you’ll sell it (venue), and who you’re targeting
What are you selling? Choose ONE writing service you offer, or one book which you want to promote.
Avoid an “everything” mindset. Yes, you want to sell more than one of your services, and one of your books… But start with just one, because the more narrowly you can target your potential buyers/ clients/ readers the better.
Next decide on an advertising venue. Again, just choose one. You have many options: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, AMS (Amazon books), LinkedIn… Ensure that your buyers are on that venue. Are other writers advertising there?
2. It’s all about the benefits: forget yourself. Focus on what your buyers want
Familiarize yourself with the various types of ads your advertising venue offers. Pay attention to any prohibitions. Facebook for example, used to have a rule that a text overlay could cover no more than 20% of an image.
Next, make a list of the benefits buyers gain from buying your writing service, book, or whatever it is you’re selling. Promote those benefits.
3. Start with baby steps: set a small monthly and daily budget
It’s easy to go over your advertising budget. So, before you create any ads, think about how much you can afford to spend.
Many businesses spend 20% to 30% of their gross income on marketing. Advertising is a business expense, so keep careful records of how much you’re spending and where, for your accountant.
Paid advertising can take you to the next level in your writing career
We’ll spend more time discussing paid advertising this year, because it’s becoming increasingly important for all writers, and it’s confusing to most. We’ll try to make sense of the insanity. 🙂
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