You’re writing to sell, and we’re in a golden age for writers. Whether you’re a new writer or an experienced pro, you can make a living from your words today.
That said, the world is swamped with writers, so much so that writing has become a commodity.
Your goal must be to stand out from the crowd, so that you can make a great living from your writing. That means that you need to do what other writers fail to do, so that you stand out from the crowd and offer more.
Writing to sell: beware of commodity writing — get creative and innovative
Each and every week, I receive messages from writers who can’t get the well-paid writing jobs they want, so they’re under-employed. Other writers take low-priced gigs, and don’t know how to get out from the trap of tapping their fingers to the bone for a pittance.
While I surely don’t have all the answers, I do know this… You need to differentiate yourself from the writing-commodity crowd on the freelance marketplaces.
Not only do you need to be more productive, you also need to be creative and innovative.
Although our tips are primarily for freelance writers looking for gigs, you can use these principles no matter what kind of writing you’re doing — if you’re a self-publishing author, for example.
1. Think creatively: get more gigs from current clients, and pitch prospective high-value clients
I’ve never coached a writer who wasn’t leaving money on the table.
Here’s what happens.
- The writer gets a gig, and…
- Completes the gig, then…
- Hunts for another gig.
Ouch. Please be aware that it’s much, much, more difficult to constantly hunt for gigs from new clients, than it is to do more for your current and past clients.
Start paying attention:
- Learn as much as you can about your current clients;
- Ask each client for a referral, and a testimonial. Don’t be shy about writing the testimonial yourself, and getting the client to sign off on it. Clients are busy, as you are. Make things as easy and simple for them as you can;
- Read the business press in your city, state, and country. Look for businesses getting press for whatever reason, and target them with pitches.
LinkedIn is your friend. Use it to find clients who are a level above your current stable of clients.
2. Know more: research and study to offer more to your clients
What are you learning?
Every year, commit to learning something new. That might be a new area of writing — copywriting, blogging, whatever. It may also mean learning apps which can help you. Photoshop, for example, if you’re doing (or would like to do) social media for your clients.
It might mean learning video blogging, or diving into Excel, so that you can help clients to target their advertising.
When you know more, you have more options. Knowledge truly is power.
3. Climb out of commodity hell: sell truffles, not potatoes
Selling potatoes is writing web content. Selling truffles is creating promotional campaigns for your clients which combine content and advertising.
Start to focus on what your clients want from their projects. Then expand your offerings, so that you can help your clients to succeed. When they succeed, you do too.
4. Pitch: speak at local business gatherings
I’ve spent years on this blog, suggesting that the best gigs are never advertised.
Hustle. Call local business organizations, and offer to talk to them about SEO, or social media, or Facebook advertising — or anything at all, that you can do.
You have expertise. Flaunt it. (If you don’t have it yet, get it. Then flaunt it.)
Write press releases.
When you combine a campaign of local speaking engagements and press releases, your income will rise. One writer was shocked when she asked for — and got — three times her usual fee for a project.
To repeat, the best gigs are never advertised. You can get them.
5. Your current-client goldmine: creatively upsell them
Upselling is so simple that I’m constantly amazed at the writers who never do this.
Consider that if you’re helping a business with its website, they’re probably sending out mailings to their customers once a week, or even once a day.
Create a mind map for each writing service that you provide. Now consider how you could upsell each client. You’ll often do this with another writing service you’re providing.
For example, let’s say that a client hires you to write an ebook. You could upsell the client by offering blog posts, autoresponder sequences, affiliate mailings…
Get creative. See the forest, rather than the trees. Your clients have needs beyond the current project you’re writing. You’ll increase your income exponentially when you help them to build their businesses by upselling them.
Writing to sell: daily creativity builds your income
Do this simple exercise. Pick a current or a recent client.
Think about the project they hired you for, and brainstorm five upsells you can offer.
Now pitch the upsells, immediately.
Tomorrow, pick another client, and upsell him.
Onward… happy writing. 🙂
Publicity And Marketing Magic For Writers: How To Build Your Writing Platform And Sell More Every Day
Write, and publish, and promote your writing... You can change your life as a writer in an hour, when you discover the art of publicity and platform.More info →
In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.More info →
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
Resources to build your writing career
Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.