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What Advertisers Can Teach You About Marketing Your Writing: 3 Success Tips

Carol Tice

by Jennifer Carsen

Regardless of what kind of writing you specialize in, there’s a lot to be learned from the world of advertising.

After all, if you can’t get your name out there, and convince potential clients that you’re the best person for the job, it doesn’t really matter how good a writer you are.

Here are three sure-fire ways to boost demand for your work:

1. Ask “What’s In It for Me?”

This is one of the very first things new marketers are taught: Your audience doesn’t care at all about you.

They care about themselves-their desires, needs, and problems. Accordingly, your website and other marketing materials should appeal to these instincts:

Bad: “I’ve been passionate about writing since the age of 3, armed with a wide-rule notebook and a blue crayon…”

Better: “My rewrite of your home page will highlight your company’s unique strengths and bring in valuable new leads for you.”

2. Target a highly specific niche

Gerber doesn’t advertise its strained peas on the front page of the New York Times. That would require wasting a whole lot of money to get in front of millions of people who have no interest in strained peas (i.e., people who don’t have small children at home).

Instead, they target markets aimed at new parents. Similarly, you should not try to be all things to all people on your writing website.

Highlight your specialties. You may feel that this limits your potential opportunities, but it actually has the opposite effect of attracting the exact people you want to write for.

Think of it this way: If you need heart surgery, and you have the choice of a heart specialist or a generalist who does just a few heart surgeries a year, who are you going to pick?

Bad: “If you need it written, I can write it!”

Better: “I specialize in writing blog posts and feature articles in the areas of food, fitness, and travel.”

3. Spotlight your testimonials

You can talk about how great you are all day long-but what’s really compelling is when other people talk about how great you are.

It’s pretty easy to get testimonials from previous clients. Assuming they were happy with your work, all you need to do is ask.

Testimonials are most effective when they’re specific and believable, so don’t try to clean up your clients’ words too much.

Also, if you’re just starting out, don’t forget that even non-paying clients can provide you with great testimonials-maybe you did a bang-up job on the flyer for your son’s school fundraiser, or a volunteer newsletter.

Bad: “I’ve been told I have a real way with words.”

Better: “The brochure Joan wrote for us led to a 4% increase in sales last month. We were thrilled with the finished product and found her very easy to work with.”As long as you make a consistent effort to focus on your clients’ needs, and demonstrate how you can effectively meet them, you’ll always have a steady flow of work.

What do you say on your writer website about your services? Leave us a URL so we can check it out.

Jennifer Carsen is a writer, blogger, and blog consultant who helps writers and other solo professionals build a following of raving fans.