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Freelance Marketing Fix: A Nurse’s Cure for Crummy Writing Clients


What’s the temperature of your freelance marketing efforts to get writing clients?

If you’re fully booked with steady work and dream clients, you’ve probably got some healthy freelance marketing habits in place.

But if you’ve got bad clients and soul-sucking work that makes you sick, what should you do?

Cry? Roll around on the floor? Binge-watch more movies and shows? Shake your fist at the sky, and shout “Whyyyy?”

You might get some temporary relief. But you won’t get better writing clients this way.

If your freelance marketing habits aren’t well, you’re at risk for contracting low rates, flaky clients, and work that leaves you feeling empty inside. And the longer you let it fester, the worse it gets.

Fortunately, there’s a cure for crummy writing clients. And I learned all about it in an unlikely way…taking care of patients as a nurse.

Want to give your freelance marketing efforts a boost to get better clients? Here’s what you need to know.

Meet the nurse-turned-copywriter Janine Kelbach

Freelance Marketing: Janine Kelbach

Janine Kelbach

Janine Kelbach is a registered nurse with more than a decade of experience taking care of patients, working with doctors, and helping people get well.

Today, she’s a nurse-turned copywriter, founder of WriteRN and co-host of The Savvy Scribe Podcast.

She’s also the author of the book: Entreprenurse: 30+ Nurses Turn Into Business Owners and Share Their Secrets to Success.


Get better copywriting clients with a nurse mindset

If you want to get better copywriting clients, think like a nurse.

Why? If you treat writing prospects or clients like patients, you’ll make a difference, build your reputation, and help clients achieve their goals. The know-like-and-trust factor works in copywriting just as well as it does in nursing. For example:

  • Patients trust nurses because they are on the frontline of care. When a  patient doesn’t feel well, it’s the nurse who is there to make things better. Nurses call the doctor to get the necessary medication while changing the patient’s bed linens, fixing their pillow, fetching a popsicle, and helping them shower.
  • Patients are vulnerable, and nurses never make them feel ashamed. They are simply there to hold their hand.

What if you treat your freelance clients and prospects like this?

You’ll get results. Trustworthiness follows you wherever you go, from personal interactions to online.

I’ve seen it happen on my own journey as a nurse writer. And I’ve helped other nurses and copywriters achieve success, solve problems, and fix content pain points for their clients.

And so can you, even if you’re not a nurse. Here’s how:

  • Be a teacher. When I write health-related articles, I think like a nurse. I present information in a patient-friendly manner, with content that’s easy to digest and understand. Know your audience, and write content with a voice and style they understand.
  • Use primary sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about health, business, technology, or something else. Primary sources demonstrate your ability to research a topic, conduct interviews, and build trust with your client and their audience. Don’t rely on “Dr. Google” to do all your research.
  • Offer insight. If you’re going to take good care of prospects and clients, know your niche. Study the trends, thought leaders, and latest news in your niche. When you reach out and engage, you’ll be able to offer unique insights that the generalist can’t.
  • Master productivity. Nurses are wired to be systematic thinkers. For example, throughout a busy shift, nurses are continually looking for ways to make their jobs more efficient. As a freelance writer, you can do the same thing. You’ll be more productive, and you’ll be able to better help your clients.

Freelance marketing fix: 5 steps to get better clients

So what’s the cure for crummy writing clients? It starts with getting your freelance marketing process right. And it’s a lot like the checklist a nurse works through with a new patient. Here are the steps:

1. Assess freelance writing prospects

It’s a lot like the intake process a nurse handles with a new patient. Give your prospect a head-to-toe evaluation. Study the website. Read the blog. Review the prospect’s social media presence. It’s a proven way to get a good picture of a prospect and find out if you’re a good fit.

2. Diagnose prospect needs

So what did you find out? Sometimes that initial assessment reveals facts about a freelance writing prospect that helps you decide to move on or prepare to send a letter of introduction. What’s the biggest problem area for this prospect that you could help them with?

3. Create a plan

What’s the treatment plan? It’s one of the first things a nurse needs to know when a new patient arrives. Think about your prospects like that.

What could you offer in terms of writing, content marketing, or planning that would help this prospect? Maybe it’s:

  • Blog posts
  • Updated sales/product page content
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Short and punchy social media posts
  • Content for a lead magnet

Think about what you could offer to help this prospect with their specific problem.

4. Take action

This is the implementation stage. You’ve done an assessment of your prospect, diagnosed their content weaknesses, and created a plan to help them. Now you’re ready take action. Reach out, connect, send a letter of introduction, get on a call, and see if you’re a match to work together.

5. Evaluate your freelance marketing process

How did it go? Nurses are always evaluating, reporting, and recording data about their patients. You should do the same thing with freelance marketing. It’s the best way to improve your pitches, connect with better clients, and land higher-paying assignments.

Sick of bad clients? Treat the problem with better freelance marketing

Nurses use this process for their client assessment, but I have learned that writers also find value in implementing a process for finding clients and creating content.  It’s the best way to move up and earn more.

Need help with freelance marketing to get better clients? Leave a comment, and let’s discuss.

Janine Kelbach is a registered nurse, the founder of WriteRN and co-host of The Savvy Scribe Podcast.

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