The Missing Link That Will Explode Your Writing Income

Carol Tice

The Missing Link That Will Explode Your Freelance Writing Income. Makealivingwriting.comHere’s an experiment I want freelance writers to try: Go into any independently owned retail shop in your town. Find the owner, and ask them, “What are you doing to market your business?”

Most likely, they will rattle off a long list of things — they place Yellow pages ads, buy Google Adwords, send out postcards or an email newsletter, put on events, have sales, go to networking events, use a Facebook fan page, and so on.

If they said, “I don’t really do anything to market my business. I just sit here on a stool behind the counter and hope customers come in,” you’d laugh, wouldn’t you? That would be ridiculous! Nobody expects their business to happen without marketing.

Or do they?

So often, when I talk to writers in my mentoring program, or just freelance writers I’m chatting on Twitter or on this blog with, and I ask them, “What are you doing to market your writing?” a typical answer is, “I’m not doing anything, really.”

And then writers wonder why they’re not earning as much as they’d like.

Here’s the missing link to ramp up your earnings: You need to market your business.

I don’t mean doing one thing a year, either. Good marketing plans are multi-faceted, consistent, and done on a regular basis. Personally, I use social media, my website, and in-person networking as my primary marketing methods right now. I promote the business of helping writers earn more — what I’m up to on this blog — through social media, including Facebook ads.

This is the reality of life as a freelance writer: Marketing is how you find good clients. Crappy clients you can get by answering job ads

When you do no marketing, there’s a missing link that’s keeping you from connecting with well-paid clients.

Marketing helps top-drawer clients discover you. I’m thinking here of optimizing your website for key words that help you get found.

Why do writers skip marketing?

Two reasons, I think:

1) Many writers are shy about blowing their own horn.

2) There’s a myth out there that freelance writing is a no-cost business, once you’ve got a computer and a ream of printer paper. It’s not expensive, but it does have costs, if you really want it to succeed.

I think that goes double for writers who’re trying to earn from a blog. The popular belief seems to be it should happen by magic. But in my experience, there’s plenty of work involved learning how to create a blog that will keep readers once you lure them to the site…with your marketing.

No matter what kind of writing you’re doing, unless you have an employer handing you a paycheck, there is no escaping the need to market your writing business.

Really, you’re not any different from that shopowner. If you want to move your writing business to the next level, you’ll need to invest — your time, your money, and your creativity — in a marketing effort.

What are you doing to market your writing business in 2011? Leave a comment and tell us your strategy.

19 Comments

  1. Di Mace

    Great post – and you’re right Carol, without marketing you can’t get great clients. I think another reason that writers skip marketing is because it requires consistent work – and at times can feel like ‘chinese water torture’ – drip, drip, drip – to get a result. That can be very tiring and draining for some. But keep at it, it will eventually pay off.
    My main activity this year is across my website, blog, email newsletters, networking and LinkedIn. Look at how your writing business is made up, where your strengths and focus are and work like crazy on those.
    Marketing isn’t mysterious, and it’s not difficult to understand the essentials, but it does take work to get results. You can’t just do one thing as you say and expect work to flow in. The plan needs to be integrated, across multiple platforms and all coordinated – aimed at your target and end goal.

    • Carol Tice

      I couldn’t agree more, Di.

      I think many writers can’t get their earnings going because they dabble in marketing — they try something once, then another thing once, and so on, not realizing it has to be a consistent effort over many months to expect a good result.

      In an earlier post, I discussed one of my marketing techniques — I look at full-time job ads and if I see a publication and I’m a great fit for, I ‘apply’ just to ask, “Hey, do you also use freelancers?” I had a reader comment, “Oh, I tried that once but it didn’t work.” I did it probably 30 or so times and found a good new client. That’s the kind of marketing commitment it takes to make it today.

    • Di Mace

      Ha ha…yes. Just last week I picked up a set of newsletters sent out quarterly across a variety of fields/industries that very same way! The publisher was based in another state and I sent and query asking did they have any clients based here (Sydney, Australia) that I could perhaps help them with by freelance work. And bingo. New client, well paid, regular and predictable. Just what we all love.

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