Here’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.