Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #19: The Amazing Strategy No One is Using

Carol Tice

Stand out with these tips for marketing your freelance writing business. Makealivingwriting.comWriters are always asking me if I can tell them the one, best way to market their writing.

More exactly, you’d like to know the one, easiest, low-cost, and most effective way to market your writing.

Unfortunately, I can’t.

It’s not that I don’t want to — it’s that there is no one answer to that question. Different marketing strategies work for different people.

One writer might spent three days writing every marketing email, so that strategy is ineffective for them, while another one whips out ten a day and lands tons of clients.

One writer is afraid to pick up the phone, so they only make a few cold calls. Another cranks out dozens a week and grows their business.

However…there is one strategy everyone can use, and it often works great.

To use it, you’ll have to do a little research. You need to find out:

What are all the other writers doing?

Ask around. Seriously.

You’ll need to ask a decent number of writers for this to work.

You need to know: What are they doing, and what is getting them the best results?

Maybe all the writers in your town are going to BNI meetings.

Or they all send query letters. Or do cold calling.

Talk to enough writers, and you’ll start to see a pattern on what writers in your town do for marketing.

(And no, “nothing” does not count.)

Now you’re ready to to put the amazing strategy into practice.

Have you guessed what it is?

Do something else

That’s right. The key is to zig where everyone else is zagging.

You can stand out from the pack by doing a different type of marketing.

For instance, my Other Den Mother, Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer, has done direct-mail postcard campaigns to find copywriting clients. She told me that works real well.

Yes, it’s a bit of expense. But it’s creative and unusual.

No freelancers do direct mail marketing. So you can imagine that postcard jumps right out at the marketing manager, as opposed to trying to stand out in the 100 emails they got that day.

Everyone you know sending marketing emails? Maybe you want to send yours as InMail on LinkedIn instead.

Bust a marketing move. Do something different.

You may just find the marketing strategy you need to get noticed by the prospects you’ve been dreaming of landing as clients.

Need to learn more about marketing strategy? Take a look at the e-courses in here…

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  1. Hannah Winsten

    I know this piece is a bit old now, but I hope you can offer some advice anyway! I’m a freelance writer and I’m planning to do a DM campaign to market myself, just as you advise. But I don’t know where to buy a list. I’ve looked on several list-selling sites, and I just don’t know which one is best or how to narrow down my prospects. It’s very overwhelming. Please help! Thank you!

    • Carol Tice

      I don’t believe in buying lists, Hannah. They’re usually junk. Outdated. And expensive.

      You need to develop your own prospect list. I’ve got a great Freelance Writers Den bootcamp on that, How to Get Great Clients, where we talk a lot about how to identify prospects and find out if the have the revenue to support hiring you. If you’re interested in that, get on the Den waiting list — often when I open the Den to new members, I only tell that list.

  2. Linda Hamilton

    I’d used a variety of ways to market myself. For job fairs, I obtain the names and email addresses of those people I meet and send follow-up emails with additional writing tips, then ask for a call to action if they want additional help. For employers, I personally network and follow-up with emails or calls about possible collaboration.

    The postcard idea for live networking groups sounds like a great idea. I may try that with the vendors from job fairs as well, since it is different.

    Mostly though, I use the forums through Linked In. By sharing information I gain exposure and build a reputation as an expert and have won several referrals from writers and organizations throughout the world. It’s a little different in that I don’t promote myself, I just gain clients through showing and sharing my knowledge.

    I agree finding a different approach is always best. This last time I sent a thank you to an SEO expert host following a webinar and mentioned I was a freelance writer. He responded by offering me work with his company and his clients. A different approach that worked!

    Being different is always good, it shows our creativity and resourcefulness.

  3. Heather Georgoudiou

    Great advice! I have never thought about postcard campaigns. Although it probably is a little expensive, if you are going after a niche market I imagine there could be a huge payoff. As you suggested, Linkedin has worked for me. I have contacted several editors/content managers that I have worked with in the past or just admired their work. I have gotten several gigs through that method.

    • Carol Tice

      I love using InMail, too — there’s a real novelty factor. LinkedIn says it gets a 30 percent response rate, which if you know anything about direct mail is HUGE.

      Also recently they’ve been guaranteeing results — they credit you back if you DON’T get a response. So sort of makes it a no-lose proposition.


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