Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #20: Are You Missing This Key Ingredient?

Carol Tice

Is your freelance writing marketing missing this key ingredient? Makealivingwriting.comIf you’ve been following along in this marketing series, you know that we have covered a lot of ground.

We talked networking, cold calling, and warm emailing.

We went over query letters, partnering, referrals, social media marketing…you name it.

Maybe you’ve tried some of those things now, and it’s just not working.

No customers want to hire you.

What’s wrong?

There could be something missing.

I’ve looked at hundreds of writer websites, and reviewed scores of query letters and letters of introduction in Freelance Writers Den. Many of these marketing pitches have the same problem — they have a missing element.

See if you can spot what it is — take a look at this LOI one writer proposed sending out to a prospect that was advertising a full-time writer job. She wanted to see if they also use freelancers:

Hi there, not looking for full-time, but I have the skills you need. I’m a [city]-based freelance writer.
I could fill in the gap until you find someone. Do you use freelance writers?
So — did you spot the problem?
That’s right.

It’s got no personality

It doesn’t answer one of the most important questions every prospective client wants answered about you:
Who are you?
Clients want to know what it would be like to work with you. Are you fun-loving, a big business dork (like me), do you make jewelry in your free time?
Too many writers create marketing materials that read like a business letter from the 1960s. They’re dull as dishwater.

How to reel in the clients

As my friend Danny Iny wrote in his new manifesto Naked Marketing, marketing today is about authenticity.
It’s about revealing who you are, and what you want.
Not naked like full-frontal nudity — especially if you weigh 300 pounds — but naked as in not phony.

Be yourself

It’s what gets you hired.
Even better, if you’re really honest and genuine in your marketing, you will get exactly the type of clients you want most.
Take a look at your About page of your writer website.
Do you talk in the first person on there, right at the client?
Do you tell them some things about you that help them understand where you’re coming from, and what sort of writing you’d enjoy doing for them?
If you do that, the very people you want most — the ones who’d appreciate your sense of humor, your skills — will call you.
Contrast that letter up top with this one my writer friend James Patterson wrote to a bakery chain near him:

Dear (Cupcake Company Owners),

First of all, it’s late and I wish you guys were still open because I just got a hankerin’ for a grasshopper cupcake like you wouldn’t BELIEVE…but, alas, you closed 14 minutes ago.

Which made me think to look you guys up on Facebook…and there you are.

Let me back up for a minute. I’m a freelance writer and social media consultant. Usually I work with health and wellness companies, but I’ve been wanting to do something a little different lately, and I’ve expanded into working with some locally owned restaurants. Mom and Pop type places, no big chains. I thought about you tonight thanks to my rumbling stomach and thought I’d drop you a line.

Here’s the deal. I’m not contacting any of your competitors in the area with this same pitch. Scout’s Honor. Why? Because I think you guys have the “stuff” when it comes to marketing. I can tell. You’ve got the look, the swagger, the sass. And I only work with people who “get” it. And so I know that you know that Facebook is absolutely where it’s AT when it comes to marketing to your demographic. It’s so dang cheap when compared to everything out there, and it’s so dang effective.

But the key is to not just DO Facebook, but do it effectively. And, I love you guys and I love your cupcakes, but I’m gonna shoot straight with you: you’re not maximizing your potential on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, 800 fans is great, but you guys, with your locations and what you have to offer? You should have at LEAST 2,000 fans by now. Seriously.

I use proven Facebook techniques to help organizations build their Facebook followers and then keep them. Right now I’m working with a local hospital in our area. In just two months, they’ve gone from not even having a Facebook page to now being on the cusp of breaking the 600 mark.

I’d love to work with you guys. I think you’d be surprised how affordable it could be.

Give me a call or email me back and let’s talk about how to take your social media presence not just to the next level, but through the roof.

Hit me back.

James Patterson

Do you feel like James just pulled up a chair and had a chat with you? Did you get that he’d like to do Facebook marketing? Can you feel his naked lust for cupcakes here?
This pitch probably took a few minutes longer to write than that first one. But it slayed. Because it’s honest and real — and fun. We could all use a little bit more of that, too.
And yeah, it got him a gig.
What’s your personality, and what do you like to write? Sum it up for us below using only a couple of sentences. I dare you.

Need more marketing help? Here’s a place where you can get a bunch…

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31 Comments

  1. Adeline Yuboco

    Great points to think about, Carol. Yes, it is important to be real when it comes to the clients. I’ve also found that being candid and have a personal touch to potential clients is very helpful. But it should be balanced so that there is still a tinge of professionalism that the clients know that you mean business. This is where learning more about the people behind the company is important. You don’t need to find out the nitty gritty details. Just the basics, like what is their culture when it comes to client-contractor relationships. Clients in some countries welcome the personal approach, but there are some clients in other countries where they might see your personal approach to be “crossing the boundaries,” making all your effort counterintuitive.

  2. Terri Huggins

    I do like his ability to show personality and his informal approach. However, I’m curious as to whether or not some companies would even find something as engaging as this too long. When people don’t know you or recognize your address I feel like they spend even less time reading your email.

    Of course, if it’s just as engaged as this one, perhaps length wouldn’t be a problem.

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