Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

The companion monthly ezine to the quadruple-award-winning how-to
guide, “The Well-Fed Writer.” Serving up food for thought and tasty
tips for the prospering FLCW*. Come on in, sit anywhere and bring your appetite!

*FLCW, peppered throughout the ezine, stands for “Freelance Commercial
Writer”—anyone who freelances for businesses (vs. writing magazine
articles, short stories, poetry, etc.), typically earns $50-125+ an
hour, and is the sole focus of this e-newsletter.  

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VOLUME 13, ISSUE 4 – APRIL 2014
Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002  
Read it online HERE

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2014 UPDATED EDITION OF “THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER” NOW AVAILABLE!
Check out various book AND ebook (multiple formats!) products/bundles, HERE!

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PARTNER WITH DESIGNERS FOR A LOW-EFFORT FLOW OF WRITING JOBS!
Details HERE!

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NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!
Low-cost peace of mind and guidance - HERE!
 
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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “Living This Crucial
Sales/Marketing Principle Will Make You a Better Copywriter"; "From What
Background Did You Come to Commercial Freelancing?"; “Can You Share
Some Examples of ‘Useful’ Commercial Freelancing Jargon?”; & More!

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

I. APPETIZER: IS SOCIAL MEDIA WORTH IT? ONE AUTHOR SAYS NO.
Book Review: “Social Media is Bullshit” Offers Up a Needed Reality Check

II. “FIELD” GREENS: NO USP? NO PROBLEM.
Marketing Pro Reminds: Unique Selling Proposition is Nice to Have, But Not Required

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: COLD CALLING YIELDS HOT LEADS
CA FLCW Uses His Head & Ingeniously Clever Strategy to Generate Ongoing Business   

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
FL FLCW Offers Up Unorthodox Method of Reaching Out to Dormant Clients!
TIP: Short-Length Video Screen-Capture Program is FREE and Way Cool!

  V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  
- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? Email ME.
- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!
- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

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APPETIZER: IS SOCIAL MEDIA WORTH IT? ONE AUTHOR SAYS NO.
Book Review: “Social Media is Bullshit Offers Up a Needed Reality Check

Just finished a fascinating book called, yes, “Social Media Is Bullshit,
by B.J. Mendelson. And yes, I read it because its title lined up with my
gut feeling (as opposed to lots of personal empirical evidence), and,
after all, we humans will typically seek out those sources that support
our worldviews, no? And frankly, I’m feeling just a tad vindicated

His audience is small-to-mid-sized businesses, and he builds a pretty
compelling case that, for that market segment (a huge one), SM just
isn’t worth the time, effort and resources.

No, he’s not saying SM has no value (some businesses absolutely can
benefit). Just that it’s not the “revolution” or “Second Coming” SM
“experts” portray it as, but rather, another marketing platform, and
for most businesses, not a very effective one.

With snappy prose and plenty of laughs, he underscores how these
“experts” (who, in his mind, know only marginally more about their
subject than those they’re selling to) have done a bang-up job of
intimidating many businesses—ignorant of the subject and terrified of
“falling behind” or being a “dinosaur”—into sinking huge resources
into SM, with little results beyond meaningless metrics such as
“likes” and “engagement.”
 
He debunks a number of high-profile "social media success stories,"
pointing out that, in those cases, a given campaign simply had a
social media component, but that the power of that success was driven
by, 1) large infusions of marketing dollars (something smaller
businesses simply can’t afford to do), and 2) some BIG traditional
media coverage.

Hard to refute is his evoking of the undisputed “1 Percent Rule”
(originally credited to Will Hill of AT&T, who called the phenomenon
“Participation Inequality”). It says that, at any given time, just 1%
of those on the Internet account for almost all of the action
(commenting, contributing, etc.)

As such, how much “community” and “engagement” really exists on the
Internet, and most importantly, is it really worth investing the time,
energy and resources in trying to reach that tiny group?

Despite its flaws (his publisher should have spent more on
editing/proofreading), the book quite effectively has you view the
whole SM arena from 30,000 feet, getting you to understand the
motivations, interests and agendas of the people promoting it.

Regardless of your feelings/experiences with social media (even if
you’re a BIG fan), it’s absolutely worth a read. Since, we commercial
freelancers deal with clients of all sizes—most of whom are engaging
with SM to some extent—we owe it to ourselves and them, to explore all
sides of an issue, so we can offer meaningful counsel. Let’s eat!  

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: NO USP? NO PROBLEM.
Marketing Pro Reminds: Unique Selling Proposition is Nice to Have, But Not Required

Yet another “Marketing Minute” pearl from copywriting/marketing pro
and author Marcia Yudkin. I’ve been a big proponent of USPs, but as she
accurately points out, it’s not mandatory. Marcia’s weekly MM’s literally
take a minute to get through and always offers good value. Subscribe HERE.

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“Every business needs a USP - unique selling proposition.”

Thousands of marketing consultants espouse this principle, that to
build market share and survive, you must tell the world how you’re
valuably different from everyone else.

If you do have such an advantage, make the most of it. But if you get
stuck on how to create a one-and-only advantage, don’t agonize about
the “unique” part of this doctrine.

Plenty of companies do just fine without any unique angle.

Think of the corner bar, cafe or pizza place that serves tasty fare in
a clean, friendly environment. Nothing one-of-a-kind there.

Likewise for a smart, capable consultant or attorney who has two
decades of strong relationships in an industry. Uniqueness isn’t
needed for his or her success.

State clearly what you offer. Explain why people should trust you.
Promise and deliver unmistakable value to customers. From where I sit,
those are the fundamentals.

Uniqueness can help you gain attention, especially when you’re
starting out or seeking investors. But it’s not the primordial essence
of marketing effectiveness.

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Got wanderlust? Use this coupon before April 20 to get $10 off
Marcia's new course on learning to run your business from anywhere!


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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: COLD CALLING YIELDS HOT LEADS
CO FLCW Uses His Head & Ingeniously Clever Strategy to Generate Ongoing Business   

Paonia, CO FLCW Angus Stocking sent me this great piece from a
few years back about building a thriving commercial writing career on
the foundation a ton of past industry experience (in his case, surveying –
a.k.a.“infrastructure”). It’s cool to see his thought process as he
uncovered an untapped opportunity, offering up ideas that other
industry-specific writers can easily replicate. Check out his blog HERE.

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Some year back, I shook up my life and moved to a small town in
Colorado to make a living playing with words. And have NO BOSS.
Peter’s book was inspiring and, having been a project manager at an
engineering firm, I wasn’t afraid of making phone calls. Since my new
smaller market didn’t have a lot of local business, I needed a
strategy that didn’t require in-person follow-up meetings. Here’s what
I did…

I’m a licensed land surveyor, with nearly 20 years experience. So land
surveying—and, more generally, civil engineering and
infrastructure—was my logical niche. I do take on other work, but 80
percent of my income comes from this niche.

In addition to having a solid niche (TONS of money in infrastructure)
I knew a lot about, I also had a small portfolio. I’d been publishing
the occasional article in survey magazines for years. I got paid, but
more importantly, I had the bylines.

So, to generate a list of cold calling prospects, I wrote a script and
called every advertiser in one issue of “Professional Surveyor,” the
trade journal in which I’d been advertising. I could tell them I wrote
regularly for a magazine they advertised in and that I had deep work
experience in the industry in which they were marketing.

I figured everyone advertising had a reasonable marketing budget and
could use a writer who was an expert in their industry, even if he
didn’t have a lot of writing experience. Not to mention this: trade journals
often offer advertisers the opportunity to place articles that feature
the advertiser’s product.

Here’s how it works: the advertiser is invited to submit an article
(one to four pages, with images) that amounts to a case study. It’s
free, highly credible, golden promotion. Compare that to a
quarter-page ad—expensive, not as credible, and easy to miss.

Surprisingly, many advertisers weren't taking advantage of these
offers, so I worked that into my cold-calling script, pointing out that
what they’d pay me to conduct interviews and write the article would
be trivial compared to the cost of a multi-page ad. AND they could use
the resulting case study on their website and in their own advertising.

My calling stats? One solid lead for every ten calls I made, and an
actual project (maybe a small one) for every 25. So, 100 calls would
yield four clients and ten strong leads. I made 50-100 calls a week.
You do the math.

My system for following up on interest began as a paper list, then a
spreadsheet, and finally, a personal organizer called “Things” (based
on David Allen’s Getting Things Done). I have locked in a LOT of
clients on the fourth or fifth email or phone call.

I soon built up a good clientele that regularly used my case studies
as magazine articles and as sales collateral. And that’s now the bulk
of my successful writing business.

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
FL FLCW Offers Up Unorthodox Method of Reaching Out to Dormant Clients!
TIP: Short-Length Video Screen-Capture Program is FREE and Way Cool!

Got this unusual strategy for reconnecting with dormant clients from
Gainesville, FL FLCW Jean Feingold. Might not be everyone’s cup of
tea, and it won’t always work, but it HAS worked, so you can’t argue
with success. After that, I offer up a nifty little FREE screen-capture
(photo/video) program. Enjoy!

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Here’s a strategy I’ve used with some success when a long-time client
disappears. After a few months without hearing from them, I send a
friendly email inquiring about the contact person’s well-being and
offering to provide my writing services again. I follow up with
similar emails twice, each about two to three months apart.

If there is still no reply, as a last-ditch effort, I send an apology
(and no request for work). I tell them it appears I have somehow
offended them and I am so sorry. Sure, there are any number of reasons
clients don’t respond, but I’m talking about people with whom I’ve
done regular business over several years who have disappeared and
stopped replying to my emails (i.e., unusual for those kinds of clients).
 
Doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does (and often enough to make
it worth doing when necessary). In one case, the client replied that
her company no longer handled that account. I contacted someone who
knew which company was doing the job, and they provided me contact
info for the new person. I got the account back and am still handling
it several years later—and at a higher rate than the original client paid.

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Just downloaded Jing, a nifty little (and yes, FREE) program for doing
photo/video captures of your computer's screen (whatever you're looking at),
and for lengths of up to five minutes. I used it yesterday when I sent
back a couple pages of edited copy to one of my clients.

I captured a video of her original copy, pointing out words, phrases
and lines that I wasn't crazy about (and why) and told her to check
out my replacement copy that accompanied the email. Once the video was
done (~2:45), I did a one-click upload to a second program
(screencast.com), where I’d previously opened an account as part of
the registration process with Jing.

Once there, I just grabbed the URL link to the video, dropped it into
my email to the client, attached the revised copy in a Word doc and I
was good to go. Client loved the clarification the video provided, and
I can see multiple applications down the line. It’s fun, easy to use,
and makes you look pretty darn “leading-edge.”  

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  
- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? Email ME.
- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!
- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

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MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!
That’s not hype. It’s how my business has worked for the better part
of 18 years, thanks to some juicy partnerships with graphic designers.
The result? 1-2 jobs virtually every month with little or no effort on
my part. And I put all the how-to details down on paper. Check it out HERE!

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GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
While my call for submissions netted a TON of stuff a few months back,
I’m still a bit lean on success stories. Whether starting out or
experienced, if you recently had a noteworthy success (i.e., landed a
new client—perhaps in an unusual way—a new gig, new work from an old
client, or anything else that has a good lesson for your fellow
FLCW’s), send it on to ME.
100-300 words is great.     

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I’M SERIOUSLY LOW ON ALL WELL-FED E-PUB COURSES!
Got a great strategy, approach or specific expertise you’re willing to
share? Turn it into a Feature (MAIN COURSE) for the EPUB (500-600
words; query first). ALSO, send your “GREENS” (200-400 words), TIPS
(100-200) and SUCCESS STORIES (150-300) to me HERE.
View archived issues HERE

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’!

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AWAI COPYWRITING (& OTHER) COURSES: Register Here, Get Your Choice of
Bonus CD Program! Six-Figure Copywriting, Graphic Design, Internet
Writing, Fundraising, Health Market and more!

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HOW CAN MY MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?
For details and testimonials, visit HERE.

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