Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

The companion monthly ezine to the quadruple-award-winning how-to guide, “The Well-Fed Writer” (http://www.wellfedwriter.com). 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 11, ISSUE 8 – AUGUST 2012

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/aug2012.html

 

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

Details here: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!

Low-cost peace of mind and guidance: http://wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

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“THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER BLOG” IS NOW LIVE!!

Long overdue, but finally up and running. To weigh on the welcome post and subscribe, visit http://www.wellfedsp.com/blog

 

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MISSED THE COLD-CALLING TELESEMINAR WITH WENDY WEISS?

Mp3 + 38-pg. transcript - $25! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/coldcallingteleseminar.shtml

 

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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “Striking a Balance Between a Serious Writing Business and a Generous Spirit?”; “Are Long-Term, On-Site Gigs (Even in Hawaii!) Worth It?” and more! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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I NEED YOUR SHORT (100-200 words) SUCCESS STORIES for the E-PUB!

Landed a great client? Had a successful marketing campaign? Done something else that boosted your FLCW income? Send them to peter@wellfedwriter.com. 

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. APPETIZER: ATTENTION EX-JOURNOS TRANSITIONING TO FLCW’ing

Former Journo Says Commercial Work is “Cleaner” than Journalism!

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: SKIPPED THIS MONTH DUE TO OVERSIZE MAIN COURSE! 

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: THE ABC’s OF EMAIL PROSPECTING

Toronto FLCW/Copywriting Guru Compares Both Good and Bad Examples!

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

FLCW Far Exceeds Mid-Year Goal – Sets His Income Sights Even Higher!

TIP: Chicago FLCW Serves Up the How-To on the “Double-Monitor” Strategy! 

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!

- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I. APPETIZER: ATTENTION EX-JOURNOS TRANSITIONING TO FLCW’ing

Former Journo Says Commercial Work is “Cleaner” than Journalism!

 

Got a cool note from a FLCW recently, who wrote: 

 

“Peter: Loved your book. As a former journalist, you helped me sever from that preconceived notion of ‘dirty writing’ in the commercial world. Come to think of it, writing about murder, prostitutes and other newspaper-related material is pretty dirty work, and, in the end, those stories are written to sell the newspaper. In reality, freelance commercial work is a whole lot cleaner.”

 

Well. THAT’S a refreshing change of pace. Usually, I’m dealing with current or ex-journalists who just can’t shake the notion of the “subjective” nature of commercial writing (i.e., in many cases, you’re “writing to sell” and company’s product/service, or, at the very least, painting it in the best possible light). Versus its – ahem – purer, more high-born, and certainly more objective cousin: journalism.

 

Okay, so that’s a bit snarky, but in this polarized day and age of ours, the phrase “objective journalism” is rapidly approaching the level of oxymoron. And as our friend above notes, journalism is selling something as well – the newspaper itself.

 

For those hailing from the Fourth Estate who still struggle with this, who still believe that being a FLCW is tantamount to going over to the dark side, consider this: Writing effective marketing copy (whether a brochure, ad, direct mail piece, white paper or case study, for starters…) is nothing more than helping to put your client’s best foot forward.

 

It’s about figuring out what makes their product or service special, and crafting materials that reflect those conclusions. It’s not about lying, stretching the truth, wildly embellishing or any other similar nefarious tinkering.

 

In 19+ years of doing this, I’ve never been asked to write something untrue or grossly exaggerated. To be sure, I’m not encouraged (in the interest of objectivity) to include all the downsides of the product or service, but hey, newsflash (as noted in my book): marketing copywriting isn’t journalism; it’s not supposed to objective. Precious few things are objective these days, but what we do never claims to be.

 

I choose to see what we do as a pretty worthwhile (and arguably, noble) endeavor: helping decent and legitimate businesses – both established and struggling to be so – powerfully articulate what makes them special in the marketplace. Let’s eat! 

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: SKIPPED THIS MONTH DUE TO OVERSIZE MAIN COURSE! 

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: THE ABC’s OF EMAIL PROSPECTING

Toronto FLCW/Copywriting Guru Compares Both Good and Bad Examples!

 

Got this great piece from Canadian FLCW and copywriting guru Steve Slaunwhite (http://www.forcopywritersonly.com/) about crafting an effective email pitch to a prospect. While it’s not hard to get this wrong, it’s easy to get it right as well. Enjoy!

 

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I received an email a few weeks ago from a representative of a PR consulting firm. He was obviously trying to solicit my business. But instead of sending me a “real” email message, he instead cut and pasted this awful, “salesy” form letter that he has probably used a hundred times before.

 

It began with “Dear sir,” because he didn’t know my name. It made some vague reference to having visited my website, although it was doubtful that he did.

 

His email then proceeded to pitch me on scheduling a free consulting session with his firm, which I had better book right away because “There are only a few spots available.” I felt spammed. And, in fact, I was.

 

The only reason why I didn’t push the delete button is that I wanted to keep his prospecting email as an example of what NOT to do!

 

Now, in fairness to him, his firm may very well provide an excellent service. Maybe I should be speaking to him. But his email did nothing to convince me of that.

 

So how do you write an EFFECTIVE prospecting email? One that actually makes a good impression and really works?

 

This is a case where showing you is better than instructing you. Here’s an example of a prospecting email that, in my opinion, is well done.

 

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Subject line: Getting your case studies done

 

Hi Mark, I’ve been meaning to contact you.

 

Because I do so much work with companies in the enterprise software industry, I’ve come across your company’s website on several occasions. And, recently, I noticed that you’ve begun to use case studies in your marcom mix.

 

Do you find it time-consuming to develop this type of collateral?

 

I ask because I create case studies for clients like Hewlett-Packard and Sage. On average, I save them 10-15 hours per project - compared to doing the work themselves, in-house.

 

I’m not sure if saving time, in regards to case studies, is an issue for you. But if it is, I’d be happy to send you an example of a recent case study I wrote, along with a general idea of my turnaround times and pricing.

 

Just let me know and I’ll email you that information right away.

 

All the best,

 

Robin Chadha

Copywriter & Consultant

 

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Now, this prospecting email is far from perfect. There are all kinds of ways it can be improved. But it works. Why?

 

1) IT’S NOT A TEMPLATE. Robin composed this message specifically for the prospect she was targeting. She thought about how best to introduce herself to this person, and then wrote the email accordingly.

 

2) ROBIN OBVIOUSLY TOOK THE TIME TO LEARN A FEW THINGS ABOUT THE PROSPECT’S COMPANY. She discovered that they’re using case studies more often and, since they only have one marketing manager (Mark), she speculated that the time required to develop case studies was becoming an issue.

 

3) SHE ESTABLISHED A CONNECTION. Everyone is suspicious of an email from a complete stranger. So Robin reminded the prospect that she’s done work for several other clients in his industry. That makes her part of his industry. A colleague.

 

4) SHE DIDN’T TRY TO LAND A PROJECT, OR EVEN A MEETING, WITH THIS FIRST INTRODUCTION. She simply offered to email more information on her services, turnaround times, and pricing. If I were a marketing manager that needed some case studies done, I wouldn’t hesitate to take Robin up on her offer.

 

So if you want to reach out to a new prospect, don’t email a “cut-and-paste” form letter -- no matter how well written it may be. Instead, send a personalized email that focuses on introducing yourself and building the relationship. It may take you a while to craft such an email, but you’ll get a much better result if you do.

 

 

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Steve Slaunwhite’s new program for freelancers, “PRACTICALLY PAINLESS PROSPECTING,” is getting raves in the industry. It teaches you how to “warm call” using email, phone and social media, and in a way that's easy and effective. You get instructions, scripts, tracking sheets, everything you need. To learn more, visit http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?Clk=4791620

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

FLCW Far Exceeds Mid-Year Goal – Sets His Income Sights Even Higher!

TIP: Chicago FLCW Serves Up the How-To on the “Double-Monitor” Strategy! 

 

Got this upbeat update from a FLCW who’d like to be anonymous (to avoid appearing to brag!). Exciting stuff. After that, a cool tip about the power of using two monitors!  

 

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Peter: My biz is booming. I'd set a pretty ambitious income goal for the year, and well exceeded the halfway point of that target in the first six months, so I have a new goal for the year! I continue to get a steady stream of good leads from the SEO work done on my site. And one of my best clients is passing my name around internally and I'm getting great work from various departments (kind of like the woman in Denmark you discussed in the July issue). My biggest problem right now is trying to get everything done before vacation next week!

 

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A great tip from Chicagoland FLCW Beth Carter (http://freelancewritingsolutions.com), Beth@FreelanceWritingSolutions.com), which first appeared as a comment on a recent blog post gathering FLCWs’ best tips for writing ergonomics, aesthetics and functionality. For the full discussion, plus a bunch of other really cool workspace concepts, visit:  

 

http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog/your-favorite-ideas-for-writing-ergonomics-aesthetics-functionality-worklife-philosophies-please%E2%80%A6

 

Beth had offered up an explanation for why she loved using two monitors:

 

To Peter’s question, I use this primarily for having multiple screens open while working on a project, rather than switching between projects. Specifically, I use the two screens a TON when I’m editing. A client might email me feedback on a first draft, and I can open the email in one screen and open the document in the second, making it very easy to make the edits without having to print out the comments and then make the edits or having to toggle back and forth between the comments and the document.

 

It’s also incredibly helpful if I’m doing research while I’m writing. I can have a document AND a web browser open and visible at the same time. Or I can open and view two Word documents simultaneously, etc., etc. This setup might not sound terribly revolutionary, but it consistently shaves a few minutes here and there off the time I need to complete a task, and by the end of the day, those minutes all add up.

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- 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 at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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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” (200-300 words), TIPS (150-200) and SUCCESS STORIES (100-300) to peter@wellfedwriter.com. Archived issues at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine.shtml. 

 

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

 

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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! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/awai.shtml.

 

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HOW CAN MY MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?

For details and testimonials, visit http://www.wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

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