Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

Serving upfood for thought and tasty tips for the prospering FLCW*. Come on in, sitanywhere and bring your appetite!

 

*FLCW,peppered throughout the ezine, stands for "Freelance CommercialWriter" – anyone who freelances for businesses (vs. writing magazinearticles, short stories, poetry, etc.), typically earns $50-125+ an hour, andis the sole focus of this e-newsletter. 

 

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VOLUME 9,ISSUE 12 – DECEMBER 2010 – HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Publishingthe first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read itOnline at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/dec2010.html

 

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Specially-priced2-for-1 “Well-Fed Writer” Holiday Gift Bundles will make TWO people happy forabout the price of one! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/holidaybuffet.shtml

 

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HOW COULD1-ON-1 COMMERCIAL WRITING MENTORING HELP YOU?

Could youuse some guidance, confidence-building, or “niche-strategizing” before the NewYear? I’ve helped countless FLCW’s get clear, get ready and get into action!For full details and testimonials, visit: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml 

 

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TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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I NEED ALLUSUAL COURSES. I'm low in ALL departments and would love to get yourstrategies, tips and features. See "Coffee" for more details and wordcounts. 

 

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THISMONTH'S MENU:

 

I.APPETIZER: WHY IS COLD CALLING A SMART MOVE?

An Ode tothe Most Direct-to-the-Prospect, Critical-Mass-Building Strategy Going!

 

II."FIELD" GREENS: NO-FEAR COLD-CALLING!

NC“Introvert” FLCW Jumps In, Finds Lots of Nice – AND Interested –Folks!

 

III. MAIN“MEAT” COURSE: GOT CASE STUDY “HOW-TO”? (Part 1 of 2)

Orlando, FLFLCW Shares His “Process” For Maximum Fun & Minimal Headaches

 

IV.DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

Singapore FLCW Starts Small, Quickly Gets Busy, EndsUp with Staff and Big Plans! 

TIP: VAFLCW Shares Unique How-to Detail: Building a “Treadmill Desk”

 

V. COFFEE,MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THEWELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- AWAICopywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get 2 Bonuses (no charge!)

- How CanMy Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I.APPETIZER: WHY IS COLD CALLING A SMART MOVE?

An Ode tothe Most Direct-to-the-Prospect, Critical-Mass-Building Strategy Going!

 

So, I getregular emails from folks asking me which prospecting approach I think is themost effective. Well, they can all be, but you know my fave: cold calling. Istill maintain that phone prospecting is the most direct “cut-to-the-chase” toconnect with prospects.

 

In theGreens course coming up next, you’ll hear a great cold-calling success story. Ilove this line from her account: “It’s empowering, too. I don’t have to sitaround and wait for the next networking event. I don’t have to wait for myarticle to garner attention.”

 

She hit thenail on the head: cold-calling allows you to take control of your marketing farmore than many other “hotter” techniques like networking, social media, articlemarketing, etc. All are great, but are largely focused on awareness-building.

 

Sure,networking events can be great for meeting prospects, but you don’t go to anevent every night (and wouldn’t want to!), and they can be prospectingwastelands if you go to the wrong events (key: find events where you’ll be theonly writer, and where most of the other attendees need those skills). Socialmedia can connect you to people, but it can still be a long slog to payinggigs. Article marketing? Definitely a long-term strategy.

 

But coldcalling, when done right, can connect you directly to those people in aposition to hire you. Sure, you’re going to get a lot of voice mail (but trustme, you don’t get voice mail sooooo much more now than when I built my businesscold-calling 17 years ago, like so many claim), so you leave a brief, info-richmessage as a feeler.

 

One of thebiggest pluses to cold-calling? Whether you get voice mail or reach someonelive, the simple act of contacting a lot of people activates The Law ofAverages, which is absolutely ironclad for getting results. Make enoughcontacts – the results will happen. Following up on 1-2 leads on LinkedInor after a few networking events, while certainly worthwhile, won’t yield thesame critical-mass-building mojo as cold calling.

 

A fewmonths back, in an email touting one of her great programs, Wendy Weiss (http://www.wendyweiss.com), “TheCold-Calling Queen,” had this to say: “I've had it up to
my tutu with allthese hapless wonders who proclaim cold calling
is dead. Cold calling isfar from dead. Cold calling is working better
than ever – even inthis very tough sales environment. In fact, based on my experience and theexperience of my top-notch cold-calling team, cold calling is producing resultsyou won't see from any marketing tactic.”

 

Amen tothat. So, if you’re itching to grab the reins of your marketing in 2011, you’dbe smart to add cold calling to your arsenal. On that note, let’s eat! 

 

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II."FIELD" GREENS: NO-FEAR COLD-CALLING!

NC“Introvert” FLCW Jumps In, Finds Lots of Nice – AND Interested –Folks!

 

This upbeatreport on cold-calling success comes from budding Louisburg, NC FLCW ClaireTalbott (claire@talbottcopywriting.com, http://www.talbottcopywriting.com). I’m telling you, you guys makethis all out to be so scary, and here’s yet another real-world report saying itjust ain’t so (AND that it works). Enjoy!

 

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Peter: Ijust had to write you about my cold calling experience. For the record, I’m anintrovert who cares way too much what people think, and if you’d told me acouple years ago I would be doing this, I would have said you needed a braintransplant.

 

I’ve beenworking my business full time since September and doing some networking. I wasdreading cold calling, but knew I didn’t have time to wait for networking tobring business my way. Also, networking can eat up a lot of time (and evenmoney).

 

So I readyour chapter on cold calling again. And I got excited about getting my businessmoving forward (course, I didn’t have to make any calls until the followingday). The next day I wrote out my speech on index cards, picked up the phoneand started calling.

 

I startedwith internet marketing and design firms. You were right! They weren’t at allfazed by a copywriter calling them. Some were downright excited. I talked toone guy who said, “You were reading my mind.” I’ve made 60 calls since lastTuesday, scheduled six appointments and had even more than that interested (Ikeep reminding myself of the Law of Averages). And I’m not even done with myinitial list.

 

It’sempowering, too. I don’t have to sit around and wait for the next networkingevent. I don’t have to wait for my article to garner attention. Or spend a lotof money on direct mail. Sure I’ve gotten some “we’re not interested.” But it’salmost a relief, since I don’t have to worry about those people.

 

P.S. Haveyou seen “The Complete Idiots Guide to Cold Calling” by Keith Rosen? It alsohelped me get in the right mindset for cold calling. One quote, “...That whichwe fear is only the negative expectation or assumption of what may happen inthe future (what we don’t want to happen) and what is never happening in thepresent.”

 

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III. MAIN“MEAT” COURSE: GOT CASE STUDY “HOW-TO”? (Part 1 of 2)

Orlando, FLFLCW Shares His “Process” For Maximum Fun & Minimal Headaches                       

 

Recently, Idid a blog post on case studies, one of my favorite copywriting project types (http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog/got-this-fun-in-demand-and-lucrative-copywriting-specialty-in-your-project-mix). Orlando, FL FLCW Steve Rainwater(steve@treesidecommunications.com) weighed in with a wonderfullydetailed comment on his “process” for executing this fun and lucrative projecttype. I like it so much I asked if he’d be willing to expand on what he wrotefor a feature-length article. He went one better and provided enough detail fora two-parter! So, this month and next, you’ll hear from a pro on how toapproach this project type so it yields optimal results with minimal hassles.Enjoy!

 

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Puttingtogether a quality customer success story (a.k.a. case study) requires solidresearch and information assembly coupled with seasoned writing andstorytelling skills. The process can unfold in any number of ways and willinvolve at least a handful of players, each with a role, vested interest, orboth. To reduce headaches and surprises, and have the project run smoothly, thewriter should pay attention, upfront, to logistics.

 

The writershould always help keep the job organized, whether or not it’s his or herofficial role to do so. Below I’ve included a few nuggets, which may be helpfulto both writers and companies using case studies in their marketing.

 

WORKINGWITH YOUR CLIENT  

For mostcompanies, project leadership will commonly fall to the individual who owns ormanages the relationships. It can be the salesperson closest to the customer,marketing staff, or perhaps a consultant, technician or another staffmember. 

 

Determinein advance how the piece will be reviewed and edited, who needs to sign off andin what order. Photography usually requires the interview candidate’sinvolvement on some level, but final photos might not be nailed down until thepiece is written. Again, the design team (either internal or third party) maybe involved here, but someone still needs to decide where the buck stops.

 

Ask questionsabout project logistics before crafting a proposal. If your job is simply toschedule and conduct the interview(s) and write the story, your role can be isfairly straightforward. If you’re asked to do more, be sure to price yourefforts accordingly.  

 

One clientschedules everything for me, including outlining the interview questions (i.e.,the aspects of his service he wants me to explore with his customers). Hedoesn’t ask leading questions, but is looking for feedback on specific aspectsof quality management, so his approach is extremely helpful. Once he securesthe customer’s participation, he’ll have me contact them the same day toschedule the interview – at the candidate’s convenience, of course, butusually fairly quickly.

 

Once theinterview’s done, I’ll try to write the piece and get it to them the same week.Then my client takes care of all the approvals and sign offs, and I’m out ofthe picture unless there’s polish needed. This solution works well (and costsless for my client).

 

(THE PRO-ACTIVEWRITER? While most companies will take the lead in generating case studies,because of my sales, marketing and journalism background, I’m adept atidentifying good prospects for case studies and getting them involved in theprocess. Assuch, I offer this service to clients. I’ll call the customer (like ajournalist looking for a story) on the client’s behalf and ask for theirparticipation. I’ll schedule and conduct the interviews, write the story,distribute to everyone for approvals, and can even work with the designer forpublishing and photos. The more roles I take on, the higher the fee.)

 

WORKINGWITH YOUR CLIENT’S CUSTOMER

Besideswriting a killer story, your #1 job is handling your interviewee (i.e., thecompany’s valued customer) with utmost care. You’ll be responsible forgathering detailed information about a scenario you weren’t originally part of,working with people you’ve never met. For me, this is the most enjoyable part;I love the interview process. But a good interview begins before any phonecalls or customer meetings.

 

First, getspecific with your client about the customer experience you’re preparing toreport. Determine which details are most important (i.e., crucial to thepiece), while noting the customer’s experience may be different. Prepare formultiple perspectives.

 

PB: In nextmonth’s piece, Steve will discuss the logistics of both conducting interviewsas well as edits, reviews and approvals. Stay tuned…

 

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IV.DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

Singapore FLCW Starts Small, Quickly Gets Busy, EndsUp with Staff and Big Plans! 

TIP: VAFLCW Shares Unique How-to Detail: Building a “Treadmill Desk”

 

A few years back I got the note below fromSingapore-based FLCW Angela Dove (http://www.proofperfect.com.sg)shortly after shelaunched her copywriting business. I checked in with her last week and got theupdate that follows the main piece. This is one motivated, ambitious woman.Enjoy!

 

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Dear Peter: Just thought I’d pop you an update on howI have been getting on since you inspired me to take up writing for a living,thanks to The Well Fed Writer. I accomplished what I set out to do, which wasto give up teaching completely and work full time as a writer here inSingapore. I started off working at home part-time and gradually had enoughclients to allow me to give up teaching and concentrate on the business.

 

In 2005, I incorporated, and by year’s end, was sobusy, I was going to start missing deadlines or losing clients. I hired awonderful assistant, which forced me rent office space – a great movesince it separates work from home and lets me have a home life!

 

This month I took on a part-time writer to help, andmy assistant is doing some aggressive marketing. Many people told me Ishouldn’t risk it, it can’t be done, etc. My response: don’t listen to anyonewho says it can’t be done, JUST DO IT!

 

2010 Update: Things are going well. I now have five staff working under meand have set up the office with systems in place in order to one day franchiseor expand overseas. So things are more or less running like clockwork now. I amdoing increasingly less copy and spending more time on growing the business towork without me!

 

We stillonly do copywriting in-house, outsourcing a lot of design work, but my plan inthe coming year is to bring design in-house. I also have a guy doing onlinemarketing in Singapore for me (web site SEO and Google Adwords for Singapore).Most of our local customers found us through Google, so that investment’s beenworthwhile.

 

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Love thistip from Staunton, VA FLCW Katie McCaskey (katiemccaskey@gmail.com,

www.katiemccaskey.com). As someone who’s long wrestledwith back issues, anything that can get me out of a chair (a most UN-naturalposition if there ever was one), and in motion is a good thing. And to be ableto do that AND get my work done? That’s pretty cool. I’m seriously ponderingputting my own set-up together.

 

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As writerswe’re often behind a desk for hours - no fun! So, recently I started searchingfor a solution. It turns out that you can “write while you walk”! Many praisethe benefits of increased mental focus and energy (AND weight loss). I canattest this is true!

 

There aredesks/gadgets on the market but they’re expensive. Here’s my take: 1) a laptop,2) a protective laptop case (recommended), 3) bungee cord, and 4) a usedtreadmill (check Craigslist, thrift store, or in my case... my grandparents’garage!

 

The key: atreadmill with a flat-enough surface to allow the laptop to rest on top andadjust to a comfortable position. Mine isn’t flat on the top (there is a largeknob), but it works just fine. I loop the bungee cord under the handrail grip,over the laptop, and back again on the other side (see photo at link below).Turn it on, and start reading, writing, and working while walking at acomfortable pace.

 

It isabsolutely possible and enjoyable to write while walking at very low speeds.The only drawbacks are that the motor is too noisy for phone calls, and, it’snot suited for gulping coffee. So, I use mine primarily in the afternoon... agreat pick-me-up!

 

Check out http://katiemccaskey.com/2010/11/04/cheap-content-is-dangerous/ for a pic of my set-up, along witha link to other variations on this same idea. Walk this way!

 

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V. COFFEE,MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THEWELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- AWAICopywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get 2 Bonuses (no charge!)

- How CanMy Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I'MSERIOUSLY LOW ON ALL WELL-FED E-PUB COURSES!

Got a greatstrategy, approach or specific expertise you're willing to share? Turn it intoa Feature (MAIN COURSE) for the EPUB (500-600 words; query first). ALSO, sendyour "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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TheWELL-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, HealthMarket and more! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/awai.shtml.

 

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HOW CAN MYMENTORING SERVICE SERVE YOU?

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

 

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