Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

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 10, ISSUE 12 – DECEMBER 2011 – Happy “Well-Fed” Holidays!

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/dec2011.html

 

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THE WELL-FED “HOLIDAY BUFFET” IS OPEN (BUT ONLY UNTIL 12/20/11)!

Two dynamite “2-in-1” holiday gift packages for you AND the aspiring commercial freelancer on your gift list! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/holidaybuffet.shtml.

 

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THIS MONTH ONLY! “PROFITABLE – BY DESIGN!” EBOOK – 25% OFF!

Get all the “how-to” on creating your own lucrative, long-lasting and low-maintenance partnerships (the “gift that keeps on giving”) with graphic designers – and save 25%! Details here: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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MISSED THE COLD-CALLING TELESEMINAR WITH WENDY WEISS on 10/12?

Or were you there and would love the recording AND 38-page transcript? Get both for the crazy-low price of just $25 at http://wellfedwriter.com/coldcallingteleseminar.shtml

 

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NEW ONE-ON-ONE COACHING PROGRAMS ADDED!

“The One-Hour Sample (or Web Site) Review” and the “Extended ‘Sidecar’ Coaching Program” for those seeking a longer-term “by-your-side” mentoring partnership. And both for “easy-on-the-budget” rates! http://wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. APPETIZER: IS SOCIAL MEDIA A WASTE OF TIME?

“Informed Dissent” Adds Color and Much-Needed Critical Thinking to the Discussion

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: 11 YEARS AS FULL-TIME JOBBER + PART-TIME FLCW!           

KC, MO FLCW (Featured in TWFW) Shares Lessons From His “Mosaic” Life

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” 101 (Part 1 of 2)

MS FLCW and “Content Marketing” Pro Shares the How-to of This Lucrative Specialty!

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

Budding CA FLCW Applies Unorthodox Cold-Calling Strategy and Gets Through!

TIP: “Catvertising” Video Reminds Us to Not Fall for Gurus’ Sweeping Claims!

 

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: IS SOCIAL MEDIA A WASTE OF TIME?

“Informed Dissent” Adds Color and Much-Needed Critical Thinking to the Discussion

 

As many of you may know, I’m not much of a social media (SM) mogul. I have LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts, but no strategy in place. All the experts who proclaim that it’s “changed everything” (and even more comically, “replaced all marketing”) used to make me jumpy, jittery and feeling like I was falling behind by the second (can anyone relate?). But, I’m mellowing out, with a bit of help from some sober voices.

 

My friend, Matthew Moran (www.kreativeknowledge.com), writer, author, speaker, consultant, steered me a paradoxical pair of links:

 

1) An article (http://www.kreativeknowledge.com/2011/11/07/adding-adding-noise/)

with the subhead, “Don’t Waste Your Time with Social Media” (also the title, of a seminar he delivers to clients), AND…

 

2) http://www.kreativeknowledge.com/2011/09/26/rustys-pizza-case-study-social-media-success/ (a social media success story of his). I’ll be running a piece from Matthew about SM in general, and this success story in particular, in a future issue of the E-PUB.

 

Then, a new contact, Jeff Molander (http://www.leffmolander.com), an unorthodox social media pro to say the least (Google, “Thrive in 2011 By Making Social Sell” to see what I mean) steered me to this blog: http://www.adcontrarian.com. OMG, if this guy isn’t the quintessential breath of fresh air, I don’t know who is. A recent vintage piece: http://adcontrarian.blogspot.com/2011/11/my-overnight-social-media-success.html.

 

And if you’re having social media conversations with clients that include that nebulous word, “engagement,” you and they both NEED to read this soon-to-be-classic:

http://mweigel.typepad.com/canalside-view/2011/09/fashionable-yet-bankrupt.html

     

Social media absolutely has its place, and I’d be an idiot if I said otherwise. Bottom line, it makes a lot more sense for some businesses (see Matthew’s success story above) than others. And we can do ourselves and our clients far more favors by exercising a lot less blind acceptance of social media “gurus” and a lot more critical thinking of our own. Look for this piece as a blog post soon – would love to hear others’ perspectives. 

 

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Still stuck for a gift for an aspiring writer on your list? Or yourself? The Holiday Buffet, offering “2-in1” gift bundles for you AND your “giftee,” is open until 12/20/11.  Check it out at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/holidaybuffet.shtml. And don’t forget that my ebook on building profitable partnerships with designers, “Profitable – By Design!” is 25% off until 12/31/11. http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: 11 YEARS AS FULL-TIME JOBBER + PART-TIME FLCW!           

KC, MO FLCW (Featured in TWFW) Shares Lessons From His “Mosaic” Life

 

Remember the crazy minister/full-time 9-5’er/hubby/Dad/part-time FLCW from Kansas City I featured in TWFW in the chapter on part-time biz-building? Well, I heard from Jim Meadows recently (jimmeadows@jimfreelance.com, http://www.jimfreelance.com) with this great update after 11 years in the business – and still part-time! Enjoy…

 

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Following Peter’s game plan in TWFW way back in 2000 was quite an exciting and fun-filled adventure for me.  Leveraging my background and experience (longtime corporate employee, ordained minister, technical writer), I executed an intense strategy of cold calling over several months to position myself as a skilled freelance corporate writer.

 

The strategy worked so well, that early on, I contemplated quitting my job, but upon reflection, realized my best bet was to continue navigating my “mosaic” lifestyle. I couldn’t be happier! And my decision underscores a real plus to freelancing: you format it to suit your personal situation. You’re in charge of your time, your clients, and your sense of direction. 

 

One big synergistic benefit of being in multiple arenas is the cross-pollination: skills and insights from each world (ministry, corporate, freelance) continually feed into the other two in an ever-expanding circle of refinement and excellence.

 

During the past decade, I earned my second graduate degree (an MBA), switched jobs from AT&T to ADT Security Services, and began teaching for the University of Phoenix. Additionally, my wife and I happily became empty nesters and grandparents (I still don’t feel old enough for that title!). Throughout, I continually adjusted my corporate freelancing to accommodate my situation. Sometimes this meant little to no writing, and at other times, I burned the candle at both ends, and loved it.

 

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of building quality and friendliness into every project you do, regardless of its size. From day one, I’ve never compromised on these things. If I knew I couldn’t deliver on a project, I respectfully declined the work – and doing so has paid both short-term and long-term dividends.

 

To this day, clients I’ve not worked with for years will call out of the blue, either directly stating or implying they’re calling because of my past displays of quality and friendliness. Clients always remember, so make each experience nothing less than top notch.

 

Thank you, Peter, for writing TWFW when you did. Your game plan worked superbly well for me, as it has for countless others.

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” 101 (Part 1 of 2)

MS FLCW and “Content Marketing” Pro Shares the How-to of This Lucrative Specialty!

 

Got this great piece on content marketing from Madison, MS FLCW Amanda Brandon (http://www.amandabrandon.com). Amanda had commented on my blog post on the subject, “This Writer’s Landing a Ton of Work Doing What So Many Companies Need” (archived at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog, then “February 2011”). I liked her answer so much, I asked if she’d be willing to share her expertise.

 

She was game, and wrote such a detailed, info-rich piece, I made it a two-parter. In this issue, she’ll discuss what content marketing is, how she got established, and how you can land work in this lucrative space. Next month, she’ll discuss how to sell a company on outsourcing their content marketing initiatives. Good stuff – enjoy!

 

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Let’s start with the basics: what content marketing is. Sometimes it’s called inbound marketing or article marketing, but it’s much more than that. My definition of content marketing is packaging information in ways that your intended audience finds valuable. And as a content marketing specialist, I can help companies figure out exactly what that mix is, whether it’s nurturing emails, blog posts, case studies, white papers or infographics (a simple visualization of complex data) or even a video.

  

For the past ten years, I’ve spent time on the side of my full-time job taking steps toward being a full-time commercial freelancer in several industries. I started off as a magazine editor for PMQ Magazine (a pizza marketing trade) and then I entered the marketing space as a communication specialist in several different sectors – education, nonprofit, healthcare and eventually high tech – and focused on web communications.

 

In the evenings, I studied everything I could find related to online marketing and began my freelance career the hard way – on the bidding sites and with low-paying SEO article jobs. Then, I got smart, put up a website and started responding to freelance writing job ads. I landed a few assignments and soon saw I could offer a company more than just a few articles. I suggested ideas for packaging content in new ways. For example, I have turned e-books into compelling blog posts or webcasts into short case studies.

 

My content marketing business really took off when one client approached me about running a content marketing program for them after I provided a few articles on social media to grab more search traffic. For nearly a year (alongside my full-time job), I managed their blog and Facebook and Twitter accounts and content outreach (working with associations, other bloggers, etc. to grow their audience). Their blog page rank (an SEO scoring mechanism) and traffic doubled just by having a dedicated professional driving a content strategy.

 

While I’m no longer working on this project (budget issues), I’m now able to center my business on content strategy. For some clients, I simply write their blog posts and for others I take the content marketing program off their hands. By working with the companies to write and promote content, I have an edge: I'm not just a writer, I’m a content marketing professional. As such, I can negotiate a higher rate and develop long-term relationships with my clients.

 

In February of this year, I left my full-time job and now specialize in content marketing projects and I’m making more money than I was in the corporate world. I have a handful of regular clients and pick up one or two projects a month from less regular clients. The best part is that most of my business now comes via referral.

 

To be sure those referrals are steady, I took Peter’s advice to partner with a few design and web development firms. When I join forces with a design/web development firm and sit down with a potential client to pitch business, it’s not just about design. We discuss how they are going to use their site to market their business. This helps the design/web firm close more business.

 

For instance, one of my web development partners doesn’t offer content creation or social media marketing. They just build the box. When they bring me in to discuss how the content is the secret to successful online marketing, the deal almost always closes.

 

As in any business, the key to working in content marketing is determining what a client needs and making suggestions. Most of the additional work I’m landing results from asking questions about how they distribute their content and call their clients to action.

 

For instance, one company I spoke with about writing blog posts offered a very low rate. I almost declined, but decided to ask for an increase to my normal fee for blog posts if I provided some blog promotion. I got the higher rate and the company benefited from more exposure than their small Twitter and Facebook following. AND I landed two additional projects from other companies reading this blog.

 

When I discuss the content sharing part of their strategy, the client realizes I’m more than a writer. I’m a consultant that can help them grow their brand without hiring an additional employee or spending thousands on broad-based advertising. And I benefit from the additional work and satisfaction of helping my clients grow their businesses.

 

In Part Two next month, I’ll discuss, “How to Prove the Value of Outsourcing Content Marketing.” Stay tuned!

 

PB: Note Amanda’s reference to partnering with designers, and how that’s become a cornerstone of her success. If that sounds good, check out my nearly 70-page step-by-step ebook on the subject (and 25% off until 12/31/11). Check it out at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

Budding CA FLCW Applies Unorthodox Cold-Calling Strategy and Gets Through!

TIP: “Catvertising” Video Reminds Us to Not Fall for Gurus’ Sweeping Claims!

 

Got this great little cold-calling success story from Shingle Springs, CA FLCW Brooke Sobol (http://brookesobol.com/). Brooke attended the October cold-calling teleclass with Wendy Weiss, put some of the strategies in place, and got a good response. The key here isn’t some big juicy deal she landed, but rather, that she used what seems like a counter-intuitive strategy, and it worked – just like Wendy says it often does. Enjoy!

 

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I attended the cold calling webinar you and Wendy conducted recently. I just launched my business and had never made a sales call in my life. One morning I finally bucked up and decided to dip my toes in with just three calls - to see how bad it would be. First call - gatekeeper. "Who's calling" Me, script in hand: "My name is Brooke Sobol. I'm a freelance... blah blah blah...I do blah blah blah..." quite a few seconds later - "he's unavailable." Second call - almost exactly the same as the first. Strike two.

 

Third call... "Who's calling?" Me: "Brooke Sobol". (And not a word more.) Moment of silence. "Um, okay, one moment please." Next conversation was with the Director of this organization. Ha! Didn't make an immediate sale, but there was some possible future interest and I do have a lead to nurture!

 

PB: Missed the teleclass? It was chock-full of great information and strategies to make your cold calling LOW-stress and HIGH-yield. Get the recording AND 38-page transcript for a pittance here: http://wellfedwriter.com/coldcallingteleseminar.shtml.   

 

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In the social media vein, check out this hilarious spoof of ANY trend purported to “change everything.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkOQw96cfyE.

 

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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 juicy partnerships with graphic designers. The result? 1-2 jobs virtually every month with little or no effort on my part. Get all the how-to details (and for 25% off until 12/31/11). Details: 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 MENTORING SERVICE SERVE YOU? NOW IN NEW WAYS!

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

 

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