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 12, ISSUE 12 – DECEMBER 2013
Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002  
Read it online
HERE.

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HOLIDAY 2-for-1 PROMO (SPEND $39+, GET FREE BOOK!) Through 12/21/13!
Spend $39+ on ANY product(s) on either site, get a free hard copy of
either TWFW or TWFSP & Free Priority Mail shipping. Full details
HERE!

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2014 UPDATED EDITION OF “THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER” NOW AVAILABLE!
Check out various book AND ebook (in 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. Details
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Check out
The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG!
Weigh in on “Here’s What Long-Term Freelancers Do To Stay Disciplined. You?”;
“Do You React Like This When You See Something You Wrote Years Ago?”;
“How Do You Deal with the Unimaginative Client?”; & More!

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

I. APPETIZER: THE SURPRISINGLY FAMILIAR FACE OF “CONTENT”
The Hot Copywriting Direction: Just a New Name for Our Long-Time Bread-and Butter

II. “FIELD” GREENS: MORE REASONS WHY PROJECT PRICING BEATS HOURLY
GA FLCW Insists on Project Pricing to Client Wanting Hourly Pricing; Both Win!

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” – A PRIMER (Part 1 of 3)
CO FLCW Explores Who, What, Why and How of New World of “Content.”

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
Bay Area FLCW/Editor Turns One Speaking Gig Into Three Editing Jobs
TIP: Yours Truly Serves Up and Ode to Email (and Social Media) Ruthlessness

 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 WRITER BLOG is Rockin!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register
Here, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My
Mentoring Service Serve You?

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I. APPETIZER: THE SURPRISINGLY FAMILIAR FACE OF “CONTENT”
The Hot Copywriting Direction: Just a New Name for Our Long-Time Bread-and Butter

A writer friend of mine just got back from a big conference in Chicago
on… “Content.” Most of the attendees hailed from journalism, which, in
case you’ve been in a cave for a while, has undergone a pretty
catastrophic bloodletting of late. Bottom line, all these displaced
souls are looking for new homes of their skills, and well, “content”
is where it’s at (and the subject of our Main Course for the next
three months…).

Though I had to smile at this new umbrella term (“content”) for a lot
of the project types we commercial freelancers have been doing
forever: case studies, white papers (which many entities are now
calling “ebooks”), trade articles and more. But what has shifted in
recent years (and created a huge demand for content writers) is how
people buy things.

While traditional advertising, direct mail and direct response
marketing are all still going strong, thanks to the Internet, a
buyer’s purchasing process is far more self-directed: They’re doing a
lot of their own research before proactively clicking the “Buy” button.

As such, they’re looking to be educated rather than sold. Hence the
exploding demand for content, as companies beef up their web site’s
stores of informative content, optimizing it for organic searches so
that buyer’s research leads them to their sites.

And that, in fact, was one my friend’s key takeaways from the
conference: There’s a ton of content work out there. And since we’ve
been at it for far longer than these new arrivals, I say that gives us
a crucial edge. On that happy note, let’s eat!    

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HOLIDAY 2-for-1 PROMO – NOW Through December 21, 2013
Got a pretty killer special running till December 21, 2013: spend $39+
on ANY products (even coaching time!) on either site (TWFW or TWFSP)
and get a FREE copy of either hard-copy book shipped Priority Mail.
Get all the details
HERE!

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: MORE REASONS WHY PROJECT PRICING BEATS HOURLY
GA FLCW Insists on Project Pricing to Client Wanting Hourly Pricing; Both Win!  

Got this great piece from fellow Atlanta FLCW
Don Sadler, who specializes in
financial writing. Don wrote a great piece for the
June 2013 E-PUB on the merits
of project (vs. hourly) pricing, and this real-world story builds on that. Project
pricing just makes more sense because hourly rates have no context and can
scare a client off. Enjoy!

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I was contacted recently by a PR firm hiring writers for a large new
content project
. When the editor asked what my hourly rate was, I
explained that I prefer to price work on a project or per-word basis.
After a few emails back and forth, she said they prefer to pay hourly
rates and could I make that work?

I feel so strongly about not pricing work on an hourly basis I decided
to stand my ground. I explained to her why I only price work on a
project or per-word basis: because it gives clients price certainty
and doesn't penalize me for working fast. I told her if she could give
me an approximate word count, I'd give her a firm project price.

She agreed and gave me a word-count range for an article of 500-700. I
factored my .75 per-word rate into a 600-word article and gave her a
price of $450, which she accepted.

Here’s where it gets good: The article took about four hours to write,
so I earned about $110 per hour. But how would they have reacted to an
hourly rate north of $100? "Over $100 an hour for freelance writing?
Who do you think you are, a lawyer?"

Yet, as a self-employed professional, my goal is $100+ an hour on all
the work I do.

If you price your services on an hourly basis, I strongly encourage
you to switch to a project basis instead. If you work fast and can
accurately estimate about how much time projects will take, you’ll
likely increase your income substantially.

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” – A PRIMER (Part 1 of 3)
CO FLCW Explores Who, What, Why and How of New World of “Content”

I’m delighted to serve up Part 1 of a great three-parter on content marketing
from Denver-area FLCW
Matt Given. The term “content marketing” is
showing up everywhere these days, and over the next three issues, Matt
will explain what it is, why it’s important and how to get your fair
share of this lucrative and growing pie of work. Thanks, Matt!

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Content marketing (CM). The basics. What is it? CM is a modern
marketing approach whereby organizations, through various digital
forms, engage with prospects throughout the buying cycle, as well as
customers as part of a loyalty effort. In contrast to the intrusive
nature of advertising, it’s a “permission-based” communication
strategy designed to convert anonymous surfers into prospects,
prospects into customers, and customers into regulars, or (better yet)
rabid fans, advocates, and brand ambassadors.

These days, most content is created and uploaded to a website—where
most would-be customers start a self-directed buying journey. What
forms does it take? Many. Web pages, blogs, white papers, case
studies, webinars, videos, eBooks, email, landing pages, and social
media profiles are all proven forms of content in a CM plan.

Effective CM-focused organizations deploy these assets at different
stages of the buying process, tailoring them to different buying
profiles for maximum impact. Great, engaging content is the new
marketer’s tool to guide prospects through a process of engagement
that eventually leads to a sale.

Writers willing to ferret out the work will find a treasure chest of
ongoing projects with CM-focused clients. Since any company new to CM
will need a sizable minimum amount of content to even launch the
strategy, even the initial opportunity is rich for writers. And
organizations actively engaged in a CM strategy need to consistently
prime the pump. And that means a consistent flow of writing projects.

Where did Content Marketing come from?

Let’s take a look at the modern buying process. Consider:

•    92% of buying cycles start online
•    Over 90% of website traffic is not ready yet to buy, but 70% will buy eventually
•    65% of a buying cycle is over by the time a prospect engages with a sales rep

This buying process is indeed “self-directed.” Modern prospects prefer
to surf, to research, to learn—before engaging live. In a complex B2B
buying cycle, a prospective buyer might download white papers, case
studies and product review guides, or even attend a webinar. In less
complex buying cycles, prospects will read blog posts, watch online
testimonial videos, or product demonstrations. Lots of this activity
happens before that prospect identifies him or her self as a lead.

Does Content Marketing work?

While CM is still in its infancy, research suggests a CM strategy can
yield a big payoff:

•    85% decrease in cost-per-lead
•    33% increase in close rate
•    33% increase in marketing ROI
•    150% increase in qualified leads
*Forrester, Gartner, Aberdeen Group, MECLABS, and Sirius Decisions

Do companies need help with Content Marketing?

Absolutely. In a 2012 study produced by MarketingProfs, CMOs, when
asked, listed their top CM challenges as:

•    Producing Engaging Content: 36%
•    Producing Enough Content: 21%
•    Producing a Variety of Content: 9%

In the same study, only 12% of respondents claimed a Lack of Budget as
the main challenge.

As a writer—and often a trusted advisor—injecting yourself into an
organization’s CM strategy can be a win-win.
But, understand this…

Can you tell a great story?

Many marketers and business writers tell the same tired story today:
“Here’s our product. It is great. A few of our customers say it’s
great. Now buy some.” Sadly, this “it’s-all-about-us” style of
marketing is still employed by many.

Great content must stand out.

Great content speaks “human.” It’s conversational. Free of
corporatespeak” and buzzwords. It doesn’t preach or sell. Instead, it
shows how a product lives in the real world. And it creates
credibility by positioning an organization as the go-to resource. In
other words, it’s valuable to prospects and customers, however it
resonates with them.

Many companies struggle to produce great content. Sometimes,
outsiders, far enough away from a company’s day-to-day “atmosphere,”
are just the ones to tell a good story.

In Part 2 of our exploration of Content Marketing, we’ll discuss the
different forms content takes, and when to use each, along with
real-world examples. In Part 3, we’ll pull it all together with a CM
strategy framework any company or consultant can deploy.

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
Bay Area FLCW/Editor Turns One Speaking Gig Into Three Editing Jobs
TIP: Yours Truly Serves Up and Ode to Email (and Social Media) Ruthlessness

Cool success story from Bay Area FLCW/editor
Linda Jay Geldens. While it’s
about book editing (not our typical project), I like that she listened to her gut
and accepted an invite, which, on the surface, may not have seemed terribly
promising, but paid off handsomely. Focus on “serving,” and good things
can happen. Thanks Linda Jay!  

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A few months back, I got a call from the Published Writers’ Club at an
upscale retirement community in Walnut Creek. They asked me to be on a
three-person publishing panel for an upcoming event. I accepted, and
talked about editing book manuscripts.
 
I went in with no expectations, but a hunch that there might be
potential clients in the audience. The upshot? I went back a month
later for lunch with a retired sociology professor; I then edited his
250-page book about escaping the Holocaust in Poland. The next month I
returned for lunch with a Chinese-American woman, and I’m now editing
her 250-page memoir about her mother. And I anticipate working soon
with a third resident—a travel writer, on his book of travel adventures.
 
Three clients from one brief appearance on a panel. I like those odds!

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Ever notice when you’re on vacation, you get ruthless about email (or
social media)? I know I do. Given that I rarely check it more than
once a day when away, I take a triage mentality: I always deal with
the stuff absolutely requiring my response. Beyond that (and spam),
there’s the in-between stuff: things you’ve subscribed to, as well as
stuff you might take a look at if you have some time, but not if you
don’t. The second group definitely gets tossed on vacation, but at
home, it’s easy to get into the habit of killing a few minutes looking
through it. But, is it worth spending time on it anytime?  

This isn’t about being that ultra-efficient time manager, with every
minute of every day scheduled: that sounds like a nightmare to me.
It’s more about making sure you end up with enough time each day to do
whatever it is you really want to do with your time, as opposed to
just having it leak away in dribs and drabs, leaving you scratching
your head at 6 p.m., wondering where it all went.  

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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 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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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, click
HERE.

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