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 10,ISSUE 1 – JANUARY 2011 – HAPPY “WELL-FED” NEW YEAR!

Publishingthe first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read itOnline at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/jan2011.html

 

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FEBRUARY2011 WELL-FED GROUP COACHING FILLING FAST!

Starts02/01/11; Serious about building the business this year? Don’t miss out. Alldetails (and strong testimonials) at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml.       

 

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"THEWELL-FED WRITER" (2010 EDITION) HAS WON FOUR AWARDS!

Check outthe Awards Gallery at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/wellfedawards.shtml

To Order(FR.EE Bonus/U.S. Shipping): http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ordertwfw.shtml.

 

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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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TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! Weigh in on “What Do You Think of ‘The SaladDressing Rule’?” “How Would You Deal With Such An Unpleasant Client?” and more!Check it out and join in at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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THISMONTH'S MENU:

 

I.APPETIZER: GOT OPTIMISM?

RevisitingBlog Post from 12/09 Reminds Us Why We Should Be Bullish for 2011!

 

II."FIELD" GREENS: NECESSITY + COURAGE = EARLY SUCCESS

TXFLCW/Designer Drops Job Search, Starts Biz, Lands $6K in Work for OneMonth!  

 

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

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

 

IV.DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

TIP: CAFLCW Trades Articles for Ad Space; Both Sides Win! 

FLCW ID’sSpecific Target, Crafts Game Plan, Executes and Lands Ongoing Work 

 

V. COFFEE,MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THEWELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

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

- MISSED MYTELECLASS? Full 38-PAGE e-Transcript – Just $12!

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

- How CanMy Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I.APPETIZER: GOT OPTIMISM?

RevisitingBlog Post from 12/09 Reminds Us Why We Should Be Bullish for 2011!

 

At theend of 2009, I ran a blog post entitled, “Don We Now Our Mental Armor for 2010”(http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog/don-we-now-our%E2%80%A6mental-armor-for-2010), where I underscored the upside ofthe downturn. Given the positive feedback and solid comments, I thought itshighlights were worth a replay (though DO check out the original post for allthe juicy detail). Keep in mind: whatever was said a year ago is even more truetoday, as far more signs today point to a recovery than did this time lastyear. 

 

1) EMPLOYMENTSTANDS AT 90 PERCENT (If unemployment stands at 10 percent). The overwhelmingmajority of companies are still in business, still have to market (even more sonow), still have to sell, and still have to communicate with employees. Andthat means a lot of writing. Yes, some have pulled writing in-house, BUT…

 

2) MANYCOMPANIES HAVE DROPPED PRICEY AGENCIES/design firms, or shed staff, but stillneed to get the work done. Most would be receptive to a sharp, strategicwriter/designer team. Forge those alliances and offer “turnkey” solutions. Inthat vein…

 

3) WE’RENOT FREELANCERS, WE’RE PROBLEM-SOLVERS. We don’t offer writing services (that’sabout us: FEATURES), but rather, solutions (that’s about them: BENEFITS). Theeconomy has claimed many companies, but the ones that will prevail will betough and smart, and will understand the value of good copywriting. Because…

 

4)WRITING IS THE ENGINE OF COMMERCE, and don’t ever forget it. No product orservice gets explained, promoted, marketed, publicized or purchased, and no onegets informed, educated, pitched or sold…without writing. And none of thepreceding gets done well without good writing. And, remember…

 

5) BADWRITING IS EVERYWHERE. Plenty of companies out there would hugely benefit fromnothing more than clear, coherent marketing materials and web content.Regardless of your gift, how to find them?

 

6) IT’S ANUMBERS GAME, AND THE LAW OF AVERAGES (LOA) IS IRONCLAD.

Landingbusiness may have become uncertain, but the LOA isn’t. Knock on enough doorsand you’ll find the work. Guaranteed. So, dust off your phone prospectingskills. I know, yuck. But it works. Every time. And that’s powerful stuff.

 

Thesedays, pessimism is the easy path, so let’s be contrarian and upbeat, okay? Noquestion, the tough times are real. AND, last I checked, we’re still thegatekeeper of our thoughts. And that’s a huge part of the battle. Happy“well-fed” new year!

 

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II."FIELD" GREENS: NECESSITY + COURAGE = EARLY SUCCESS

TXFLCW/Designer Drops Job Search, Starts Biz, Lands $6K in Work for OneMonth!  

 

A fewmonths back, I got this great success story from newly-minted Hutto, TX FLCWand designer Shannon Martin (smigim@yahoo.com,http://indie-d.com). Through previouspositions, Shannon learned both graphic/web design, as well as SEO/SEM. She'scarved out a niche as a FLCW combining them all for businesses. Stay tunedfor an article next month from Shannon designed to help FLCW's craft a powerfulsite of their own. And get this: one lucky FLCW will win a complete site/blogdesign from Shannon at no cost. And even if you don't win, E-PUB readerscan tap discount pricing for a site/blog combo of roughly $450-550(contact Shannon for details).  

 

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Dear Peter:A few months ago I purchased TWFW. I read it avidly and dreamed of one day,some day, pursuing my dream of writing. Alas, job, family and othercommitments gobbled up my time and the dream was shelved. In June I wasunexpectedly laid off from my comfy, well salaried position as a projectmanager. My savings evaporated rapidly and unemployment was enough tocover housing, but nothing else. 

 

Whilefrantically searching for a job over the summer, your book beckoned. Bymid-September, I abandoned my job hunt and planned my launch into commercialwriting. Doubts assailed me, I was broke, and my portfolio was weak: a fewquilting articles, one legal piece for eHow, and some marketing materials I’dwritten for family and friends over the years. 

 

I set outto build a respectable portfolio on Craigslist, intending to land some unpaidgigs to construct it. Instead of unpaid gigs, I found a decent amount ofpaying projects. While not in the $100+ an hour range, they weren't $5 articleseither. Two that intrigued me were in the same industry I had worked in.

 

Aftermeeting with both clients, I walked away with two projects and $6000 on thebooks for October! These projects will be fantastic portfolioadditions. Thank you, Peter, for a fantastic book and the ability toconvey to readers that this CAN be done.

 

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III. MAIN“MEAT” COURSE: GOT CASE STUDY “HOW-TO”? (Part 2 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). Got a great comment from Orlando,FL FLCW Steve Rainwater (steve@treesidecommunications.com) who weighed in, in wonderfuldetail, on his process for executing this fun and lucrative project type. Ilike it so much I asked if he’d be willing to expand on what he wrote for afeature-length article. He went one better and provided enough detail for atwo-parter! Part 1 (archived at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/dec2010.html) appeared last month. Here’s Part 2from a pro on how to approach this project type so it yields optimal resultswith minimal hassles. Enjoy!

 

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CONDUCTINGINTERVIEWS 

Whenscheduling the interview, convey to the customer that you respect their time.Outline the steps in the process up front and how long it will take. A littlecoaching can go a long way to winning over an overextended customer who’sparticipating voluntarily. People love to share their experiences, but they’realso busy.

 

Interviewsfor an average-length case study can be 10-60+ minutes, depending on how muchbackground you already have. I email interviewees questions in advance –“talking points to guide our discussion.” (The questions I work from may bemore detailed.) Everyone appreciates it, as they know what to expect, and canprepare, even if just mentally (only rarely do I interview someone who hasn’tread them in advance).

Andsometimes this advance prep yields great data, lists of results, successfuloutcomes, etc. being brought to the meeting, making everyone’s job easier.

 

In mostcases, 30 minutes of well-directed discussion gets the job done. I always askif it’s okay to email follow-up questions (no one’s ever said no). I remindthem that, during the writing process, I usually think of something else I’dlike to know.

 

As a rule,once we’ve identified a prospect, I try to get them interviewed, the storywritten, and back to them for review* within a week, two weeks max. While themomentum is high, it’s easier to get them to respond. The longer the wholeprocess takes, the more likely it may go awry (earlier this year, a storyslated for a month turnaround took four). Doesn’t always work that way, butshoot for the ideal.

 

(*PB: Yes,ex-journos, you DO send the draft to interviewees for review. And letting themknow in advance you’ll be doing so ensures a richer interview. It’s all part oftaking care of your client’s client. Remember: this isn’t journalism, it’smarketing copywriting).

 

EDITS,REVIEWS, APPROVALS

Reviews andedits also need advance planning. We have writer’s egos, so we naturallyappreciate our own creativity and insight. But we’re getting paid, and theperson paying us is the boss. While my copy rarely returns heavily edited, I’mprepared for that possibility. But again, I do my best to control this on thefront end.

 

When yougive a person something to “read over,” some just don’t feel right unless theymake some changes. Remind all reviewers they’re just checking for the accuracyof the information, and that edits for style, word order, and punctuation willtake place in the final editing process. I only let those closely linked to mypaycheck make edits to the content or flow. It simplifies things.

 

Since ourclients are asking their customers to participate gratis, I suggest sending arestaurant gift certificate (or similar) a month or so after the whole processis over ($50-100 is about right). It’s a nice touch and always well received.NEVER tell the candidate ahead of time they’ll receive anything in return.

 

Roughlyhalf my case studies appear in trade magazines (without a byline or perhapsghostwritten). For these or any projects involving third party media, addanother group of people and deadlines to consider (i.e., the magazine editor,his/her schedule, art department and readers). The writer needs to do the usualplanning, but be sure to provide the publication with everything they needpromptly: double-spaced copy, resource contact info and byline info (whenrequired).

 

Whetheryou’re “only the writer,” a “strategic content marketing consultant” oranything between, crafting case studies gets your clients’ best customers (andmost credible “salespeople”) involved in the selling process. And when you workhard, upfront, to determine everyone’s roles and responsibilities, and chargeaccordingly, putting together case studies is great fun, and a real opportunityto produce leads AND sales.

 

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IV.DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

TIP: CAFLCW Trades Articles for Ad Space; Both Sides Win! 

FLCW ID’sSpecific Target, Crafts Game Plan, Executes and Lands Ongoing Work 

 

Got thisgreat strategy from a Midwest-based FLCW who wants anonymity about landing ongoingweb site update work. I like how he identified a need, thought it through andwent about prospecting. You could apply this process to virtually any prospectgroup. Good stuff. Then, a tip from Encinitas, CA FLCW Louise Julig (www.louisejulig.com) for those starting out (or moreestablished who enjoy writing for local pubs who don’t pay). I’ve seenvariations of this over the years, but always worth repeating. Enjoy!

 

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Peter: Ibecame interested in doing work for not-for-profits when I attended severalseminars in connection with some volunteering I was doing. Most had web sites,some even professionally done. But nearly all had one thing in common: theywere stale. The better ones were built with grant money, but had no ongoingfunds to pay for routine updating. The large NFP's had staff to handle it, butthe small-to-medium ones usually started with a volunteer who lost interest.End of updates.

 

Curious, IGoogled local NFP's and found a directory of virtually all of them with URL’s.I chose 50 and emailed the highest-ranking individual I could find on theirsite a carefully crafted sales letter offering to help keep their site updated.I had five responses and landed two clients, one of which generates about 15billable hours each month.

 

UsuallyNP's think they have more worthy things on which to spend their money thana web site or newsletter since many of the beneficiaries of their services havelittle or no web access. But their donors do. What I offer to do is make suretheir story is told in an appealing way to those who can donate time ortreasure. A constantly updated web site in conjunction with a monthly or atleast quarterly newsletter (which I do plenty of as well) is a cost-efficientand scalable way to do this (all of which I cover in the letter).

 

I intend tore-email that entire NFP directory now that I'm more confident. Usingreferences from my current clients, I landed a commercial retail client earlierthis month for a complete web site re-make and a monthly newsletter. Love thenewsletters because they're recurring and hard for a client to stop once theysee the results. 

 

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Peter: Ihave a strategy for writers looking to transition from the article world intocommercial freelancing. I am doing that myself, and when one of my regularclients, a local glossy community magazine, was having trouble coming up withmoney to pay freelancers due to declining ad revenue, I suggested writing somepieces in return for a 1/6 page ad for my commercial business.

 

I had thegraphic designer who did my business cards work up the ad, which she did inonly 45 minutes using elements and a photo we already had, brainstormed some adcopy for myself and turned it in. It's a win-win: I get business and articleexposure in the magazine, the magazine gets good content, and no money changeshands. I've gotten more leads than I expected from the ad, and the first onejust converted into a paying gig. Now I'm looking for other local pubs thatmight want to do the same thing.

 

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V. COFFEE,MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THEWELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FEDWRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- MISSED MYTELECLASS? Full 38-PAGE e-Transcript – Just $12!

- 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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MISSED MYTELECLASS? "Thriving as a Freelance Commercial Writer"

 38-PAGE e-Transcript! $12: www.wellfedwriter.com/jan07tstranscript.shtml.

 

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AWAICOPYWRITING (& OTHER) COURSES: Register Here, Get Your Choice of Bonus CDProgram! Six-Figure Copywriting, Graphic Design, Internet Writing, Fundraising,Health Market 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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