NOTE: This month, I’m sending out the E-PUB on the first Wednesday instead of the first Tuesday, to steer clear of the "new-year-and-day-after-the-holiday-weekend" email crush! Normal schedule will resume next month.

 

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 11, ISSUE 1 – JANUARY 2012 – HAPPY “WELL-FED” NEW YEAR! 

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/jan2012.html

 

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FEBRUARY 2012 WELL-FED GROUP COACHING SERIES FILLING UP FAST!

Ready to take your FLCW biz to the next level? Want to boost your confidence, clarity and focus? This’ll get you there. But, don’t take my word for it. Check out all the details AND pretty potent testimonials at http://wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml

 

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25% OFF SALE EXTENDED ON “PARTNERING WITH DESIGNERS” EBOOK!

Until Friday, 1/6/12! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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JOIN ME ON F.R.E.E. CALL ON “FREELANCE WRITERS DEN,” TOMORROW!

1/5/12 at 12 PST (3 EST); “Making It as a Commercial Writer.” Log in (at start time) here: https://caroltice.webex.com/caroltice/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=667171730  

 

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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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WELL-FED WRITER BLOG Post Earns “Best Articles for Writers 2011” Honors!

Check out 11/8/11 post at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog (“One Big Reason Why Commercial Writing…”); http://www.makealivingwriting.com/2011/12/30/articles-year/ 

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. WELCOME APPETIZER: “WELL-FED” GOLDEN YEARS?

Invest In (Cash) Cows Now For Greener Retirement Pastures Later!

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: GOT YOUR NETWORKING MOJO WORKING?

CA FLCW Racks Up $26K+ from Leads Groups, and Shares Her Strategies!  

 

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

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

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

CA FLCW Runs Cheap LinkedIn Ad, Lands Writing Gig, Serves Up the “How-to”!

TIP: Cool Videos Offer Powerful Marketing Punch (and Finder’s Fee for You!)

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- NEXT WELL-FED GROUP COACHING SERIES STARTS FEBRUARY 2012!

- 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. WELCOME APPETIZER: “WELL-FED” GOLDEN YEARS?

Invest In (Cash) Cows Now For Greener Retirement Pastures Later!

 

I ran this piece in January 2003, and thought it was worth an encore. Regular investing is one of the things freelancers often let slide – and to their future detriment. I started with my financial planner pretty late (roughly 15 years ago), and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Investing is a habit now; my monthly investments are no more optional than my mortgage payment or cell phone bill. And that's the way it should be.  

With my planner’s help, and driven by my
goals, time frames, and overall risk tolerance, I set up and continue to fund (through automatic monthly contributions) my own retirement plan as well as other investment vehicles. I am virtually immune to "hot stock tips," cutting-edge gas lease programs and other "ground-floor" opportunities. In boring, predictable fashion, I just stay the course, month after month, year after year.     

Needless to say, the last few years have been brutal on most investment portfolios, but I sleep well anyway. Through regular systematic investing, I’m buying shares in several mutual funds, which diversifies my risk and does what's known as "dollar cost averaging." When those share prices take a hit, which they’ve certainly done of late, my fixed investment every month buys more shares. My planner explains the concept through "The Cow Story," a fun and illustrative tale. Here's the short version:

At his advisor’s urging, a man invests in cows at $100/month. In Month #1, cows are selling for $100 each, so his investment buys one cow. An article the next month claims e-coli from cows has caused an epidemic. Cow prices drop to $50. His advisor urges him to buy two cows. His $200 investment is now worth $150 (3 x $50), a -25% return.

 

Next month, mad cow disease rages nationwide. Price: $25. Advisor: Buy more. Four cows this time. His $300 investment is now worth $175 (7 x $25), a -42% return. Next month, a top medical journal claims beef causes cancer. Price: $10. Advisor: Keep investing. Ten more cows. His $400 is now worth $170 (17 x $10), a -57% return.

No bad OR good news the next month. Price: Still $10. Buy 10 more, says the advisor. His $500 investment is now worth $270 (27 x $10), yielding a -46% return.

 

Next month, the epidemic subsides and the bovine link is debunked. Price: $25. Four more cows. His $600 investment is now worth $775 (31 x $25), a +29% return. By the next month, mad cow disease is considered a fluke. Price: $50. Two more cows. His $700 investment is now worth $1650 (33 x $50), a +136% return.  


A month later, a beef study shows beef actually reduces colon cancer. Price: $100. One more cow. His $800 investment is now worth $3400 (34 x $100), a +325% return.

 

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Note the price never rose above its original level but he still enjoys a 325% return. THAT’S “Dollar Cost Averaging.” If you’re not investing regularly, I urge you to make a New Year’s resolution to do so – now. Well-fed writing doesn't just mean eating well today or next month. There’s no reason it can’t mean writing for a living and still carving out a comfortable retirement. And on that comforting note, let’s eat!  

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: GOT YOUR NETWORKING MOJO WORKING?

CA FLCW Racks Up $26K+ from Leads Groups, and Shares Her Strategies!

 

I periodically run an “Easy Web Tip” from CA-based web optimization/SEO pro Katherine Andes (http://www.andesandassociates.com to subscribe). Her stuff is always quick and useful – the kind of stuff that can make you look really smart in front of a client. Here she shares how she’s tapped leads groups for some serious writing income. Enjoy!

 

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My experience with leads group has been very helpful for my business. Three years ago, I joined a small local group. The group is tiny, so I didn’t get much work at first. But after a while things got better; so far, I’ve made over $15,000 with that group.

 

About two years ago, a member in that original group took me to a larger group in a nearby city. I enjoyed the meeting, but didn’t apply to join because, 1) I was intimidated, 2) The fee was $1000 a year, and 3) I was stupid.

 

As I became more successful, I got over being intimidated. So earlier this year, I joined the bigger group. I figured in a year, I’d at least earn back my $1,000 investment. Well, that was six months ago, and I’ve earned over $11K! And more work is in the pipeline.

 

In a leads group, only one category of business is allowed per member (i.e., one attorney, one writer, one insurance person, one jewelry store, etc.) The idea is that members refer business to one another, and they do business with one another.

 

Each week we introduce ourselves and give out any leads we have. It’s great practice for refining your elevator speech (and mixing it up, so it doesn’t sound canned). Periodically, you get the opportunity to speak, allowing you to show off your expertise to a roomful of potential buyers who already know and like you.

 

I promote myself as a writer who specializes in web content development and search engine optimization. Occasionally, I mention that I do other kinds of writing like press releases, but mostly I stick to the web side of my business.

 

Now I’m planning on joining a breakfast leads group in an even larger city nearby. It’s another $1000 a year, but I figure I have nothing to lose. Except a little sleep.

 

To find a leads group in your area, search for “executive association” + “Name of your city.” You might also try the international association BNI (http://www.bni.com).

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” 101 (Part 2 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 and info-rich piece, I turned it into a two-parter. Last month (archived at http://wellfedwriter.com/ezine/dec2011.html), she discussed what content marketing is, how she got started and established her practice, and how you can land work in this lucrative space. In this issue, she discusses how to sell a company on outsourcing their content marketing initiatives. Good stuff – enjoy!

 

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PART TWO: How To Prove The Value Of Outsourcing Content Marketing

 

As companies focus on search engine optimization and less on traditional media, there will be more opportunities for writers who understand content strategy and marketing. As Mike Stelzner shows in his book “Launch,” giving away quality content is a key marketing strategy for today’s businesses.

 

While most business owners don’t have the time to do it themselves, they DO need to be involved in the process of brainstorming what content to create and how best to share it. I help them develop this strategy and I also develop the content.  

 

Here are a few ways I help a client understand what’s going on when they hand over the keys to content marketing:

 

1) WE COMMUNICATE REGULARLY VIA PHONE, INSTANT MESSAGE OR EMAIL. I have to know what’s going on in my clients’ businesses to make their content effective.

 

2) WE HAVE A WORKING EDITORIAL CALENDAR. I treat each of my clients like an editor does a magazine. I look at their promotions, events and seasons as opportunities to engage with the audience.

 

3) I TROLL FOR CONTENT MARKETING IDEAS AND RUN THEM BY THE CLIENT. I scan news sites, competitor blogs/sites, the HARO query feed and industry magazine editorial calendars for ideas to contribute or create timely content of interest to clients.

 

4) I ALWAYS REFER CUSTOMER SERVICE ISSUES TO THE CLIENTS. For instance, if I’m managing a Facebook page, I’ll ask about the appropriate response to the complaint or question and put the Facebooker in direct contact with my client.

 

5) I ALWAYS LAY OUT A CONTENT STRATEGY SPREADSHEET. It’s updated each week with results and placements of content (guest blogs, Technorati, Slideshare, etc.). I help my clients secure placements of original content (not just a recycled blog post) by developing relationships with other bloggers, businesses and online communities. The document is shared in either a Google Doc or in a Dropbox folder. I think a client should always understand and know what’s being said about their business. 

 

The best advice to any FLCW looking to expand into content marketing? Be aware of what’s happening in the markets you want to serve. I specialize in technology, foodservice and healthcare and understand what works (and doesn’t) in content marketing for these industries. I also always work my network and offer a free consultation on the front end. I may not get a project, but I almost always make a contact that will help me get business down the road.

 

I’d love to chat with anyone looking for advice on expanding beyond simple writing projects. I love creating the strategy more than I love creating the content. It’s rewarding to help a company see success from their online efforts, especially when they go from not knowing what a blog is to seeing it put them ahead of the competition.

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

CA FLCW Runs Cheap LinkedIn Ad, Lands Writing Gig, Serves Up the “How-to”!

TIP: Cool Videos Offer Powerful Marketing Punch (and Finder’s Fee for You!)

 

Got this nifty LinkedIn success story from Encinitas, CA FLCW Louise Julig (http://www.louisejulig.com, http://www.linkedin.com/in/louisejulig), about landing a gig through a LI ad. Following that, a cool marketing tool that could make you a few bucks! 

 

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I recently landed a case study for a tech firm via a LinkedIn ad. I have a premium account with LI, and as a thank-you, they sent me a $75 credit for a small, two-line ad (in the right-hand corner of pages). I’d recently copyedited a book about LI (Neal Schaffer’s “Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing”; highly recommended), so I reviewed the chapter on how to run an ad effectively, and went through the steps.

 

You only get 100 characters for these ads (title: 25; body: 75; my experience writing tweets paid off). I ended up with: “Need customer stories? I speak Geek—I can interview your clients and write their story. Ask me how.” I used LI’s options for targeting the ad to specific job titles, geographic areas, industries, and LI Groups (I figured people in Groups are more active users, and more likely to respond). The first day the ad ran, I got a response, I sent them a proposal, and the assignment’s now successfully completed.

 

Although that’s the only job from the ad so far, since I set the link to the ad to go to my LI profile, I can look at the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” stats (a feature of a premium account) and get a good sense of who at least clicked on the ad, and the companies they’re with. If they’re on Twitter, I follow them, and can interact to build a relationship, which may lead to future business. I wouldn’t have thought of investing in a LinkedIn ad before, but after this success, (and a great ROI even if I were paying for the ad) I will probably refine it and run it again soon.

 

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I believe in being a great resource for my clients, and turning them on to things I can’t do.  I recently came across a company (http://www.ImpactMovie.com) doing some really cool, clean, short (often animated) marketing videos. Fun, informative, they draw you in and keep you watching, and that spells “marketing impact.” Check out their portfolio at http://angelvisiontech.com/#/ClientSamples (then “Sample Impact Movies” and then the “Client Sample Movies” tab; I like the “Chiquita To Go” piece…).  

 

Keep them on your radar when you cross paths with companies carrying a novel product whose benefits they want to showcase; or those with a product/service requiring a step-by-step process, and wanting to show how easy it is, etc. And, the umbrella company, AngelVision Tech (http://www.angelvisiontech.com), according to the president, Jeff Otis, will pay a $500 finder’s fee if you refer a prospect that converts. Check it out!     

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- NEXT WELL-FED GROUP COACHING SERIES STARTS FEBRUARY 2012!

- 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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NEXT WELL-FED GROUP COACHING SERIES STARTS FEBRUARY 2012!

Slots are filling fast for series #9 of Well-Fed Group Coaching starting 2/8/12. Don’t believe me, read the testimonials from past participants about their experiences AND results: http://wellfedwriter.com/groupcoachingtestimonials.shtml

 

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MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook 25% Off ONLY Until Friday, 1/6/12!

Thanks to some juicy partnerships with graphic designers, I’ve gotten 1-2 jobs virtually every month for 15 years with little effort on my part. And all the how-to details are 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 MENTORING SERVICE SERVE YOU? IN NEW WAYS!!

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

 

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