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 13, ISSUE 1 – JANUARY 2014 – HAPPY "WELL-FED" NEW YEAR!
Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002  
Read it online HERE.

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NEXT WELL-FED GROUP COACHING SERIES STARTING in FEBRUARY!
Expanded content/program length! Close to half-full already! 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!
My #1 most lucrative marketing strategy since 1994. Details HERE.

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NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!
Low-cost peace of mind and guidance. Details HERE.
 
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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG!
Weigh in on “Why Commercial Writers Earn More than Regular ‘Freelance Writers’”;
“Here’s What Long-Term Freelancers Do to Stay Disciplined. You?”; “Do You React
Like This When You See Something You Wrote Years Ago?”; & More!

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

I. APPETIZER: THREE REASONS COMMERCIAL FREELANCERS STRUGGLE  
Common Stumbling Blocks (& My Upcoming Workshop that Addresses ALL 3!)

II. “FIELD” GREENS: FORMER EXEC. ASST. SHARES SIX COLD-CALLING TIPS
CO FLCW Shares What Works and Doesn’t, & How to “Get Through” More!

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” – A PRIMER (Part 2 of 3)
CO FLCW Explores Who, What, Why and How of New World of “Content.”

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
KC FLCW Listens to Gut, Takes Small Low-Paying Gig, and Wins Big in the End!
TIP: PA FLCW Discovers Valuable Lesson: The World Doesn’t Revolve Around Her!

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: THREE REASONS COMMERCIAL FREELANCERS STRUGGLE  
Common Stumbling Blocks (& My Upcoming Workshop that Addresses ALL 3!)

Over the years, I've spoken to and worked directly with MANY copywriters,
and I see a lot of the same barriers to success showing up.

WEAK WRITING SKILLS: I'll occasionally hear from frustrated
copywriters. They've read my book, built their website, methodically
and religiously marketed their business, and yet, still have little to
show for it. And if I click on over to their site, often, that's the problem:
weak samples. Not enough and/or not that good. Your marketing may
land you clients, but it's unlikely you’ll get repeat business or referrals.

NOT ENOUGH MARKETING: You can be a crackerjack writer, but if you
don't let the world know you're out there you won't get far (though I
give the edge to the good writer/poor marketer over the reverse since
the former can get word-of-mouth going).

UN-SAVVY ABOUT BUSINESS PROCESSES: When you don't know
how business works, how client interaction "looks" and how copywriting
projects unfold, that "blind spot" can leave you fearful and lacking in
confidence to do your prospecting (afraid you won't know what to do
next if you DO land one).

Bottom line, you CAN improve your writing skills through practice,
study (check out copywriters' websites; a big list is on page 70 of
TWFW), finding a mentor, etc. Rereading TWFW can reacquaint you
with the most effective marketing strategies to build a writing business,
and provide those invaluable insights into dealing with clients, managing
project processes, and more. On that note, let's eat!

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SPEAKING OF ALL THAT, if you want to drill down beyond the book to
cover all the above three bases, check out my Well-Fed Group Coaching
series starting on 2/4/14. We'll be discussing a ton of marketing, business
"lay-of-the-land" stuff, AND will spend an entire 90-minute session studying
a bunch of commercial writing samples—how those projects developed,
what constitutes good writing, effective flow, etc. (often the missing piece
for many struggling copywriters). Details HERE.

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: FORMER EXEC. ASST. SHARES SIX COLD-CALLING TIPS
CO FLCW Shares What Works and Doesn’t, & How to “Get Through” More!

Colorado Springs FLCW Connie Schlosberg sent me this wonderful
“inside-info” piece from her days as an Executive Assistant (EA). Good
advice if you’re planning on hitting the phones, and would prefer to
have more success than less…. ;) Thanks, Connie!

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Before I became a full-time writer, I worked as an EA, intercepting callers
for the boss. Some of the callers were successful; most were not.
 
Here are six tips to boost your “get-through” rate:
 
1) IDENTIFY YOURSELF: Every time you call, tell the gatekeeper your
name. I’d OFTEN get calls from people saying, “It’s me. Is John Smith
in?” Me who? I received many calls all day, and quite frankly, you all
sound the same on the phone.

2) TREAT THE GATEKEEPER WITH RESPECT: A lot of callers talked to me as
if I wasn’t very smart or ambitious. EA’s choose the job for a variety
of reasons, and not because they are dumb or inept. Also, assistants
are typically the boss’s right-hand person who has their ear and their
respect. Not smart to offend them.

3) STOP THE SHENANIGANS: Don’t play tricks. A lot of callers would say
they're “returning so-and-so's call” or “calling about the 'XYZ'
project they're working on for the director.” But, most (if not all)
of the time, I knew who was working on what project, and who was doing
business with us. Hint: The EA often doubles as the accounts payable
person and the project manager. Go figure.
 
4) HAVE A CLEAR, CONCISE MESSAGE: Leave a message that states exactly
what you’re looking to do and keep it short. Otherwise, it may very
well end up in the boss’s trash. It’s okay to be nervous, but many
ramble on and never get to the point.
 
5) DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR MESSAGE: I received many calls from
people miffed because I didn’t connect them to the director
immediately, and either hung up or refused to leave a message. As for
the old adage about calling very early or late to avoid the EA’s, it
only works with some managers. Most of them use those odd hours to get
work done, not listen to pitches. No message, no work.
 
6) DON’T ASK FOR TOO MUCH: The assistant’s just as busy as everyone
else. Be considerate and keep any requests to a minimum. One time, a
saleswoman asked me to give her the details on our printers, how much
toner we had on hand, and how much we spent on toner. This time, I was
the one hanging up.

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: “CONTENT MARKETING” – A PRIMER (Part 2 of 3)
CO FLCW Explores Who, What, Why and How of New World of “Content.”

I’m delighted to serve up Part 2 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 in the December, January and
February issues, Matt explains 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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In Part 1 (of 3) of our feature on Content Marketing, we introduced
you to the basic concepts. Here, in Part 2, we’ll discuss the
different kinds of content. In corporate-speak, these are called
“Content Assets” or a “Content Inventory”.

THE FRONT LINE – HOOK ‘EM!

These assets are the first a prospective buyer will see. They’re free
to visitors (i.e., they don’t have to provide name or email to access them).


1) CORPORATE/PERSONAL BLOGS – A blog is where a company or
individual “thought leader” can establish an ongoing conversation with
an online community. Think of a blog as your content hub, including
written posts, content curated from other sites, press, and guest
posts from industry friends. Search engines love blogs that are
updated frequently and get lots of views for each update.

TIP: Stars from the sales organization are great sources for blog
postings. Take one to lunch once a month; these folks love to talk.

EXTRA TIP: Install a blog-discussion tool like DISQUS to let outsiders
comment.

2) TIP SHEETS – Like digital brochures: Short one-pagers available for download.

TIP: Lists make for great Tip Sheets. For example, “The top 3
questions you should ask before buying new accounting software.”

3) VIDEO – Video is becoming more widely used than ever. Many
prospects will watch a quick video before they’ll download a case
study. Animated or live-action videos both work well, and search
engines love video.

TIP: Video is also easy to make a mess of. If you have zero experience
with it, find a good video production partner in your area.

4) SOCIAL MEDIA – Like store display windows, Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube and Linkedin can be effective in catching prospects’ attention
early in the process.

TIP: Whenever you publish any content, pitch it on all of your social
media outlets.

THE ENGAGED PROSPECT – HELP ‘EM LEARN!

Got an interested prospect? It’s time to engage. Make these content
assets “gated” (i.e., you ask for at least name and email address in return).


1) WEBINARS – Like an online conference that each participant
experiences remotely through a service like Go-To-Meeting. It’s
typically one way, from the speaker to an audience. Lunch-hour
Webinars are popular. Invite an industry thought leader or customer to
participate as a presenter to add an extra element.

TIP: My rule for Webinar PowerPoint decks: 10 slides, max. One point per slide.

2) E-BOOKS/WHITE PAPERS - Authoritative reports/guides addressing
common industry issues or problems and how to solve them. They’re used
to educate readers and help them make decisions, but aren’t pitchy.
The difference between an E-book and a white paper is largely stylistic.

A white paper (8-12 pages) plays it straight, and is usually geared
towards a technically specific audience. E-books are as long or longer
than a white paper, but with an engaging theme, appealing design, and
layout dominated by bold text, callouts, and often imbedded
links/video clips. For these “readability-enhancing” reasons, E-books
are quickly becoming the favored longer-document format.  

TIP: Promote these beefy assets EVERYWHERE, including as hard copies
at trade show tables.

3) CASE STUDIES – The term “Customer Success Story” is widely
replacing Case Study as a descriptor, as most of these pieces will
tell the story of a customer experience that turned out GREAT. Done
well, case studies have some drama and create a human, emotional link
between you and your prospects.

TIP: Talk more about actual people you’ve helped than data.

Other possible components of a CM strategy include web copy, emails,
landing pages, forms, banners, and FAQs. While all these content types
have become widely accepted, there’s still space for creativity! I’m
helping a client produce a monthly variety show as part of his CM strategy.

Bottom line, there’s lots of work for a trusted writer here. Mastering these
forms will only make you more valuable to a client embarking on a CM journey.

In Part 3 of the series, we will introduce a system to help develop a
production calendar for a Content Marketing strategy.

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
KC FLCW Listens to Gut, Takes Small Low-Paying Gig, and Wins Big in the End!
TIP: PA FLCW Discovers Valuable Lesson: The World Doesn’t Revolve Around Her!

Great success story from KC, MO FLCW Jim Meadows, about not dismissing
“less-than-promising-looking” gigs out of hand.
They don’t all turn
out like this one, but it’s more common than you might imagine. After
that, a great story/tip from East Stroudsburg, PA FLCW Roseanne
Bottone
reminding us that, well, it’s not all about us!

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As a freelance corporate writer, I’ve always been careful about not
underselling myself. But, stay open to opportunities that might not
look lucrative initially, if your seasoned intuition is saying
something different. That’s exactly what happened to me recently.

I responded to an ad for freelancers. The company was an
advertising/marketing agency specializing in providing online content
to technology clients. My contact initially offered me a small content
writing project, but at a small fraction of my normal fee.

Normally, in these situations, I’d reaffirm my quality, capabilities,
and rates, and politely walk away. In this case, due to the agency’s
client range and nature of the work, I took a calculated risk to get
my foot in the door, and accepted the job and the low pay.

Just to be clear, this was a very small gig that didn’t take a lot of
time. No additional work immediately followed that first project. But,
I was in the door, and the agency saw the high quality of my work. If
nothing ever came of it, I’d invested little.

A year later, my agency contact left and all the agency’s freelancers
were introduced to the replacement, who asked me to refresh my
portfolio (including my earlier piece for the agency). A short time
later, the new contact decided I was perfect for several upcoming
projects. Without pulling punches, I easily negotiated a top-dollar
fee. I'm now involved in several additional projects and have had no
problem getting my full rate.

Maintain your rates and your confidence. Run from prospects not
willing to pay you for your talent, but stay open to opportunities
when your intuition tells you to take a risk. You never know where it
might lead.

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My cousin, friendly with the CEO of a large association, volunteered
to hand-deliver to him a package of my writing samples and
personalized cover letter. Because of the specialized nature of his
work and my related educational background and experience, it was
likely he and I had met in the past. I asked him to keep me in mind
for future writing needs. No response. Not even a quick e-mail saying,
“Thanks, but no thanks.”

Fast-forward a few months. At a holiday gathering, I expressed to my
cousin my surprise and disappointment about his lack of a response.
She replied, “Oh, I meant to tell you. He LOVED your materials and
mentioned several times that he intends to get back to you. It’s just
that he recently had a kidney transplant and he’s not up and running yet.”

An organ transplant? Geez, I never thought of that possibility! But I
did waste a lot of time worrying about whether or not my work was good
enough. The bottom line: don’t spend your emotional energy trying to
figure out what’s in someone else’s head. There are a million reasons
why you may never hear a peep regarding your submissions, and most of
those reasons are not about you or the quality of your writing.

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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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