Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

The companion monthly ezine to the quadruple-award-winning how-to guide, “The Well-Fed Writer” (http://www.wellfedwriter.com). 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. 

 

*****************************************

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 7 – JULY 2013

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/july2013.html

 

*****************************************

ATTN: OHIO, OREGON AND CALIFORNIA FREELANCERS & PUBLISHERS!

I've got six events planned this summer, starting in late July, in the above states. For details (which are evolving), visit: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/seminars.shtml

 

*****************************************

WANT TO BUY “THE WELL-FED WRITER” IN BULK (AND SAVE BIG)?

Have a writer’s group, class or workshop? Buy TWFW at a discount, add a profit center to your group! Buy more, save more. Details: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/bulk.shtml

 

*****************************************

PARTNER WITH DESIGNERS FOR A LOW-EFFORT FLOW OF WRITING JOBS!

Details here: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

*****************************************

NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!

Low-cost peace of mind and guidance: http://wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

*****************************************

Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “Instead of Just Sharing What You Do with Clients, Share Who You Are”; “What You Do When You Do What You Do”; “Commercial Writing Has Many Faces (as These Unusual Projects Prove…)”;  & more! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

*****************************************

 

THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. APPETIZER: 4 SHORTCUTS TO COMMERCIAL WRITING SUCCESS

Those Who Do These Will Stand Out as Exceptions in a Sloppy World

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: ANOTHER “PROJECT-RATE” (VS. HOURLY) ADVOCATE!

OH FLCW Builds on June’s Feature with More Strong Reasons to “Go Flat”!

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: The Postcard-Perfect Pitch for Clients

Seasoned Pro Serves up the “How-To” for Direct Mail Prospecting

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

Midwest FLCW “Smiles and Dials,” Gets a Warm Reception (& One Big Gig…So Far!)

TIP: Phoenix FLCW Keeps Beaucoup Jobs Straight with Project-Folder “System”

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

- 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?

 

*****************************************

*****************************************

 

I. APPETIZER: 4 SHORTCUTS TO COMMERCIAL WRITING SUCCESS

Those Who Do These Will Stand Out as Exceptions in a Sloppy World

 

Okay, so I’m not typically big on “success shortcuts,” believing that, generally speaking, there aren’t any. But these come pretty darn close…

 

1) Do What You Say You’re Going to Do: Had a phone call scheduled with a client a few weeks back, and on the appointed day and time, his phone rang and there I was. He said, “Hmmm. You called exactly when you said you were going to call.” Not terribly impressive in my books, but the fact that he’d even notice, points to the relative rarity of professionalism and reliability in the business world. If you deliver, call, show up, etc., when you say you will, you WILL stand out.

 

2) Turn in Clean Work: Nothing like copy with typos and grammatical errors to quickly sour a client on working with you again. And it’s far more common than you’d ever imagine. But it’s so absolutely unnecessary, AND inexcusable. Sure, we all miss one now and then, but make sure it’s just now and then.

 

3) Be Easy to Work With: Clients love to work with people who are not only reliable and good at what they do, but are flexible, uncomplaining, good-natured, and can roll with the punches. Think, “breath of fresh air.” This quality can actually make up for less-than brilliant writing skills. I’ve seen it. Nice, likable, easy-going FLCW’s get more business.

 

4) Look for Opportunities to Reveal Your Ethics: In the current WFW Blog post, I share a story of meeting a guy at a networking event, and was so impressed with a story he told about his business dealings, that I wanted to hire him on the spot (but, alas, didn’t need his services). Clients (like all human beings) want to associate with good people who know right from wrong and live it every day.

 

I’ve said it before: ANYONE—even those just starting out—can deliver the four things above (no experience or bursting portfolio required). And if your portfolio is indeed thin, then you’d be crazy not to capitalize on ANY advantage you have. ‘Nuff said. Let’s eat!

 

*****************************************

*****************************************

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: ANOTHER “PROJECT-RATE” (VS. HOURLY) ADVOCATE!

OH FLCW Builds on June’s Feature with More Strong Reasons to “Go Flat”!

 

Last month, I ran a great piece from Atlanta-area FLCW Don Sadler about the benefits of flat-rate vs. hourly-rate pricing. In its wake, I got the very useful follow-on discussion below from Toledo, OH FLCW Paula Ashley (http://www.nyninc.com). While certainty is a well-known benefit of flat-rate pricing, it bears repeating. I loved her point about “fee murkiness” often leading to fee trimming. How true. Thanks, Paula!

 

*****************************************

Peter: Here’s another key benefit of quoting on a project (vs. hourly) basis: CERTAINTY. My clients appreciate knowing in advance the total cost of a project. To keep them from running off the rails, I provide proposals that specify the number of revisions they can make within the flat rate, and provide a per-hour rate for additional changes.

 

I also specify in the proposal that if the project revisions exceed the number specified in the proposal, they will be apprised of the cost to make additional revisions before I proceed, so that they can approve the upcharge before the cost is incurred.

 

This is better for both the client and me. The client can budget appropriately, and I don’t stress over invoicing when the project’s done. If the client’s final obligation is unclear, my impulse has always been to shave off a bit of the cost, to ensure they’re happy. But what that does is raise expectations about what they’ll get for their investment on future projects, and ultimately, depresses what I can earn for my work.

 

If I put a figure on the table upfront, and the client balks, I can revise the figure downward as needed, typically by adjusting the project deliverables. For example, the client could do the research instead of me, and save themselves several hours worth of my time. I get a reasonable rate for my work, and they get a price they can live with.

 

*****************************************

*****************************************

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: The Postcard-Perfect Pitch for Clients

Seasoned Pro Serves up the “How-To” for Direct Mail Prospecting

 

Got this great piece from veteran copywriter and marketing mentor Marcia Yudkin. She’s the author, most recently, of the short but meaty new ebook, “Freelance Copywriter: Top 10 Ways to Get Your Copywriting Business Off the Ground,” available for just $2.99 on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. Check out her first annual No-Hype Copywriting Telesummit.

 

*****************************************

When I recently tallied up how the novice freelance copywriters I’ve coached landed their first clients, targeted direct mail came in as the second most common method.  I rarely see this recommended these days, as postal mail is viewed as “old school.”  However, it works as well as it ever did, at low cost.

 

When you can identify your ideal client in precise demographic or professional terms, you can obtain lists of them from companies like InfoUSA.com.  Then you create and send a postcard bearing a tempting special offer to at least 100 of those on the list.  Many online postcard companies offer utilities for designing your card online and uploading the list you purchased, so you never even have to address or stamp the cards. 

 

Most of the time, someone calls or emails to take you up on your postcard offer. You’re off and running with your first client, having broken even or better on the cost of the mailing.

 

Your special offer might be making at least five smart suggestions for improving their home page for $99; adapting their web site for brochure copy for $395; writing a newspaper insert for $197; or getting them publicity in their local paper, guaranteed, for $299 (if you don’t succeed, they can get a refund or you’ll try a second time for them).

 

The offer becomes a win-win when it’s priced low enough to seem low-risk for your postcard recipients, when what you’re offering to do is something they already realize they need, when you feel okay about getting your foot in a door for that amount of money, and when the people you’re sending the postcards to most likely need you for additional work beyond that offer.

 

Postcards are superb for carrying your offer because you can make them colorful and eye-catching for very little money, and because recipients always at least glance at a postcard before tossing it.  Some recipients put aside your postcard and call you when they have a free moment to see what else you can do.

 

The postcard method especially suits introverts, who can use it to showcase their creative mastery of headlines and offers while avoiding the making of cold calls.  Protégés of mine have used it to obtain clients in construction, executive recruiting, scientific manufacturing, corporate sales training and other similarly specific niches.  It’s a tiny risk to find out whether it will also work for you.

 

*****************************************

*****************************************

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

Midwest FLCW “Smiles and Dials,” Gets a Warm Reception (& One Big Gig…So Far!)

TIP: Phoenix FLCW Keeps Beaucoup Jobs Straight with Project-Folder “System”

 

An upbeat piece from a Midwest FLCW (who wishes to remain anonymous) about a recent productive foray into phone prospecting. Here’s the thing: don’t count on one or two rounds of cold calling to bring you unlimited work; they usually won’t. It takes a lot of calling and follow-up over time. But the key takeaway here is how receptive people were. Just in case you’re thinking it’ll be the “Meanie Channel” (all meanies, all the time). Not so. After that, a great “staying-organized” tip from AZ FLCW, Christine Bailey (http://christinekbailey.com). I talk about project folders in TWFW, but Christine takes it to a whole new level!

 

*****************************************

I have quite a bit of working-the-phones experience. Back in the day, I had a couple of phone room jobs, I’ve done pledge-drive calls at a community radio station, and I made thousands of cold calls when I was a web designer.

 

Earlier this year, I pivoted from web design to copywriting. So, it was back to my old friend, the telephone. I’ve been calling “Marcom” (marketing communications) people in academia, private industry, and non-profits in my area. And guess what? People are happy to take my calls!

 

I’m amazed at how receptive people are. This never happened during all the years of prospecting for web design clients. I’ve already landed a big project. More appear likely. And I only started marketing my services in the past few months.

 

A Marcom veteran in my city even gave me a bit of sotto voce advice: “There’s a lot of bad writing in this town.” (PB Note: There’s a lot of bad writing in EVERY town). In short, there’s plenty of opportunity for those who create a calling script (or use Peter’s), find a leads list, and start smiling and dialing.

 

*****************************************

As a new FLCW, I had trouble keeping projects straight—copywriting jobs; agency projects; articles for publications; and a travel book and website. Important details were getting lost, and because I was working on so many different projects, I constantly forgot what I needed to do next. I did three things to remedy the problem:

 

1) I created a project checklist that included key details about the assignment: project name, due date, milestones, quote and client contact information. It became the first sheet in the folder, and the document I used to create an invoice at job completion.

 

2) I bought transparent, plastic, colored folders to keep each project separate and organized. Transparent because I could quickly see the client project sheet; and colored because each color represented a different project type.

 

3) I fixed a sticky note to the bottom right corner of each folder. Each time I finished with a project; I wrote the next task on the sticky note. When I picked up the folder the next time (whether an hour or a week later), I knew exactly what needed to be done next.

 

*****************************************

*****************************************

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

- 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?

 

****************************************

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 at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

*****************************************

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 peter@wellfedwriter.com. 100-300 words is great.    

 

*****************************************

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” (200-400 words), TIPS (100-200) and SUCCESS STORIES (150-300) to peter@wellfedwriter.com. Archived issues at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine.shtml. 

 

*****************************************    

The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

 

*****************************************    

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.

 

*****************************************

HOW CAN MY MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?

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

 

*****************************************