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 10, ISSUE 6 – JUNE 2011

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/june2011.html

 

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COMING THURSDAY, 6/9! “PROFITABLE – BY DESIGN!” (EBOOK)

Everything you need to know about partnering with designers to dramatically boost your income. Sneak preview: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin! Weigh in on “Stories Like This Prove Big Companies Don’t Always Have Their Act Together,” “Turning Kind Deeds to Writing Income: Helping Funeral Homes Minister to Families,” and more. Check it out and weigh in at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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“THE WELL-FED WRITER” (2010 EDITION) HAS WON FOUR AWARDS!

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

 

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I NEED YOUR SHORT (100-200 words) SUCCESS STORIES for the E-PUB!

Landed a great client? Had a successful marketing campaign? Done something else that boosted your FLCW income? Send them to peter@wellfedwriter.com. 

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. APPETIZER: GOT A DESIGN PARTNER?

Teaming Offers Clients Same (or Better!) Work for Far Less Than Pricey Agencies!

(New Ebook on Maximizing Partnership Model Coming Thursday!)

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: IS ILLUSTRATION IN YOUR MARKETING ARSENAL?

My Fave Illustrator Shares How Good Illustration Can Improve Any Commercial Project

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: SCRABBLING FOR BUSINESS??

NYC FLCW Shares Fun Story: “How I Finally Got on the Board with Social Marketing”

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

New FLCW Keeps Cool, Avoids Quoting Hourly, Shoots High, Lands First Gig!

TIP: Marketing Pro Says Quit Hunting for the “Best” Strategy; Just Pick a “Good” One!

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

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

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

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

- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I. APPETIZER: GOT A DESIGN PARTNER?

Teaming Offers Clients Same (or Better!) Work for Far Less Than Pricey Agencies!

 (NEW EBOOK ON MAXIMIZING PARTNERSHIP MODEL COMING THURSDAY!)

 

I’m working on yet another project with one of my favorite graphic design partners. Our client has plenty of money, and could certainly hire a tony agency if they wanted, but they like us and LOVE the work we do for them. AND they know the superior results they get from us come at a fraction of what an agency would charge.

 

Everyone’s looking to save money these days, and sure, that can hurt FLCW’s like us when our clients pull the work they’ve been farming out to us, in house, to save a few bucks. But, just as often, companies that’ve been using a pricier agency are great prospects for a talented and far more cost-effective writer/designer team. Two caveats:

 

1) They have to know about you! Bottom line, there’s a lot of potential work out there, but it’s hidden, because that client is currently “spoken for” by some agency, larger design firm or marketing company. Yet, an approach selling them on the same or superior results at far lower cost (something I and my design partners have been routinely delivering to our clients for years) can absolutely get someone’s attention. And…

 

2) You both have to have the chops to be able to deliver those better outcomes. Though, just for the record, from beaucoup experience, a lot of stuff I’ve seen come out of agencies is none too impressive, often because there are “more cooks in the kitchen.”

 

So, build those alliances with designers, and keep these ideas in mind as you prospect on your own, or with a designer. And incidentally, summer – often a slower time for folks like us – can be a great time to get those ducks in a row (i.e., building partnerships, doing your prospecting, etc.), in advance of businesses cranking back up in the fall.

 

Oh, and speaking of which (grin), look for the release of my new ebook on this very subject, “Profitable – By Design!” this coming Thursday, 6/9: For more details, visit

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

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: IS ILLUSTRATION IN YOUR MARKETING ARSENAL?

My Fave Illustrator Shares How Good Illustration Can Improve Any Commercial Project

 

In our world, we’re used to thinking in terms of writing, design and photography, but rarely illustration. Not sure why that is, given that illustration can give a business piece a compelling, eyeball-grabbing edge. Who knows? Maybe it goes back to our love of cartoons as kids. I’ve long wanted to introduce Robbie Short, my favorite illustrator (http://www.robbieshort.com; robbie@robbieshort.com) to you guys. With an eye, of course, towards planting the seed on how he can make your work even stronger.  

 

Of course, Robbie’s the guy behind the fun illustrations on the home pages of both http://www.wellfedwriter.com and http://www.titletailor.com. They add some fun and whimsy, while still allowing the sites to convey professionalism and substance. Check out his site and his words below; maybe they’ll get your wheels turning.

 

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Ever considered illustration with your writing? Whether one large picture to set a tone, or several pieces of spot art throughout, illustration can add value to your work. 

 

The right imagery can liven up an otherwise dry topic. When describing something tangible, say, car repair, the art you include can illustrate a particular procedure, a worst-case scenario to avoid, or even an absurd or whimsical situation to add some humor.

 

Intangible subjects you can’t see or hold are perfect for using illustration to convey abstract concepts, such as life insurance. Humor is a great tool for adding interest and lightening the overall tone of an otherwise serious piece of writing.

 

For a magazine article about nuclear power safety inspections, I once created an inspector character with a large magnifying glass. Spot illustrations of him in different inspection situations appeared throughout the article, breaking up the copy and adding color and a bit of humor. Photography just wouldn’t have had the same impact. 

 

Writers, like artists, are just different, and from time to time, will come up with edgy, bizarre, or just plain goofy concepts that scream, “illustration”! This makes me happy.

 

PB: Besides being a great artist, Robbie’s unusually creative. For the icons on TWFW home page, I rarely knew exactly what I wanted, only what it needed to convey, and typically he nailed it first time. When he didn’t, he was always gracious and patient until we got it right. AND exceptionally reasonable. So, how might you put him to work?

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: SCRABBLING FOR BUSINESS??

NYC FLCW Shares Fun Story: “How I Finally Got on the Board with Social Marketing”

 

Got this fun, offbeat, yet substantive piece about a unique approach to social media that led to work. Alan Zoldan (www.a2zmicromarketing.com) is a NYC-area copywriter who, “stays up late in his never-ending quest to keep current with emerging marketing trends – or just to play Scrabble and read cool stuff on his iPad.” Enjoy!

 

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There are dozens of good ways to promote your freelance copywriting business. In fact, a February article on http://www.freelanceswitch.com shared a bunch (once there, search for “110 Ideas to Get More Freelance Work and Generate New Client Leads”), more than enough to try if your phone hasn’t exactly been ringing off the hook.  

 

Most of us who’ve been toiling in the marketplace for a while know the drill: periodic email or e-newsletter promotions; offering a free report to build your mailing list; postcards, clever ad specialty items, and even the oft-dreaded cold call. The idea is to get your name out there – “there” being before the eyeballs of your highest-value prospects and industries.  

 

All this is easier said than done of course, but there is a magnificent motivator here: you want to stay in business for yourself. Your “in pocket” main client of today may not be your client next year – or even next week. As one of my first mentors in advertising always emphasized: A.B.M – ALWAYS BE MARKETING.  

 

I recently had the exciting experience of connecting to a new client in a most interesting way – while playing Scrabble via Facebook in one of the many “public games.” As I often do, I checked out my opponent’s Facebook profile in-between turns.

 

Bingo – and I don’t mean the 50-point bonus one gets in Scrabble for using all seven tiles. My fellow gamer owned an integrated marketing agency in Chicago. This was a first. While I generally peruse Facebook profiles just out of idle curiosity, in this case, I happened to discover a bona fide prospect.

 

We started chatting, and once I eased her understandable concern about how I happened to know of her professional affiliation, location, etc., she also found our professional similarity intriguing and was quite agreeable to learning more about me (cue up http://a2zmicromarketing.com website and e-brochure). Long story short, she liked what she saw and promised to share my information with her creative team.

 

A few weeks later, I landed a substantial first project. Looking back at this serendipitous online encounter was an object lesson on the “rules” of social media marketing:

 

1) I was not overtly trying to sell anything to her, at least not initially. We were merely pursuing a mutual interest.

 

2) I noted our professional affinity simply because it was right there on Facebook (and LinkedIn too) and ran with it. As the ubiquitous credit card marketers would say, my prospect was pre-qualified.

 

3) The medium positively affected my message. Although she and I were just two Scrabble players involved in our first game, we were – at least in some way – involved. Rapport preceded the selling effort.  

 

The downside of “Scrabble Marketing” is that it is not easily repeatable. I could easily play another 100 games without finding another “pre-qualified” prospect, but guess what? It doesn’t really matter to me all that much – because I love playing Scrabble.

 

What I’m trying to say is that it does not behoove us to use every self-promotional tactic in the book. Most of us chose the freelance life because of the autonomy and the freedom to be ourselves, so I say: be yourself! The more “fun” your marketing efforts are, the more happily you’ll do them. And I’ve never heard anyone claim how much fun cold-calling is. Like they say, if you truly enjoy what you do every day, you’ll never work a day in your life.

 

Lying down in bed playing Scrabble?? Sure doesn’t sound like work to me! And, just for the record, my new client is a very talented Scrabble player who pounded me in our first game (and several times since) – except that I kind of won, too. The metrics of social media marketing remain a tough nut to crack.

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

New FLCW Keeps Cool, Avoids Quoting Hourly, Shoots High, Lands First Gig!

TIP: Marketing Pro Says: Quit Hunting for the “Best” Strategy; Just Pick a “Good” One!

 

Cool out-of-the-gate success story from a FLCW who prefers to remain anonymous (given the details shared). Some good lessons here: including, not quoting hourly rates; and stretching a bit in what you think you can charge. Remember, assuming you’re working with good clients, our field just pays better than most writing avenues.

 

After that, a great installment (12/22/10) of Marcia Yudkin’s (one of my fave copywriting/marketing gurus) Marketing Minutes (to subscribe, visit http://www.yudkin.com/markmin.htm). I get the “best” question all the time, from commercial writers looking for the “best” way to do just about anything. Never understood why it bugged me, but Marcia nailed it. Great message. Put another way: Perfection is the enemy of good. Find a good way to get where you’re going, and that’s typically enough. Enjoy!

 

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After going out on my own in April, a Facebook friend referred me to her boss who was looking for a freelance writer for his company’s monthly web-based newsletter. 

 

His initial inquiry, via email, asked for my hourly rate. I resisted, thinking back to what I had learned from you and Bob Bly. I calmly (on the outside) wrote back that I quote a flat fee for a project after we discuss the scope and details of what he’s looking for. Much to my surprise, he agreed and we set up a phone call for the following week.

 

Over the weekend, I came up with a ballpark figure I thought was reasonable based on his past web articles. Monday morning, with a nervous stomach and pounding heart, I called him. We chatted about the project and I casually tossed out the ballpark figure, emphasizing that I’d give him a firm written proposal, including a set dollar amount, if he agreed to proceed. “That sounds doable,” he said, as my heart jumped for joy. I wrote the proposal and two days later he accepted all my terms and my firm quote. 

 

Needless to say, I was overjoyed at landing my first “big” assignment and stretching WAY out of my comfort zone.  Getting that first “yes” gives me the confidence I can repeat the process with the next prospect. Thanks, Peter, for the mentoring, for teaching me to not sell myself (or my services) short and to believe I can achieve. 

 

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From 12/22/10 installment of Marcia Yudkin’s Marketing Minute:  

 

“I need help figuring out the best way to position myself.”

“What’s the best way to contact CEOs who don’t know me?”

“I’m looking for the best location for my seminar.”

 

When I hear questions like these from clients, I halt the discussion and shine a spotlight on the word “best.”

 

It’s natural to want the best. Who wants to spend energy on something second rate or less than optimal? However, most of the time the questioners don’t have a solid set of

criteria for “best” or a method of determining what sits at the pinnacle, only an assumption that one answer towers above the others.

 

“You actually don’t need the best,” I say. ”One that works very well does the trick. If there are two that get the job done, either one is fine.” There’s usually a silence as the client processes that surprising point.

 

“There is no ‘best’?”

 

“It’s not useful to hunt for it,” I reply. “Let’s choose an excellent option and go on to the next step.” Don’t waste time and effort chasing a myth.

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

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

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

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

- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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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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MISSED MY TELECLASS? “Thriving as a Freelance Commercial Writer”

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

 

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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?

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

 

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