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. 

 

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VOLUME 11, ISSUE 1 – MAY 2012 – Our 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY! 

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/may2012.html

 

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ATTN: ATLANTA & THE WORLD; THREE WORKSHOPS IN MAY & JUNE!

I’ll be delivering three workshops (two “virtual” and one live) over the next few months. Check out the Non-Fiction Writers Conference, the Self-Publishing Online Conference, and a workshop in Atlanta. Details: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/seminars.shtml.   

 

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“WARM EMAIL PROSPECTING” PROGRAM NOW LIVE!

Ed Gandia’s killer program promises to make prospecting less stressful, more profitable, and end the “feast-or-famine” cycle: http://warmemailprospecting.com/dap/a/?a=189

     

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

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

 

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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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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. WELCOME APPETIZER: A PILE OF BUSY COMMERCIAL WRITERS!

Happy Trends: Yours Truly Hearing from More & More Overloaded FLCW’s

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: THERE'S MONEY IN TESTI(MONI)ALS!

Chicago FLCW Reminds Us How Testimonials Help Set Us Apart

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: MISSING AN EASY EXTRA INCOME STREAM?

WA Design Freelancer Serves Up a Smart Alternative Freelance Scenario

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

IA FLCW Lands Work From First Cold Call Ever Made (Two Years/2300 Calls Ago!)

TIP: OR FLCW Shares Demo for Low-Cost Contact Management (CM) Program

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- 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: A PILE OF BUSY COMMERCIAL WRITERS!

Happy Trends: Yours Truly Hearing from More & More Overloaded FLCW’s

 

Happily, I’ve been hearing from a LOT more FLCW’s out there, telling me how busy they are. In the Dessert course of this issue, you’ll hear from a woman who’s landed so much work from her cold-calling efforts that she’s working most every weekend.

 

I’ve got a friend right here in Atlanta, who’s been a somewhat unintentional FLCW for six years. She was let go from her position as director of corporate communications for a $1 billion real estate development firm in 2006. She started freelancing to make ends meet, while still searching for another full-time position.

 

Somewhere along the way, she stopped looking for that job, realizing that doing so would mean a serious reduction in her now-exponentially enhanced quality of life. It’s a common tale. Anyway, she’s been absolutely buried of late, almost unhealthily so, but chuckles at all the “times-are-tough-for-writers” talk out there.

 

Course, the fact that she teaches a few business communications classes at a local university each week, AND is building another business at the same time, adds to her crush (ladies, if you use minerals make-up, check out her new product, which slowly but surely, is getting traction; www.mineralsmate.com).

 

Same “too-busy” story from another writer, this one a woman in Ohio, whose story will appear in a future E-PUB. She wrote to ask what she could do about being so busy, she’s working all the time, had to cancel a weekend trip, etc.

 

After sharing a scenario I suspect many would swap for, she said: “Truth is, there is a ton of work out there. I don’t think there’s ever been a better time for writers. But you and I both know the work doesn’t fall in your lap. It takes effort to get the ball rolling.”

 

Yes it does. I recently got an email from someone who’d read my book, but then tried to build his business on the online jobs sites (a.k.a. Bottom-Feeder Central) and content mills (i.e., the $5-per-article writing ghettos out there). AND wrote asking how a writer could make a living when he had to compete with that.

 

Well, you can make a living because, in our field, you’re NOT competing with that. You’re not bidding on job sites, where the jobs are few and the writers many (a recipe for bargain-basement rates). We’re out there, ferreting out the work, because well-paying jobs aren’t advertised.

 

We’re developing stronger, more varied skills that thousands of other writers don’t have, so we can stand out. Yes, all that takes a lot more effort, but as all these stories illustrate, it can pay off in spades. On that happy note, let's eat!

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: THERE'S MONEY IN TESTI(MONI)ALS!

Chicago FLCW Reminds Us How Testimonials Help Set Us Apart

 

Got this great piece about the power of testimonials from veteran Chicago freelancer Jennifer Brown Banks, pro blogger at http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/, columnist at www.technorati.com, and managing editor of http://Coffeehouseforwriters.com. If you’re not pursuing client testimonials as you should, this’ll help get those efforts on track!

 

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In today’s competitive writing climate, while strong skills and an impressive resume and portfolio are essential, savvy writers know they need every advantage they can get. Unique, well-crafted testimonials posted to your site, when combined with other marketing strategies, can give you that competitive edge, while boosting your credibility and your bottom line. Why they’re effective:

 

Choosing a service provider can be daunting. With so many writers offering similar services, and (in a tough economy), writing buyers want to know:

 

1) Why should I choose you to create my marketing communications materials?

2) What are your creative strengths?

3) What separates you from the competition?

 

Testimonials can answer those questions, giving clients greater confidence in hiring you.

Here are 3 Tips to greater success through testimonials:

 

1. BE CONVINCING: Show your "swagger". Provide a variety of strong, impressive statements that speak volumes about the diversity of your assignments, client base and competencies.

 

2. BE STRATEGIC: Take control. Many clients may be happy to sing your praises, but may have grueling schedules or an inability to express themselves well enough on paper to adequately prepare a testimonial that truly highlights your true worth.

 

The solution? Ask to do it for them. Have them complete a satisfaction survey, or give them “guided” questions to identify your strengths and distinguishing qualities as a service provider. Once completed, submit for their review and approval.

 

3. BE SPECIFIC: The more detailed, the better. For example, if you create Web content, an effective testimonial might reflect the percentage of increased traffic your "great articles" have generated, or gains in readership for your client's site.  

 

Note: With ghostwriting projects, writers may be unable to reveal the identity of clients served (particularly high-profile ones). In these cases, including initials and a title adds authenticity, while maintaining confidentiality. 

 

When done well, testimonials are a cost-effective way to "work smarter, not harder," and get more visibility with minimal effort and expense.

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: MISSING AN EASY EXTRA INCOME STREAM?

WA Design Freelancer Serves Up a Smart Alternative Freelance Scenario

 

Always love getting stuff from Ferndale, WA designer (and former FLCW) Mike Klassen (http://www.mikeklassen.com). Mike’s the author of: “Increase Sales & Build Deeper Connections: Maximizing Your Content to Boost Sales and Generate Better-Quality Leads” (download at no charge at above link). Here, Mike reminds us that there are other ways to get in the door of clients who don’t have the budget to hire us. Enjoy!

 

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I'm eight years into my freelance career. But it was only in the last year that it occurred to me that if I'm skilled enough to handle projects for clients, I'm skilled enough to give them great advice if they're going to handle projects themselves.

 

Some businesses simply can't afford to hire you to write for them. They may want to hire you, but the budget just doesn't allow it. Or, they have someone already on the payroll who’s “good enough” at writing. You know the type.

 

So while you COULD write that business off, why not offer a consulting service to improve results and spare them some potential embarrassment? Since you're not doing the actual writing, your rate should be more attractive. 

 

While I now work as a direct market designer, the consulting benefits that both designers and writers can offer are the same. Here are some of the benefits I list on my site:

 

1) Spotting things they might miss or think should be obvious to the reader

2) Showing them techniques to boost response and sales they might not know about

3) Helping them past obstacles affecting the success of their marketing materials

 

Check out my consulting page to see how I did mine: http://mikeklassen.com/consulting/

 

Another benefit of consulting? It gives a business an easier entry point to working with you. Maybe they’re not sure they want to put a large project in your hands yet. Consulting allows you to show your knowledge and better position yourself if they ever decide to hire a freelancer.

 

I had one case this year where a client, after reading my suggestions on his magalog, went ahead and hired me to implement those suggestions. That was a consulting fee and a project fee. As a writer, instead of hiring you to start a project from scratch, you might just edit a piece they’ve written.

 

They save a pretty penny and make sure that what’s going out in front of customers and prospects has been through a professional review (so they don’t embarrass themselves). No, it may not be as good as if you'd written it from the start, but if that editing dramatically improves the piece (more than likely), they’ve gotten a taste of what a professional can deliver, and they might just give you the whole project next time.

 

If you have the knowledge to do projects for clients, you're more than capable of consulting for clients who insist on doing projects themselves.

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

IA FLCW Lands Work From First Cold Call Ever Made (Two Years/2300 Calls Ago!)

TIP: OR FLCW Shares Demo for Low-Cost Contact Management (CM) Program

 

Great piece from Iowa FLCW Andrea Price (www.compasswriting.com) about landing work from her first cold call ever (two years earlier), and the power of cold calling in general to generate, in her case, almost too much business! Note her comment about using cold calling because she didn’t have a big network to tap. Cold calling really CAN be the great equalizer for those without a grapevine.

 

After Portland, OR FLCW Mike Russell (http://www.pivotalwriting.com) shares a great tip about an excellent, amazingly low-cost ($2 a month!) contact management program (CM), and Mike even provides a helpful video demo. Thanks, Mike! Good stuff.

 

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I just got hired by the first person I ever cold called – almost two years and 2300 calls ago! I stayed in touch through a series of follow-up calls, mailings, and my e-newsletter. She hired me because her current writer was, as she put it, “about to become unemployed.” You never know when one of your cold calls will turn into money.

 

I’ve been getting lots of other business from my calling efforts as well. After just over a year in business, I landed my first big gig ($6000), and I just raised my prices thanks to all the other projects that keep pouring in. I’ve been working every day including weekends for months now just to keep up. My phone rings almost daily as both new and existing clients call with projects (proof of PB’s “mojo” philosophy). It’s great to see all my calling and marketing efforts really paying off.

 

I didn’t have a network when I quit my day job to become a fulltime FLCW (in the middle of this recession). I’ve built my business almost exclusively on cold calling. And I hate talking on the phone!

 

Back when I nervously placed that first call, I was 100% convinced I sounded like a newbie and this woman would somehow see right through me. Maybe that was true, but it doesn’t matter. When a need came up, my name was still on her radar. I’m the first to admit that cold calling isn’t much fun, but you can’t argue with the results.

 

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Unless you're an Excel ninja, the thought of tracking dozens, if not hundreds, of prospective client relationships with a spreadsheet makes your skin crawl. Thank Gaia for cloud-based (read: No software to install or manage, and instant data backup) www.SalesForce.com (then Sales Cloud).

 

With their uber-affordable Contact Manager service (especially during the current promotion), you can have a refined organizational system that will ensure better relationships and better impressions with prospective clients. What's more, you'll follow through, on time, every time, automatically log all email correspondence (when linked with Gmail), and have ample room for growth and sophistication later.

 

SalesForce QuickStart guide:

1. Learn the import wizard first. It's a great way to absorb SalesForce's terminology, and saves lots of time when you're developing a new list.

2. Work smarter with “merge tags.” After uploading all clients’ contact info, merge tags will automatically personalize emails, making mass e-mailings fast and easy.

3. Make it a habit. Every time a promising business card lands in your hand, transcribe its data into SalesForce, ensuring a tidier workspace, and a happier sales funnel.

 

To get you started with that import wizard, I've put together this quick demo video: 

http://pivotalwriting.com/resources/salesforce_import_wizard_walkthrough/

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- 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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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.

 

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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?

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

 

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