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

 

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 9 – SEPTEMBER 2012 – HAPPY (WELL-FED) LABOR DAY!

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/sept2012.html

 

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WELL-FED GROUP COACHING SERIES #10 STARTS 10/16/12!

About HALF the 12 slots are filled at this point, and I won’t be doing another till spring at least, so don’t wait! All details/testimonials: http://wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml            

 

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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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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: THE WELL-FED WRITER BLOG RECAP!

SEO Success; Generous FLCW’s; Pros/Cons of Long-Term Gigs; Clients with Money! 

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: LEARNING FROM STEVE JOBS’S PRESS RELEASES 

LA FLCW on Crafting Memorable (Not Mundane) Press Release Quotes 

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: THE ZEN OF COLD CALLING SUCCESS

FLCW Adjusts Mind, Overcomes Dread, Gets Big Results, Can’t Wait to Call More!

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips – a TASTY 2-IN-1!

Pittsburgh FLCW Reworks Slowing Business into Better-than-Ever Shape!  

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- WELL-FED GROUP COACHING (October Series) NOW ENROLLING!

- 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. APPETIZER: THE WELL-FED WRITER BLOG RECAP!

SEO Success; Generous FLCW’s; Pros/Cons of Long-Term Gigs; Clients with Money! 

 

The story of a FLCW’s amazing success optimizing her site for the search engines. How yours truly came to do a piece of “spec” work for a client. What a FLCW learned about taking on a long-term gig in paradise. A budding FLCW’s epiphany about clients with money vs. those without… Rich discussion, plenty of ideas shared.

 

All subjects of recent Well-Fed Writer Blog posts (http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog/). If you haven’t checked out the blog lately, I invite you to visit and weigh in. Here’s what we’ve been talking about:

 

1) “How I Get Copywriting Clients Through SEO: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Guest poster Jenny Munn shares the specific how-to of optimizing her site for the search engines with enough success that she’s had to do far less marketing than before. Check out her process along with input from a bunch of fellow FLCW’s.

 

2) “Are You Striking a Balance Between a Serious Writing Business and a Generous Spirit?” In this post, I tell how I came up with some creative ideas for an unassigned project, shared them with a client, and earned a bit of money and a lot of goodwill. It launched a deeper discussion about coming from a place of abundance.

 

3) “Are Long-Term On-Site Gigs (Even in Hawaii!) Worth It?” Guest poster Laurie Schmidt jumped on an opportunity few of us could resist: eight months on-site in Hawaii. But she discovered there are many factors to consider when accepting a long-term scenario. Which spawned a lot of input from her fellow FLCW’s.

 

4) “Commercial-Writing Clients with Money vs. Ones Without: Like Night and Day.” An offhand observation from a group coaching participant and budding FLCW about clients with money vs. those without being “like different species” launched a cool discussion: how finding well-paying clients can totally “rewire” your experience of this business.

 

Come add your voices to the discussions at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

Speaking of group coaching (you like that segue?), don’t forget that Series #10 of Well-Fed Group Coaching, beginning 10/16/12, is enrolling now, with nearly half the 12 slots filled. And I won’t be doing another until late spring of next year.

 

If you want to position yourself for a strong start in 2013 (and don’t want to wait until spring for the next program!, I invite you to check out the details (AND strong testimonials from past participants) at: http://wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml.

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: LEARNING FROM STEVE JOBS’ PRESS RELEASES 

LA FLCW on Crafting Memorable (Not Mundane) Press Release Quotes 

 

Los Angeles FLCW Andrew Hindes (http://www.theinhousewriter.com) is a former journalist with over 20 years entertainment, technology and writing experience. In addition to copywriting, he does onsite corporate-PR-writing training for PR agencies and corporate PR departments, focused on writing effective press releases and email pitches etc., and making journalists’ jobs easier.

 

A regular contributor to PRNews, he recently sent me a link to his piece, “6 Things Steve Jobs Taught Us About Writing Press Releases.” I especially liked that his advice can transfer to many arenas of copywriting. While I can’t reproduce the piece in its entirety here due to copyright issues, here’s an encapsulated version with a link to the article.

 

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Steve Jobs was famously unafraid to be provocative in print, and a master at conveying bold ideas in a few sentences. We can learn a lot about writing compelling press release quotations from his public statements over the years. Here are a few examples of what a press release quotation can convey (see the link below for actual illustrative quotes):

 

1) BRAND PERSONALITY: By using more colorful, colloquial language, a quote can communicate a sense of individuality, passion, fun and—if used judiciously—even a sense of humor, that sets a business apart from its competitors.  

2) A SUBJECTIVE VIEWPOINT: While it should avoid hyperbole and breathless adjectives, the executive quote offers a chance to describe the significance of an announcement in qualitative, rather than quantitative terms.

 

3) BOLD STATEMENTS: An executive quote can sometimes get away with provocative statements or predictions.

4) POSITIONING AND CONTEXT: In order to help readers reach a conclusion that may not be obvious from the facts alone, a quote can “connect the dots” for journalists and the public. 

5) NUANCE: Sometimes an announcement will raise questions in the minds of more sophisticated readers that may not occur to a more general readership. The executive quote offers a way to address an issue without drawing attention to it.

6) POSITIVE SPIN: When the news isn’t good, an executive quote can soften the blow by pointing out more upbeat aspects of the story. This has to be done carefully though: executives should avoid sounding Pollyannaish, or worse, deceitful or cavalier, by trying to put a happy face on bad news. The key is to first acknowledge the problem and then counterbalance it with an optimistic (but truthful) appraisal.

Read the full article with examples of Jobs’ press statements at: http://www.prnewsonline.com/prinsiders/6-Things-Steve-Jobs-Taught-Us-About-Press-Releases-Writing_16371.html

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: THE ZEN OF COLD CALLING SUCCESS

FLCW Adjusts Mind, Overcomes Dread, Gets Big Results, Can’t Wait to Call More!

 

Canadian FLCW Lou Anne Reddon (la@lareddon.com, http://lareddon.com) sent me the following great account of cold-calling success a few months back. I loved the “there-I-was” tone of the piece, along with her smart mind strategies for approaching the task at hand. No, most cold-calling sessions, especially as limited as this one was, don’t always end up so well. But, even if yours don’t, Lou Anne’s tale should at least remove the fear of angry, barking prospects telling us to, “Get lost and never call again!” Enjoy!

 

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Despite Peter’s assurances that cold calling works and isn’t the gruesome scenario we imagine, I still experienced abject terror just thinking about it.

 

I haven’t made hundreds of calls. Yet! In fact, on my first day, I only managed ten. I had to leave two voicemails. But the eight remaining calls resulted in two projects, a meeting, two offers to partner with smaller firms, two referrals and enthusiastic promises to keep me on file. I can hardly wait to make more calls! (Did I just say that?).

 

My approach was crafted from passages in TWFW, the call with Wendy Weiss (see below) and some basic principles of positive thinking.

 

First, I adjusted my attitude. I wasn’t making cold calls or marketing; I was meeting new people, making some friends and mingling. Rather than feeling like “Ugh! I have to make cold calls,” I got excited. “Wow! I get to talk to some nice people and offer my help.”

 

I always feel more professional and confident when I dress the part. So I did.

 

I’d written and discarded many scripts. Nothing I wrote felt natural. Then I did what copywriters are supposed to do. I walked a mile in my prospects’ moccasins. What would I appreciate hearing?

 

This is what I finally went with:

 

(Big smile. Deep breath. Dial.) Hello! My name is Lou Anne Reddon. I’m a freelance copywriter and I’m just calling to let you know that I’m available to help if there’s some way my skills might serve you.

 

That’s it! No sales pitch. No desperate pleas or groveling. No time-suck. “Hey, I’m here if you need me. If you don’t, c’est la vie. Next! Have a nice day.” No pressure, no commitments. My humble little blurb, pleasantly delivered, piqued their curiosity and prompted unexpectedly long conversations about exactly what those skills might be.

 

My takeaways:

1) I only got one gatekeeper. When she asked who was calling, I gave her my name as if I call there every day and I got patched through to the VP of Marketing of a Fortune 500 company. Every other time, I connected live with Senior Creative Directors, MarCom Managers and company owners.

 

2) My prospects seemed completely starved and grateful for human contact. They were all so friendly and nice, it was FUN talking to them.

 

3) Every single one asked me to send my info. When I did, I included a short but polite thank-you for their time and consideration and encouraged them to let others know about me. Several wrote back, inviting me to connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

4) Two of them told me they had arrangements with their other freelancers to give them a commission if they brought them business for other services (e.g., if I needed a graphic artist or web developer in order to close the deal for a copywriting client and steered him their way). Marketing and ad agencies, design firms, etc. appear to be facing their own challenges in attracting new business.

 

5) Only one asked about rates but I was prepared and she didn’t flinch.

 

We’re all people with the same needs and fears. Show concern and appreciation. Genuinely care. Ease another’s pain, solve his problem, make him look good, help him succeed and he’ll love you for it. The magic really DOES happen outside your comfort zone. You were right, Peter. Again!

 

An update from Lou Anne: Things are going gangbusters here! Thanks for publishing my story. I’m still amazed at how productive and how much fun it was. I’d only add this:

 

Be patient. Two months after I’d left a voicemail, a dream prospect phoned me to say his company (a large specialty cataloguer) had never used a freelancer before but the time had come. There was more work than his in-house staff could handle. What could I tell him about hiring a freelancer? I put together a piece that included quotes from Bob Bly on the subject. It was based on my work experience in catalogue writing and production but I wrote it objectively, more as a white paper. After a few months of back and forth, I became their first-ever freelancer.

 

PB Note: Check out the recording & transcript of the Wendy Weiss call that Lou Anne refers to above, at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/coldcallingteleseminar.shtml (and for a song!). Wendy & I covered some solid, practical ideas in our interview.

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips – a TASTY 2-IN-1!

Pittsburgh FLCW Reworks Slowing Business into Better-than-Ever Shape!  

 

Got this great combo success story/tips piece from Pittsburgh, PA FLCW Jeff Durosko

(www.duroskopr.com; jeff@duroskopr.com), who, after nearly seven years in the business, is chugging along just fine – again! Jeff hit a rough patch, but got busy and revitalized his business. Great lessons and strategies throughout. Note the no-charge web makeover he got in return for sending a bunch of work over time to a web developer. Never hurts to build a base of folks who are in your debt!

 

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After six-plus years of steady business, depending solely on referrals, things slowed down at the end of 2011: one client contract ended and others cut back a bit. I'd been busy enough to keep 2-3 other independent writers and PR pros busy with work I was able to pass off to them. So, the first thing I did was let them know that I'd be hanging on to more, and subcontracting less, BUT, never fear, I had a plan.

 

My plan was a pretty simple three-step program that I launched after the first of the year.

 

1. Remake my brand. I hated my look and website after living with what had meant to be a temporary solution for more than six years. I tapped one of my design friends (to whom I’d given some business), for a bid. Since he hadn't yet given me any biz, he said he'd do it for free as "payment" for the business I'd sent his way. Now I have a look I love and a website (www.duroskopr.com) to match. Best of all, I just landed a client who found me through the website - actually filled out the "contact us" form on the site. Four meetings and one proposal later, I have a one-year contract.

 

2. Revisit the 300 or so good contacts I had in terms of former clients and colleagues. I did a simple outreach email to a whole gang of people and was stunned at the positive response, in terms of calls, emails and referrals received. I also checked back in with folks who had expressed interest in my services but as yet, had never connected. So far, this has resulted in two new projects, both long-term, from former clients.

 

3. Join a local organization of marketing folks in a business sector I want to crack. After attending one networking event and meeting six people, I asked each of them for a meeting. Five said yes and one said let's meet in the fall. Once again, I was stunned.

 

The results? I am busier than ever with three new long-term clients that I love and one more starting up in a month. This FLCW life continues to be the best move I ever made.

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- WELL-FED GROUP COACHING (October Series) NOW ENROLLING!

- 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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WELL-FED GROUP COACHING (October Series) NOW ENROLLING!

Ready to confidently launch your commercial writing business? Or take your early-stage practice to the next level? Grab one of the few spots left in WF Group Coaching series starting 10/16/12. Details: http://wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml

 

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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. Check out all the how-to details: 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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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 MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?

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

 

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