1. Take a day off. No, not just to go to the beach. Take an entire day away from client work, social media sites, email, and even your phone. Do some goal-setting, marketing strategizing, and self-analyzing. Figure out where you are half-way through the year, where you want to be by the end of summer, and what you’d like to accomplish the second half of the year.
2. Write a report with valuable information for your clients. Aim it at a very narrow niche. For example, “Seven ways specialty tourism companies can grow sales with online video marketing,” or “The top five questions alternative health publishers should ask before they hire a copywriter.” When you finish your report, offer it for a low cost or free on your website to generate leads.
3. Start blogging regularly. It’s a great way to get fresh content out there, come up higher in search engine results pages, speak directly to your ideal clients, and show your expertise in your chosen niche. If you don’t have a blog or website, create a Facebook business page. Information here: http://www.facebook.com/business/pages/
4. Use the content your create in steps three and four to start writing a book. You can “test the waters” by writing a few posts that together could turn into a chapter. A report, depending on how long it is, could be a short e-book in itself. There’s nothing like creating instant credibility than by writing a book.
5. Peruse DirectResponseJobs.com to help you define your focus. You may find something that you qualify for while you’re doing this, but look through descriptions to see what kind of writing you’d like to gravitate toward as you build your experience and portfolio.
Onward and Upward
It’s one thing to write well. It’s another thing to get your voice heard and make a living as a writer.
We all know Mark Twain as a great American author and humorist. But if it weren’t for the brilliant marketing system he used to sell his books, you might have never read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn back in school.
During most of Twain’s lifetime, you couldn’t go to the bookstore to get his latest novel. In fact, Huck Finn wasn’t even published until he already had 40,000 copies sold. Twain took advantage of a popular marketing plan from the late 1800s, selling his books by “subscription only.”
It started with a book prospectus, which contained various pages from the yet-to-be-published book, along with sales copy promoting it. Sales agents took this prospectus with them as they canvassed cities all over the U.S., in true direct selling fashion.
“Sold by subscription” meant that Twain was able to identify his audience (which affected how he wrote successive books), build a list of buyers to use for future campaigns (an early use of list marketing), and make more money by selling directly (one of the main reasons he did it.)
You could say that Mark Twain was an author, a copywriting consultant, and a marketing strategist. And chances are, if he was writing today he’d be using online video marketing and Twitter to promote his books, and Kindle publishing to bypass traditional publishers.
The beauty is that while the marketing medium of choice may be constantly changing, the copy is a constant factor that influences success.
In the words of the great copywriter Gary Halbert, “The written word is the strongest source of power in the entire universe.”
You, the professional writer, hold that power.
I look forward to seeing what you do with it.