What’s a lead magnet and how do I write one?

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Welcome to the fourth Monday in May. Have you noticed that everything is covered in a fine layer of yellow dust? I believe it’s pollen. It’s horrible and makes it looks like everything is dirty. I am actually hoping for a bit of rain.

Random quote: Don’t try to be better than someone else. Never stop trying to be the best you can be. You control your effort.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

What’s a lead magnet and how do I write one?

I recently had the opportunity to write a few lead magnets for a new client. It was an interesting assignment as they had a structure they wanted followed, which I didn’t really learn until after I had done the first draft. Fortunately, it was close enough to what they wanted that they gave me a few more lead magnets to write.

So, what is a lead magnet? Basically, it’s something you give to a prospect that has value in exchange for their email address or contact information. It’s typically a free ebook, whitepaper, webinar, report or something similar. In my case, the lead magnets were reports related to innovation and the future post-COVID-19 in different parts of the real estate industry.

A lead magnet should have value to the person reading it. They should want the report (or whatever it is) because it contains useful information.

There are many ways to write a lead magnet, and many different types of content. However, you can break a lead magnet into different parts.


The introduction should consist of the following:

  • An engaging statement or question (e.g., Have you ever wondered…?)
  • What the lead magnet does or is intended for (e.g., I was tired of this…)
  • Why they should trust you – provide a personal story (e.g., I’ve been where you are…)
  • AHA moment – state a big reveal that shifted you to where you are

Key content

Here’s a few strategies on what to put in the body of your lead magnet.

  • Include a step-by-step process or list something consumable.
  • State what it is, why it matters, and how you do it (e.g., Five ways to defeat writer’s block)
  • Give examples and lead the reader through what they should do
  • Include a link to something else, like a program or book, where you explain the topic further


Repeat or emphasize what you hope they learned. Restate the value of the content and the desired outcome.

The point of the lead magnet is to get the reader to do something. That is why it requires a call to action. Tell the reader what you want them to do next. Provide a link to your website, landing page, etc., or tell them how to contact you (email address, phone number).

For more information on lead magnets, check out 11 tried-and-true lead magnet ideas and examples from Hubspot.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


How to write a great About Me page

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Welcome to the third Monday in May. It looks like a great weekend, so I plan to build my pergola. If you never hear from me again, it either collapsed on me or I have decided to live in my backyard.

Random quote: It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken adults. Show them how to act properly, each and every day.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

How to write a great About Me page for your website

Many writers have a tough time writing about themselves. That’s why we often have difficulty writing our own websites and bios, especially the About Me page. We want the words to be perfect – much like the tailor wants his suit to be perfect or the interior designer wants her home to be perfect. We are our worst critics.

I read a great article on writing About Me pages from Marian Schembari. I liked it so much that I want to share what I’ve learned.

First, many writers get the About Me page wrong. They make it all about them, rather than appealing to their ideal client. The About Me page has two goals:

  • Get readers excited about finding you
  • Send the reader to the right place (i.e., where they can learn about what you do and contact you)

To write a great About Me page, include the following six components:

  1. Value proposition – State what is unique and desirable about you as a writer, preferably in the introductory headline
  2. Daydream – Describe what the perfect situation looks like for the reader (e.g., Imagine if…)
  3. Differentiator – State what makes you different from other writers. Describe a unique offer. Explain what makes you crazy / what bothers us (e.g., poorly written headlines).
  4. Story – Talk about your mission, work history, awards, etc. Write out your personal story. This is where your writing skills should come into play. Ask (and answer) the question: Have you had the same problem as the prospect you are trying to reach?
  5. Offering – Link to your primary service.
  6. Call to action – Tell the reader what to do with an incentive. Offer an email or newsletter subscription. Provide a link to where you want the reader to go.

Take a look at your website and see how you can incorporate these elements into your About Me page. Make sure it reflects what would appeal to your reader rather than what you want to say about yourself.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


How to negotiate with clients

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Welcome to the second Monday in May. To all the moms out there, I wish you a Happy Belated Mother’s Day. I hope your children gave you some love, hugs, and a little peace. And if you’re not a mom, I hope you still had a great Sunday.

Random quote: Inertia is the enemy of accomplishing great things. To defeat this enemy, just do.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

How to negotiate with clients

Negotiating rates, deadlines, and projects with potential and current clients is part of the freelance writer’s job. You will not get what you want and deserve without some amount of negotiating. It is the rare client who will give you everything you want without asking or bargaining to some degree. It can be difficult and challenging to negotiate, especially if you are new to freelancing or you have to deal with a new client.

The following strategies will help you to negotiate rates and whatever else you need from new and existing clients.

  1. Be confident in your abilities. You are a good writer / editor / designer / freelancer. Believe in yourself. You deserve the rates you get – you deserve better than the rates you’re currently charging. You provide real value. You also deserve to work with great clients.
  2. Negotiation is part of the world you work in. Clients expect you to negotiate. Knowing how to negotiate, and expecting to negotiate, shows you are a professional. Act like it.
  3. Find the right clients. Some clients will never pay your rates, no matter how good you are. Work with clients who are willing to negotiate and can afford to pay your rates.
  4. Work out the details first. Ask questions (what do they need, who is it for, why do they need it, when do they need, how do they want it done). Define the scope in detail and quickly. Negotiate everything that can be negotiated (e.g., rate, deadline, rounds, word count, interviews).
  5. Make the client go first. Ask, “What’s your budget / rate?” You now have a base for negotiations.
  6. Speak to other freelancers. Ask freelancer groups, LinkedIn groups, references, etc. to see what others are charging for similar work.
  7. Pause or be silent for a while after the client states a position. Let them fill the gap.
  8. Make sure you feel good and right when negotiating. If something feels off (or you don’t feel well), tell the client you will get back in a couple of days. Schedule the follow up at a later date. You’ll feel better and be in a better position.
  9. Don’t feel pressured to respond with a number unless you are ready. Sleep on it. If you respond too quickly, you might come off as desperate. Also, don’t respond if the client is in disarray or disorganized. Negotiate from comfort and in a good position.
  10. Voice objections where merited. Increase your rate for rush jobs, complex topics, more interviews, or when other factors make the work more challenging.
  11. If they cannot meet your rate, leave the door open for future work – don’t burn bridges. Offer to be the backup plan if the client goes with another provider. Make sure they know other projects will be negotiated separately.
  12. Aim for project rates rather than hourly rates. Only you know how much you earn by the hour. You know what you will earn and the client knows the budget.
  13. Get everything in writing – contracts are a must. Know what and when you will be paid. No contract means no obligation to be paid.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. There is a lot to be said in favour of writing blogs and articles in the first person (I / we). However, it often makes sense to write to the reader in the second person (you). Check out The second-person point of view from The Write Life for details on what’s involved in writing in the second person and why it can work for you.
  2. Every freelance writer needs a portfolio. How do you make one and what do you put in it? Check out How to create a portfolio that showcases your work from Freelance Writing Coach for what you need to know about putting together a portfolio.
  3. Do you like books? Do you like lists? Do you like lists of books? Check out 32 best books for bloggers and freelance writers that will make you successful from Moss Media for books that will… well, you know, it’s in the title.
  4. Do you wonder why you’re not as productive or creative as you could be, even though the pandemic has given you a lot of “free” time? Check out The Goldilocks theory from Austin Kleon for his view on why freelance writers don’t feel creative enough right now. His advice: Just make something, anything.
  5. Do you find that you use “very” or other modifiers too often in your writing? Do you want to use one good word instead of two average words? Check out Lose the Very for word choices to make your writing… exceptional.
  6. Your emails, articles, blog posts, and other content that goes out to potential and existing clients should have some type of call to action. End your content with something memorable. Check out 15 engaging ways to end your next blog post from Content Marketing Institute for suggestions on how to wrap up your blog post in a way that readers will remember.
  7. Speaking of ending, do you use a signature in your emails? It’s free marketing space – don’t let it go to waste. Check out The super signature from Cody Burch for an effective way to wrap up your email after your name.
  8. Being a productive writer can be a challenge. Check out Top 10 productivity tips from outstanding writers from Craft Your Content for strategies on being a more productive writer, no matter what you write.
  9. Creativity is difficult to nail down. Sometimes, the world just gets in the way. Check out Not everything you do has to be “original creative work” from Elisa Doucette for steps on getting over creative brain drain.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


The formula for writing great content

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Welcome to the first Monday in May. Another month has come and gone, as they tend to do. The weather is doing what it does. The world continues to move as it’s supposed to. We’re all moving forward even when it feels like we’re standing still and experiencing the same day over and over. It’s a new day. Go do something with it.

Random quote: Always do the right thing even if it comes at great cost.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

The formula for writing great content

Deep within the pages of one of my many notebooks, I discovered a secret formula for writing great articles and blog posts. Actually, it’s not that secret (I just don’t remember the source), but it’s a pretty simple formula when you break it down.



Write good copy. Keep your sentences tight. Make every word work hard.

Work on improving as a writer. Practice your writing. Study the craft. Read good writers. Write a lot. Work with an editor when needed.

Make your content look great. Follow good design principles (e.g., fonts, white space, bullet points, headings and subheadings). Hire a designer or learn to use the tools. Templates are your friend.


Say something different. Don’t just repeat what other writers have said. Find a new angle on a popular topic. Be controversial. Explain topics in new and unique ways. Take a stand.

Create your own voice. State your opinions. Borrow another writer’s voice until you find your own if needed.


Be a journalist. Do deep research. Interview experts and authorities in their field. Cite your references. Back up statements with facts and data.

Become the expert in your field. Focus on a niche and get to know everything about it. Write on a topic or market to the exclusion of others. Be the authority that others seek out.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. I don’t do UX (user experience) writing but I definitely appreciate good UX writing. We all hate instructions and writing that makes the user experience difficult or confusing. Check out How to write digital products with personality from UX Collective to learn about using words to make the user experience more interesting.
  2. I enjoy reading about what good writers do that makes their writing so readable. It’s a great way to learn and improve my own writing. Check out Writing tools I learned from Paul Graham from Built By Words for some great strategies on writing.
  3. I have written a few case studies in my day and would love to do more of it, as it suits my writing style (and pays well). It’s difficult to get into without some direction. Check out How to make a living writing case studies and white papers from The Write Life for strategies on getting into case study and white paper writing.
  4. Do you read a lot of articles or ebooks online but want to read them in a more convenient format? Check out How to read stuff posted online from Snakes and Ladders. It discusses two interesting services: Push to Kindle and Print Friendly.
  5. Many experts in the freelance writing field advocate for specializing in niches to be successful. I’m a generalist for the most part, which is why I enjoyed reading Range from David Epstein. Check out General education has a bad rap from Slate.com for an excerpt from Epstein’s book.
  6. In many cases, there is no need to reinvent the wheel and that includes writing headlines. Check out 332 incredible headlines with over 10,000 claps each from J.J. Pryor for some great headlines that have gotten readers to keep reading.
  7. I’ve written about word usage before. Because it’s such an important topic, as we should all use the right words, check out The 35 words you’re (probably) getting wrong from The Guardian to help you know when to use these words.
  8. First drafts are the bane of most writers’ existence. Getting started is harder than anything. Check out How to write a first draft of anything from Ann Handley for her thoughts on getting that first draft on the page.
  9. If you write a newsletter and you want to make a living from it, you’re going to need subscribers. Many experts have written on this topic, and if it was something I wanted, I should read more about it. Check out Foster’s real-world guide to getting your first 1,000 email subscribers from Foster if you’re looking to build your email list.
  10. Writers like cool things to store their cool things. Check out the Classiky Desk Tool Box from Wonder Pens. They are my favourite stationery store and I get nothing from promoting that fact.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


Three keys to regularly writing better blog posts and articles

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Welcome to the final Monday in April. My daughter has a dentist appointment and an orthodontist appointment coming up this week. I expect a lot of pre-teen rage and tears over the next few days. Maybe I should schedule something fun in the middle of those appointments – the tasty filling between two terrible buns. Who would make such a sandwich?

Random quote: You don’t get anywhere by not “wasting” time.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

Three keys to regularly writing better blog posts and articles

I recall reading on Copyblogger that there is a gap between the ability to write well and what we want to write. In other words, it sounds great in our head but that great writing doesn’t make it to the page. One issue is that there is too much focus on creative perfectionism. We expect our writing to be perfect and end up writing nothing.

We should be OK with writing what we are able to write today and accept its flaws. Respect the amount of effort and care that goes into the writing. Be kind to yourself on how you wrote at a particular time, as writing is a learning process. You start somewhere and get better as you write more. Appreciate the writer that you were and the one that you have become.

To writer strong blogs and articles on a more consistent basis, focus on these three keys:

  1. Care about what you write, writing it well, and writing something useful for the reader. Your writing will improve when you care about the effort you put into it and the results you get. Put some passion and effort into your writing. Hone your skill. Care about the reader and what they will get out of your writing. Give them value.
  2. Give yourself time to write a great blog or article. Good writing takes time. You might be able to write quickly when there is a deadline, but you need to put in time to make the writing its best. Spend time on research. Do a careful edit. Time makes us better writers as talent requires aging and development. Don’t rush the process. Let the writing sit for a while.
  3. Develop and follow clear editorial standards for your writing. Create and follow your own rules, whatever they may be. Set guidelines for spelling, grammar, formatting, fact checking, writing style, structure, etc. Make decisions based on those guidelines to determine what is OK and what is not.

Note: For more blog and article writing strategies, please read the following published blog posts:

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. Too many writers try to sound intelligent by using “big-sounding” words. Using these types of words just interferes with the readability of your content – and annoys readers. Check out Keep it simple: How to use plain English to improve your writing from Craft Your Content for tips and strategies on making your writing stronger.
  2. Journalists are not the only types of writers who are always on the hunt for good sources to provide quotes and context. B2B writers also need good sources to interview for their articles, which can be difficult to do at times. Check out Help a B2B Writer to submit your requests when you need to find the right person for your next article.
  3. Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep personal pronouns consistent and fair when they involve a person’s gender. Check out Gender-neutral pronouns in creative writing from CMOS Shop Talk tips and strategies on staying on top of those pronouns when writing about non-binary people.
  4. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “You are what you eat.” That can apply to what you read and consume to feed your brain. Check out How to improve your content diet in 2021 from The Profile to learn about how to be more selective in what you read.
  5. Have you been “planning” to write and publish an e-book for some time now? Maybe it’s time to just get it done. Check out Publish an e-book: 6 strong-arm secrets to get it done from Make a Living Writing for strategies on moving forward on writing and publishing your e-book. And if you need an editor, you know who to contact.
  6. Do you want your writing to be tighter and more concise? Drop the passive voice. Check out Your grade school teachers were right: Avoid using the passive voice from The Write Life to learn more about the passive voice and how to avoid using it.
  7. Whether you are a new freelancer or have years of experienced, you will benefit from learning best practices on freelancing. Check out 52 tips for freelancers from Home Working Club for advice on finances, sales and marketing, enjoying the freelance lifestyle, and more. If you find one useful tip that improves your business, it’s worth the read.
  8. I’ve written about how to be a faster writer before (for example, here and here). Check out How to write faster (for bloggers and writers) from All Freelance Writing for why you should write faster and tips on how to do it.
  9. You already know you shouldn’t multi-task. That includes editing and proofreading at the same time. Check out The best proofreading and editing tips from Content Marketing Institute on why you shouldn’t do both at the same time, and how you can do each well.
  10. You’re probably sitting a lot more than usual these days – it’s part of being a writer or editor. Maybe you should get some exercise. So should I. Check out The benefits of stretching from Ness Labs on why you should find ways to move more often and some tips on how to do it.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


Choosing a writing niche

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Welcome to the third Monday in April. It rained all day last week, just when my daughter had her Mar-pril school break. Of course it did. Having a 10-year-old inside all day makes me that much more productive. She did convince me to paint a couple of my nails, so we did get something done. No, I won’t show you a photo.

Random quote: Time is your most valuable asset. Do not let it be stolen and do not give it away.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

Choosing a writing niche

I’m probably not the ideal person to write about choosing a niche as a freelance writer. I don’t consider myself to be writer who specializes in a niche. However, over my career, I have worked within niches. I was a mathematics editor for many years (I edited math textbooks and wrote math questions and answers). For more than ten years, I’ve written for a magazine that caters to the rental housing industry. I focus more on content writing (e.g., articles, blog posts, case studies) than copywriting. However, I write on a lot of different topics for different industries.

That being said (written?), it makes sense (and dollars) to choose the right (profitable) niche or market as a freelance writer. There is an expression that sums it up: The riches are in the niches. Choosing a niche as a freelance writer enables you to focus your marketing efforts and helps to make you an expert in your field. You decide who to write for and clients come to you for your writing expertise.

So, how do you choose a niche? It’s difficult for some writers as there are so many markets, topics, and industries to write for. You can’t (and shouldn’t) be everything to everyone. The right niche for you won’t be right for someone else either.

Focus on three factors to choose the right niche for your writing business.

1. Knowledge

Think about topics and markets where you have specific knowledge or experience. You know more about that niche than the average person – your clients are average people. You have a head start as well, and can learn more about the niche than others are capable or willing to learn.

Think about where you’ve worked, topics you’ve read about, subjects you’ve been asked about, etc. Tie this information to businesses that need content on those topics. Use your knowledge to become an expert writer.

2. Interest

You might be interested in writing about specific topics, niches or markets. The weirder or odder the niche, the better it is. There are many high-paying niches that need good writers. Narrow fields offer less competition from other writers.

Select topics that you love to talk about, read about or want to write about. If you’re interested in that topic, you are likely to be motivated to learn more about it. That will make you a great writer for the related niche.

3. Profitability

Some markets and niches pay better than others (some pay poorly). The key is to choose the market with clients who have the budget and willingness to pay you well for your writing. Chase markets that pay – avoid markets that don’t pay.

You might have knowledge or experience in a market that simply does not pay. Don’t chase these clients who cannot pay or don’t value what you do. When deciding on whether a market or business is profitable, ask:

  • How does the business make money?
  • How will your content help them make money?

And that’s how you can choose a niche. You don’t have to settle on one niche. You can write for one based on your knowledge, one based on your interests, and one simply for the money. You’re not stuck in a niche just because you write for it. If you don’t like one niche, try another one.

PS. I wrote a little about niche markets in this blog post.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. I prefer cold emailing to cold calling as a prospecting tool because it suits my personality. However, some people are great at cold calling – they are super chatty and friendly on the phone. Check out How freelance writers can get more clients from cold calling from Make a Living Writing for simple strategies on using cold calling as a prospecting tool for your freelance writing business.
  2. Punctuation can be challenging to use correctly. The semi-colon is often misused because many writers don’t really know when to use it. Check out When to use a semi-colon from The Write Life for tips on the right times to use the semi-colon.
  3. Writers like cool things and they like being organized. Check out The Writing Box from Galen Leather. I don’t need it personally, but I want it. So much. At last check it’s out of stock. (FYI, I am not an affiliate. It’s just cool.)
  4. Do you want to tighten up your writing? Get rid of words that don’t add value. Check out The weak word checklist from K.M. Allan for a list of words that you can delete from your content to make your writing stronger.
  5. Is your content a little monotonous? Do you have trouble writing content that sounds like you wrote it? Check out Write like you talk from Content Marketing Institute for tips on writing how you talk.
  6. Being understood by your reader should be one of the main goals of your writing. Being able to write clearly is an essential skill. Check out How I write clearly from Josh Spector on his five steps to writing clearly.
  7. Many creative people – and business people – try to be everything to everyone. They have different goals and purposes that can contradict and interfere with each other. Check out If you want to be successful, you need to pick a rule from Start it up on why you need to pick a rule when you are creating.
  8. Everyone has the ability to learn new things. It’s a matter of putting in the effort and finding an approach that works for you. Check out The secret to learn anything from Brain Pickings to learn what Albert Einstein told his son.
  9. Many writers (and people in general) are working at home for the first time and are probably not taking care of themselves as well as they can. Check out Working well at home from Helena Fairfax for wellbeing tips geared toward writers, creatives, and freelancers.
  10. Are you a Seinfeld fan? Check out the Tim Ferriss podcast with Jerry Seinfeld.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


Simple tips on succeeding as a service-based freelancer

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Welcome to the second Monday in April. We’ve had some nice weather lately. I scheduled an appointment to get a vaccination. The Toronto Maple Leafs are winning games. I expect some level of pain at the end of all of these events.

Random quote: How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

How to succeed as a service-based freelancer

Success means different things to different people. Every freelancer – including writers – uses different criteria to determine when they have “made it” or when they can tell themselves they are doing well. I’ve put together a few strategies on being more successful as a freelance writer, as well as anyone who provides a service.

  • Offer what someone asks to pay you for – if you’re good at something, and someone will pay you to do that thing, then pitch your services for money
  • Choose a market to serve – become the best (or as good as you can be) at it
  • Create your own category – make your own niche
  • Forget about your ideas – leverage your assets
  • Turn competitors into collaborators – work with other freelancers to improve both your businesses
  • When you’re selling a service, you’re selling yourself – you are the product
  • Keep getting better at what you do – learn, study, practice, refine
  • Turn your clients’ problems into your problems – focus on your clients’ issues, understand them, and become an expert in solving them, which will make you better at what you do
  • When marketing, learn to optimize your conversations
  • Drive results for your clients – market their services and offerings
  • Be easy to refer – be very visible and collect social proof
  • Frame your services so that clients know what they are getting
  • Remove referral friction – ask for referrals when you complete a project
  • Ask for the sale and set a time limit – create a sense of urgency and be direct
  • Know your WHY – your reason will drive your business and your marketing

For more advice on the topic, check out these blog posts:

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. Spellcheck and your eyes alone don’t always cut it. You should hire an editor (like me). But if you don’t want to, check out Grammar checkers and editing tools from The Write Life to get a little techno help with editing your work.
  2. Whether you’re a newbie freelance writer or have years of experience, you’ll benefit from having someone spell out how to make money writing articles. Check out Getting paid to write articles from Make a Living Writing for a comprehensive series of steps on making more money as a freelance writer.
  3. Pictures are occasionally better than words, but pictures with words are even better. If you want to write more high-performing articles, then check out The content creation process in a flowchart from Orbit Media. Follow the boxes and lines – so nice.
  4. We all want to write faster to be more productive and to hit those deadlines. Check out How to write faster from SmartBlogger for a few strategies on increasing your writing speed.
  5. Great writing – and great art – comes from removing what does not belong, as well as including what needs to be there. Check out What to leave out and what to leave in from Austin Kleon for a lesson on addition and subtraction.
  6. When clients don’t come to you, it’s time to go out and find clients. Check out Creative places to look for new clients from Robyn Roste for a few ideas on how to add a few clients to your freelance roster.
  7. Marketing is an essential part of getting more clients for your business but many people don’t know how to do it or are not comfortable with it. Check out How to market yourself without marketing yourself from For the Interested for some ideas on how to improve your marketing efforts.
  8. I’ve read that writing blog posts on other people’s blogs is a good way to get more attention for yourself and your blog. If that’s something you want to do, check out Step-by-step guide to guest blogging from Content Marketing Institute for an easy-to-follow process.
  9. If you’ve written for agencies in the past, you’ve probably read a few briefs that were way too brief. Check out The ABCs of a great content brief from Content Folks; maybe you can pass the pointers on to some clients.
  10. I’m a generalist when it comes to writing, although I do write within a couple of niches. Finding the right niche can help writers be more productive and grow their business. Check out A process for finding your niche from Ungated for some ideas on how to find your niche.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


Finding the right tone

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Welcome to the first Monday in April. The good news is that April 1st was last week, so there is no April fool’s joke. The bad news is that we could all use a good laugh right now and I have no jokes to share with you.

Random quote: When a vessel is empty, you can fill it up and empty it again. Is a vessel ever truly empty?

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk. It’s a bit late because of Easter and procrastination. I’ll try as hard as I did this week to make sure it’s not late again.

Finding the right (write) tone

Writing in the right tone for a new client – or even a current client – can be challenging and frustrating at times. Writers have ideas and styles that don’t always mesh with the client’s ideas and goals. However, there are some relatively simple strategies to help you get the right tone when writing a first draft:

  • Ask the client. They often know their audience better than you will, and the tone required to reach them. This will save the writer a lot of time.
  • Refer to the brand guidelines or style guide. If the client has a style guide, a lot of work and research went into it. Stick to the defined tone.
  • Ask for an example of desired tone. Sometimes, the client won’t know exactly how to describe the tone, but they probably know it when they see it in other work. Check examples and match the tone to them.
  • Ask for an example of what they don’t want. Clients will know what does not work, so the process of elimination will get you closer to what they do want.

What style elements go into defining tone?

  • Point of view = first person (I, we) vs. second person (you) vs. third person (he, she, they)
  • Sentence length
  • Paragraph length
  • Word choice
  • Marketing jargon
  • Em / en dashes
  • Sentence structure

Quick tip: If a client does not like a piece you’ve written, it often comes down to tone. Rewrite a paragraph (rather than the whole piece) in a different tone to get their reaction.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com. 


Appealing to readers’ beliefs, feelings, and desires

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Welcome to the final Monday in March – that was a long month. It’s been a long 12 months for everyone. We should have asked for a refund.

Random quote: We suffer more in our imagination than in reality.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk. If you want a refund, good luck on that because I don’t know how to refund free. That might cause a black hole or something.

Appealing to readers’ beliefs, feelings, and desires

When writing a blog post, article, case study or content with a purpose, one of your main goals should be to get the reader to feel something or reach in some way. There are many ways to do this, of course. One strategy for reaching readers on an intellectual, emotional, and personal feel is to understand their beliefs, feelings, and desires.

  • Beliefs: What does your reader believe? What is their attitude toward what you are writing about?
  • Feelings: How does your reader feel (e.g., nervous or confident)? What does the reader feel about major issues?
  • Desires: What does your reader want? What is the reader’s goal?

If you’ve been writing to your readers for some time, or have developed buyers’ personas as part of your marketing strategy, then you should understand your audience’s beliefs, feelings, and desires to some degree.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com.

No one read this far last week or didn’t ask for a free copy of my book. I doubt you will either. But that’s OK. You read something.


Writing the call to action

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Welcome to the fourth Monday in March – there’s another Monday after this one! That seems like too many Mondays for one month. Something must be done about that – add another Saturday next month.

Random quote: The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.

This week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk is sponsored by no one. None of the previous issues have been sponsored either, so I’m keeping the streak alive.

Writing the call to action

Every piece of marketing content – such as newsletters and emails – needs a call to action. It tells the reader what you want them to do when they’re done reading your content. If you’ve done the job of writing persuasive marketing copy, and the reader has made it to the call to action, then they should know what to do… and they should want to press the subscribe button or reply to your question or do whatever it is what you want them to do.

So what makes an effective call to action?

  • It is an ACTION – Subscribe / Donate / Download / Email / Call
  • It has URGENCY – Use commanding words to imply the risk of waiting
  • It has VALUE – Download this free guide / Discover the power of XX / Book a demo / Start your free trial
  • It uses ACTIONABLE language – Get started / Reserve your seat today / Get it now
  • It reduces RISK – Download and get started today / Start your free trial
  • It makes it EASY to take action – One click to get started
  • It is EMPOWERING – Click here to get your free trial
  • It can be SEEN – Use white space and colour to make it stand out

Use these strategies when putting a call to action in your next email or letter of introduction. Let me know how it works for you.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is contact@davidgargaro.com.

If you’ve read this far and you’re the first person to SEND ME AN EMAIL with the words I READ IT, I’ll mail you a free copy of my book, How to Run Your Company… Into the Ground.