Category: marketing

Controlling the client’s revisions, creating a rate card, writing a manifesto, and more

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Welcome to another Monday in February. Did you get something done today? Good for you. If not, try again tomorrow.

Here are a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Controlling the client’s revisions

Have you heard the expression, “Give a weed an inch, and it will take a yard.” (That’s a gardening joke.) The expression applies to clients of content writers and copy editors. The number of requested revisions can get out of hand if you let clients control the process or think that they can make unlimited revisions.

Here are a few tips for reducing (or controlling) the number of revisions that clients request when you provide the first draft:

  • Be clear on the client’s expectations and project scope
  • Ask the client questions before writing so that you can be as clear as possible on what they need
  • Include the number of revision cycles in your contract
  • Have all stakeholders sign off on a completed project review and the first draft
  • Write an outline and show it to the client before writing
  • Ask for consolidated feedback from all stakeholders
  • Request reviewers to use Track Changes when making comments
  • Set a deadline or limit for revisions

Creating a rate card for your business

For some part of my career as a freelance content writer and copy editor, I had a rate card that showed my rates for different services. These days, I will provide quotes based on the client’s description of what they need. Jennifer Goforth Gregory at The Content Marketing Writer wrote a post with five reasons on why to not publish a rate card:

  • One rate does not fit all situations (very true!)
  • Sometimes, it makes good business sense to take a lower rate (some clients are worth it)
  • You do not want to underprice yourself (the client may be willing to pay more than you typically charge)
  • Clients have to reach out to you to ask about your rate (that is inbound marketing)
  • You lose the chance to charge more for difficult clients (some clients are not worth working with, no matter how much you charge)

Writing a manifesto

I’ve never thought of writing a manifesto, although I’ve read a few interesting ones in my day. Rather than writing a list of goals, which many people will do especially when starting a new year, you might want to consider writing a manifesto, which provides direction and guidance for big changes. Amy Stanton with Minutes provides some direction on writing a manifesto, which includes these three steps:

  • Shift your thinking from being externally focused to being internally focused
  • Connect emotions to the various responsibilities you have in your life
  • Create an accountability plan

Here’s a great quote: Remember: a manifesto is not a checklist of goals. This isn’t about our normal Type-A “how fast can we achieve our goals and cross the finish line.” This is about the journey and how we want to act, think, and feel along the way.

Marketing without social media

Social media marketing can be a very effective strategy for promoting and growing your business as a freelance writer, or for any solopreneur. However, there are many other ways to market your services. Alexandra Franzen wrote a post on 21 other ways to engage in marketing without social media. She has some great suggestions – here are some of my favourites:

  • Do a “45 in 45” email challenge.
  • Add info about your product or service to your email signature.
  • Circle back to previous clients and customers via email. Say hi. See if they’d like to hire you/purchase from you again.
  • Start a newsletter and send it out consistently.
  • Gently remind clients that you love and appreciate word-of-mouth referrals. Encourage them to send new clients your way.

What to ask before you quit

Have you ever wanted to quit on a company, client or project? If you haven’t, then you’ve either never worked for someone or you have led the most charmed life. Anisa Purbasari Horton at Fast Company wrote an article on four questions to ask yourself before quitting something:

  • Why did I pursue this in the first place?
  • Why do I feel the need to quit?
  • Have I done everything I can to make this work for me?
  • What do I have to gain by quitting?

Here’s a great quote: We don’t like to think about limits, but we all have them. While grit is often about stories, quitting is often an issue of limits–pushing them, optimizing them, and most of all, knowing them.

How to improve

Here are some tips from James Clear on how to improve:

  1. Lots of research. Explore widely and see what is possible. 
  2. Lots of iterations. Focus on one thing, but do it in different ways. Refine your method. 
  3. Lots of repetitions. Stick with your method until it stops working. 

What I wrote

Check out my article from the November 2020 issue of RHB Magazine2020 Taxation Report.

What I read

I just finished reading The Best of Me by David Sedaris. It’s a collection of fiction and non-fiction stories from his life, some of which was published in other works. Sedaris is a funny author, who keeps a daily journal of what he sees, hears, and thinks, some of which while picking up trash on the side of the road.

What I watched

I watched the movie Hotel Artemis featuring Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum, and others. I enjoyed it – if you’re into movies about criminals with a code, you might like it too. It scratched my itch at that time.

What I listened to

I listened to a podcast episode from Freakonomics Radio called “Can I ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?” It covered the issue of asking sensitive questions. According to the research, most people are not actually afraid to discuss questions on money, sex, politics, and other “sensitive” issues. I guess that depends on who you ask.


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.

David

Asking questions before writing, dealing with procrastination, books for writers, and more

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Welcome to the first Monday in February. I hope you’re doing well… but if you’re not, I hope things get better. Keep going.

Here are a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Questions to ask clients before writing

Many clients don’t provide comprehensive briefs for writing projects. Some will provide a topic or title idea and some keywords to include, and that’s about it. As a writer, you need to get as much information as possible before writing a single word. This will help you get as close as possible to what the client wants, and will save you time in rewriting. You could ask a lot of questions, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Who is the audience for this content? What do they value, and what problems are they trying to solve?
  • What is the goal of the content? Are you trying to sell, educate, inform, convince, etc.?
  • What is the desired length for the content? You don’t want to write 2,000 words when they only need 500.
  • What sources are required, and how many sources do you need?
  • What tone is required for the content? Ask for examples of tone they want, and tone they don’t want.

Dealing with procrastination

If you’re a writer – or a human being – you have had to deal with procrastination at some point in your life. It often occurs when you’re staring at a blank page and dealing with a deadline, and you’d rather do anything else except writing. Patricia Allen at Craft Your Content wrote a blog post on the art of avoiding procrastination.

Here’s a great quote: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Rather than avoiding the task completely, organize your time into blocks. This will give you a clear plan to follow. Decide in advance what blocks of time you will allocate each week to family, entertainment, exercise, hobbies, and work. Your priorities will determine the order of these blocks of time, but making time for them all is the essential balance required. 

Books for writers

If you’re a writer, then you should also be a reader, and that includes books on writing. Farrah Daniel at The Write Life put together a list of the best books on writing. I know that “best” is subjective, but I own some of these books (including On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott) and have to agree with them being on the list. Borrow them from the library or support your local used bookstore.

Virtual conferences for writers

Since we cannot go to physical events at the moment, we can attend virtual events to network with others, learn more about our craft, and have interesting experiences. Make a Living Writing put together a list of virtual conferences and events for writers. It’s worth checking out.

Creating a marketing style guide

Whether you are a one-person show or run a small business, you should create some rules around your marketing copy. Marketing style guides don’t have to be complicated. Nathan Collier at Groove published their marketing style guide, and it’s exactly what you need – all the basics on being consistent when publishing online. It covers voice and tone, headings and subheadings, punctuation, and a lot more

How to get better every day

Here’s a quote from James Clear:

“Improvement is a battle that must be fought anew each day. Your next workout doesn’t care how strong your last one was. Your next essay doesn’t care how popular your last one was. Your next investment doesn’t care how smart your last one was. Your best effort, again.”

What I wrote

Here’s an article I wrote for Business.com12 Best Ways to Use Business Texting.

What I read

Tim Ferriss is one of my favourite authors. In addition to his books, I enjoy reading his weekly blog posts and listening to his podcasts. He wrote an eye-opening blog post called 11 Reasons Not to Become Famous. I don’t expect to ever become famous, not to his level anyway. And given what I’ve read, I hope I never do.

What I watched

I watched this YouTube video on Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for writing a short story. As someone who wants to write stories, I was definitely interested. One great piece of advice: Write to please just one person.

What I listened to

I enjoy listening to The Pen Addict podcast. Mike Hurley and Brad Dowdy talk all things related to fountain pens, other types of pens, stationery, and things related to writing. If you’re into pens at all, or want to learn more about them, make sure to check it out.


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.

David

Using grammatical metaphors, creating an antilibrary, extracting content from subject matter experts, and more

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Welcome to another Monday. Here are a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Using grammatical metaphors to say more with less

I’m a fan of being efficient with writing. Keep your writing tight (unless you get paid by the word). Vinh To for The Conversation published a post on using grammatical metaphors to say more with less. Grammatical metaphors involve expressing one type of grammatical form (e.g., verbs) in another form (e.g., nouns). Nominalization involves turning verbs, adverbs, and other grammatical forms into nouns. It offers a number of key benefits, including:

  • Shortening sentences.
  • Clearly showing how one thing causes another
  • Connecting ideas and structuring text
  • Formalizing the tone of your writing

Here is one example of using nominalization to shorten text:

  • Before: When humans cut down forests, land becomes exposed and is easily washed away by heavy rain. 
  • After: Deforestation causes soil erosion.

Creating an antilibrary

I enjoy buying and eventually reading books. I keep all the books I’ve read in a library, and what I haven’t read yet is organized in piles next to my bed – I can’t yet bear shelving books I haven’t read yet. However, there is a lot to be said about doing just that. Anne-Laure Le Cunff at Ness Labs wrote an article about building an antilibrary, which is a collection of unread books. It’s not a new concept, as many learned people have built antilibraries over the years. The goal is often to collect books on topics you want to learn about, and having those books at the ready will make it easier to do so. Some might argue that the Internet contains all known information, but there is something to be said about being able to reach out and actually read a book on something you want to learn about.

If you’re a freelance writer, consider accumulating an antilibrary of books on writing, marketing, and topics in your niche. When you want to do research or get a different perspective on writing, you can just reach out for one of your unread books.

Quote: When an author mentions another book, check the exact reference and make a note of it. By doing so, you will have a list of all the relevant sources for a book when you are done reading it. Then, research this constellation of books. It is unlikely all the sources on the list will seem interesting to you. Sometimes, only a short passage of the source was relevant to the book you just read. But other times, you will discover a book that genuinely piques your curiosity. Add this book to your antilibrary.

Extracting content from subject matter experts

Have you ever interviewed a subject matter expert who is not the greatest at sharing their knowledge with you in a way that makes sense? For various reasons, it can be difficult to do so. I know I’ve been challenged to get answers out of experts when deadlines are looming. Mindy Zissman at MarketingProfs wrote an article about six ways to extract content from subject matter experts. Her tips include:

  • Booking an Abstract Day (a scheduled date and time to ask questions and get content ideas)
  • Reuse one of their presentations
  • Jump on one of their scheduled client calls
  • Do background research before talking to the expert
  • Ask the expert to record their answers
  • Do a writing workshop lunch and learn

Creating a landing page

There is a lot of information on landing pages to be found online. For those who don’t know, a landing page is a page on your website (or on its own) where you offer something interesting and valuable (e.g., white paper, ebook, newsletter) to visitors in exchange for their email address. CJ Chilvers wrote an interesting post on lessons learned about writing landing pages, which are described briefly below:

  • Remember the basics of what the landing page is about
  • Focus on benefits over features
  • Think in 5 second intervals of what is being read
  • Focus on one action you want from the visitor
  • Everything is a trade-off – something you add / leave out will drive visitors away
  • Every page on your website is a landing page
  • Focus on customers first
  • Test everything
  • Be diplomatic with other members of your team

Creating a marketing plan for your small business

A marketing plan will help you to know more about your customers and how to reach them so they business with you. Matt Gladstone at Flocksy wrote a great article on marketing plan tips for small businesses. He suggested the following five steps for creating your own marketing plan:

  • Create and focus on your goals and objectives
  • Define your target audience
  • Do your research
  • Effectively and efficiently execute your plan
  • Plan a timeline and budget

Check out my blog posts on creating a marketing plan:

Thoughts on writing

Morgan Housel, a partner at Collaborative Fund, wrote a few of his thoughts on writing. This one stood out to me:

Good ideas are easy to write, bad ideas are hard. Difficulty is a quality signal, and writer’s block usually indicates more about your ideas than your writing.

What I wrote

Here’s an article I wrote for Digital Privacy News: Saskatchewan Law Against Domestic Violence Raises Privacy Concerns.

What I read

Here’s a great quote I read from Barbara Tuchman (source: The Book, Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Nov. 1980)) on the power of books:

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.”

What I watched

I’ve just finished watching the first season of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I read the book (and recommend it) many years ago, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did not remember about the story. I was able to enjoy it with fresh eyes, and I’m looking forward to watching season 2. And with season 3 here, I can catch up and watch it in “real time” instead of binging.

What I listened to

I watched this short clip of an interview between Polina Marinova Pompliano and James Clear on how to optimize your content diet.


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.

David

Money habits for freelance writers, practicing every day, how to show value, and more

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Welcome to another Monday. Here are a few things I’d like to share from The Editor’s Desk.

Money habits for freelance writers

Alexis Grant with The Write Life published an article on money habits that freelance writers should adopt this year. It can be difficult to manage and organize your finances, so this advice should help. Here are some of Alexis’ tips:

  1. Separate your personal and business finances (I throw it all into a box… sort of kidding)
  2. Pay yourself regularly (I try, I try)
  3. Be smart about invoicing (my way is old school Word and Excel, but it works for me)
  4. Track expenses diligently (I learned this the hard way after my first tax return)
  5. Review profit and loss each month (my expenses are pretty fixed, so when I make less or more I know what’s going on)
  6. Create a monthly checklist

Practice to get better, not to get perfect

Austin Kleon wrote a blog post called 100-Day Practice and Suck Less Challenge. The point of practice should be to get better, not necessarily to become perfect. You’re not competing against anyone but yourself. The whole point is to improve yourself and your skills, and feel good about doing it.

How to show your value

Wes Kao wrote an article on how to instantly show your value of your product. Some of these strategies can be applied to showing clients the value of your writing, editing or other services as well. You can demonstrate your value by:

  • Using before and after
  • Showing, not telling
  • Not worrying about your grammar (that would be an issue for a writer)
  • Increasing desire rather than just decreasing fiction
  • Using a be / have / do framework
  • Aiming for “no brainer” status
  • Doing what makes their “eyes light up”

How to write a freelance proposal

Evan Jensen from the Make a Living Writing blog published an article on how to write a freelance proposal. Most writers will have to pitch to get work, or write a cold email to get clients – it’s how I find new clients as well. This article has some great advice on what your proposal should include.

Here’s a great quote:

When a prospect comes to you, this is going to sound terrifying, you try and talk them out of hiring you. You do that by having the “Why conversation,” which has three steps. Here’s what you need to ask:

  • Why do you need this project? What’s the purpose? Basically, you have them convince you they need this content to help them achieve a goal.
  • What’s the timeline? Why not put this off another month, another year? Why is this urgent? You’re looking for projects that are urgent. The tighter the timeline and risk involved if the client doesn’t get this project done, the more you can charge.
  • Why do you want to hire me? List off all the people who undercut you, charge less than you, including writers on fiverr and Upwork. If you believe what you do is good, now is the best time to raise those pricing objections, and they’ll see that you’re worth it. Once you get these questions answered, prepare your proposal and include their answers verbatim.

Setting goals

Elizabeth Grace Saunders at Fast Company published an article on setting goals for 2021. It is understandably difficult to set a goal when a lot of other things are going on around you and your mind is otherwise occupied. She talks about different types of goals to set and their purpose, including:

  • Schedule goals – common tasks that will repeat
  • Process goals – standardized results for achieving specific results
  • Action goals – doing what you say you want to do
  • Stretch goals – those extra goals to make life just a bit better

Five types of editing

I’ve been a copy editor for more than 25 years, and I know quite a bit about different types of editing. Clients tend to confuse the different terms and will ask for copy editing when they really want a structural edit. Sola Kihinde with Craft Your Content write a blog post about five types of editing for creating top quality content (you should also check out the Editors’ Association for their definitions of editing). The five types of editing discussed include:

  • Developmental editing – high-level view of the document
  • Content editing (also known as substantive editing) – reviewing content by section and paragraph
  • Line editing (also known as stylistic editing) – focuses on sentences and word usage
  • Copy editing – checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc.
  • Proofreading – checking the final proof for errors

What I wrote

Here’s an article I wrote for ITPro.comHow to become a data scientist.

What I read

Late in 2020, I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I’ve read several of his books, so I was eager to read his newest book. This book entertained and angered me at the same time, which is probably the mark of a good book. The writing, story and characters were great. What angered me was the premise. I’m not spoiling anything, as the description is on the back cover – the main character gets to see what she could have done differently in life to deal with her regrets, and find a life that makes her happy. Don’t we all wish we could have a do over?

What I watched

I finished watching the first (and only?) season of The Queen’s Gambit. The story behind how this show finally made it to air is pretty fascinating, and it’s an interesting show.

I also watched the third (and final?) season of Ozark. It’s just so good – so much lying and intrigue. But it looks like it’s not coming back for season 4 – what a shame.

What I listened to

I listened to a great interview with Tim Ferriss on his own podcast, where Guy Raz interviewed him on how he built what he has today. I knew some of what he discussed, but it was fascinating to learn about how he wrote his books and built his podcast.


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.

David

Getting readers to like you, short marketing tips, and a guide on marketing basics

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Here are a few interesting articles and blog posts I’ve read this past week.

Getting readers to like you right away

Kayleigh Moore wrote a great piece on getting readers to like you within the first 10 seconds of reading your content. She suggests:

  1. Make them laugh. Most people enjoy humorous writing, so being funny can get readers to like you. But make sure it’s your sense of humour. Consider the following ways to inject humour into your writing:
    • Quote other funny people.
    • Make fun of yourself – a little.
    • Aim for dry humour.
  2. Share your flaws. Be honest and vulnerable about the mistakes you’ve made, the challenges you’ve faced, some of your minor fears, etc. It’s not the place to unload your deep issues – unless that’s what you’re trying to achieve.
  3. Spotlight your personal achievements. It’s OK to share some wins you’ve made through hard work and determination. Don’t go around blowing your horn all the time, but no need to be shy when something good happens when you’ve earned it.
  4. Embrace your quirks. Be yourself. We’re all weird in some way. Share the things you like or do or think that are unique to you. People will identify with those things that they do or share with you as well.

Short marketing tips

Josh Spector provides 40 one-sentence marketing tips to help you think differently about how you spread your message. Here are a few of my favourite ones:

  • Marketing is storytelling and the most interesting stories are true.
  • To learn how to capture an audience’s attention, notice how someone captures yours.
  • If you master marketing principles, you don’t need to master marketing tactics because you’ll be able to invent your own.
  • Word of mouth marketing always happens — it’s just not always the words you want.
  • Don’t market on channels you don’t use yourself because you won’t understand why people use them.

Marketing 101

Jamie Wilde from Morning Brew published a guide called Marketing for Beginners: The Best Articles and Expert Resources. It includes insightful case studies, videos, articles, and more that people in the industry use to make them better professionals. It covers the basics (what is marketing?), the concept of brand, basics of consumer behaviour, ethical questions, data in marketing, and more.


Need help with writing marketing copy? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

How to get noticed as a freelance writer on LinkedIn

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I use LinkedIn a lot – to write blog posts, find leads, network with people in my industry, research potential clients and more. It’s a great tool for helping me to grow my business and attract potential clients.

There are numerous experts who write a lot about getting noticed on LinkedIn and building your brand. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to make the most of this resource.

Be consistent

Show up consistently where your prospective clients hang out – in groups, for example. Be consistently visible – write regularly. Be consistent in your message – stick to what works for you.

Be disciplined

Set aside time regularly to market on LinkedIn, research leads, contact prospects, etc. Spend the time to make the network valuable for you, and to add value to your network. Schedule your time weekly, and use that time to add value – help people with leads and introductions. Connect others where you can.

Be yourself

Share your unique perspectives and views. Add commentary on other people’s content. Write interesting articles on what you know. Add your point of view to your articles. Send personal messages to your contacts, and get involved in conversations.

Tools are as effective as you use them, and LinkedIn is no different. It won’t be as effective if you just set up a profile and let it sit there. Make the most of the tools at hand, and get yourself out there.

How do you use LinkedIn to your advantage? Need help with writing great messages? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Adding humour and personality to your prospecting emails

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Thanks to Lianna Patch of PunchLineCopy.com for her article on this topic.

I’ve written about making better use of your subject line to attract prospects and encourage clients to respond to your emails. A well written subject line can mean the difference between getting more responses and getting none at all.

One way to get more out of your email is to inject humour and personality into the subject line. The key is to employ YOUR sense of humour and YOUR personality when writing to prospects and clients. If it’s not your style, or it does not feel right to you for the client or the situation, then don’t do it. However, if you can apply your brand of humour or personality, then there are many opportunities to use smart, funny writing in your subject line to get results.

Following up with prospects

The followup can be powerful. Speak to the benefit of what they will get or the pleasure of working with you.

  • Working together will be a blast.
  • Let’s take your writing project to the next level!
  • Hey! Do you still want to knock out that killer email project?

Sending work to a client for feedback

You need to find out what the client thinks of the work, and what to do next. Show that you care, and inject some life into that subject line.

  • I’m dying to know what you think!
  • Voila! Your marketing materials are here.
  • You have an incoming telegram – your sales letter awaits your attention.

Thanking a client for a great project

Many people neglect to thank their clients after the work is done. You’ll be amazed at how much appreciation (and work) you’ll receive in return, as gratitude emails are very effective.

  • I just wanted to say… you’re the best!
  • This project made the top of my list of favourite gigs ever!
  • Think of this email as a box of chocolate without the calories.

Checking in with past clients

I do this every few months, and often find that I get a nibble after throwing out a few check-in emails. Sometimes, past clients need to be reminded of your existence, and how great it was when you worked together.

  • Danger! Danger! This email will explode if you don’t open it soon.
  • It’s a blast from the past, and better than reruns of your favourite Seinfeld episode.
  • This email will make you smile, as it’s a message from your favourite copy editor.

Sharing something to keep the flame alive

Some people like to share interesting articles or news with clients. Those are good, but adding some personality to your subject line will be the icing on the cake… and who doesn’t like icing?

  • Hey Mark! I thought of you when I read this.
  • I just read the funniest story, and I had to tell you about it.

Additional tips

  • Keep the subject line short and strong when possible.
  • lowercase the first word… didn’t that just stand out when you read it?
  • Use an emoji that fits… but just one.

What did you think of these email tips? Would you use them? Do you have suggestions of your own? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Six elements of influence for freelancers

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As a freelancer or solopreneur, you are responsible for attracting and retaining clients. You have a number of tools at your disposal for getting clients. One overlooked strategy involves increasing your influence – or your ability to get clients to come to you. Your influence serves as a magnet – it draws prospects to contact you and consider you for the services you provide. So how can you work on your “influence muscle” and get more prospects to see you as the solution to their needs?

Consider these six elements of influence, and work those muscles (all together or individually) to become more influential in your field.

Reciprocity

Do something for someone else, and they will tend to return the favour. This is one of my preferred approaches. I will refer clients and leads to people, or help them find something they need – and they’ll be more likely to help me in the future. Reciprocity is a side effect of content marketing – you produce free useful content, and your readers / audience will feel obliged in some way to do something for you. Reciprocity involves giving now to receive later (but without making it feel like an obligation to do so).

Authority

People tend to follow or obey authority figures. It’s in our nature. What you need to develop is earned or demonstrated authority (NOT institutional authority) – your authority comes from your experience and showing your knowledge. Again, content marketing shows that you know what you are doing, which builds your authority.

Liking

We associate and do business with people we like. We want to associate with people we like. Become a likeable expert, and people will want to do business with you. Being likeable is subjective, but it’s relatively simple to achieve – be honest, be yourself, be friendly and approachable.

Social proof

People do what they see others doing. It’s why social networking websites do so well – people go where their friends and influencers go. When people say positive things about you (through testimonials or referrals), others will follow. Pay attention to what others say about you, and spread the word.

Commitment + consistency

When you commit to something, you tend to follow through and do it consistently. People are attracted to those who are committed to their craft, and who show that they are able to do it consistently. When you have a solution to a problem, and demonstrate that you can solve those issues consistently, prospects will want to work with you.

Scarcity

It’s the law of supply and demand. When a resource is scarce, or limited in time or availability, people will want it more. People tend to respond to avoid loss. Think of when you wanted to get something because it was running out. If you have a webinar or run a training course with limited seating or that is only available for a given time, it will trigger a response. This is my least favourite approach, as it can be used dishonestly and can backfire. But used properly, it can help with developing influence.

Build your influence, and you will attract prospects and grow your client list. Do it honestly and use the method(s) that work best for you.

Any questions or comments? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Quick strategies on how to write more effective prospecting emails

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Sending cold and warm emails is an effective way to reach prospects and win clients. However, doing it poorly will be as effective as throwing paper airplanes with your phone number into the wind and hoping for a response. Learn how to do it well and your response rate will go way up (it’s pretty easy to do better than zero).

First, make sure that you DO NOT:

  • Focus on yourself (saying “I”)
  • List all your skills in the email
  • Send the email to a generic title
  • Be inconsiderate of the reader’s time with a very short or very long email
  • Be overly focused on selling
  • Leave the email open for a generic reply

So, now that you know what not to do, here is what you should do to write a great email that gets a response:

  • Write your email directly to the reader. Include something personal that applies to that reader (e.g., you read some great news about their company, you were referred by a colleague) and include the reader’s name in the greeting.
  • Focus on what the reader needs, and how you could solve their problem.
  • Demonstrate what you can do – how you’ve solved a similar problem using a case study or real-world example. Discuss the outcome of using your service, rather than discussing your service.
  • Make it easy for the reader to move forward. Tell them what to do next step, and offer an alternative (e.g., Let’s do this or this, and call/email me here).
  • End with a question, as people will want to respond (e.g., Does that sound good to you?)

One last tip: While you should personalize your emails, you can also create templates / email signatures that include the majority of what you would write to groups of prospects (e.g., communication managers for large firms). This will cut down on the writing and give you a framework around which you can personalize your email.

Do you need help with writing prospecting emails? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David

Lead generation strategies for freelance writers

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If you’re self-employed, then you need to generate leads to keep bringing in new clients for your business. My advice to everyone is to find what works for you, and that you enjoy or are willing to do, and keep doing that. I tend to focus on contacting people through LinkedIn and sending customized emails to potential clients.

However, if you’re having difficulty finding lead generation strategies that work for you, then consider the following list – which I picked up from Josh Haynam at Hubspot.

  1. Collect and share success secrets from thought leaders. You can read books or interview industry experts, and summarize what they’ve said, much like Tim Ferriss has done in Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors.
  2. Make helper videos to solve an issue for prospects. You can also create a learning centre on your website or with your own YouTube channel.
  3. Create a quiz on your website to learn more about visitors and obtain their contact info. You can then publish the results of the quiz.
  4. Provide best practices for a challenging tactic in your industry. Make and share a list of great ideas on how to tackle a challenge, such as best practices for publishing a blog that draws in readers.
  5. Show what is working for you in your business. Provide a list of tips on what has worked or not for you. For example, if you are great at writing white papers, then you can explain what has worked for you, and what to avoid.
  6. Create a useful spreadsheet of resources. Even with Google and the Internet, people appreciate when someone has done the work for them to put together a list of useful resources.
  7. Offer a deep dive answer on a tough question. This means giving in-depth, step-by-step information on how to address a difficult problem. For example, you could go into detail on how people can attract clients at a trade show.
  8. Create a worksheet that simplifies a process. A prospect would give you their email address in exchange for the worksheet that can simplify that aspect of their life. I’ve seen great worksheets on writing sales sheets and marketing materials.
  9. Create a list of useful tools. Readers will use the tools to accomplish a goal, and keep returning to your site to make use of those tools. Even something simple like calculators for specific purposes – mortgages, investments, etc. – would bring in leads, as long as they apply to your business.
  10. Compile examples and case studies for people to learn from. Show how people have succeeded by doing something or following a process. This is effective in niche industries, as people want to learn from others in their industry.
  11. Create a valuable email course that teaches people how to do something (like create the perfect prospecting email) through a series of email lessons. I’ve taken a number of email courses, and they are great for learning at your own schedule.
  12. Host a giveaway. Make the giveaway something that people really want (whatever is hot or useful at that time). Make it something different, like a fountain pen or media streaming device.
  13. Create a template to simplify an everyday process – such as a budget, calendar, schedule or market research.
  14. Offer a free trial of your services. For example, you could edit / review a website page to demonstrate the value you provide.
  15. Make a checklist that takes the reader through a series of steps to ensure that a task is completed. It could serve as an easy reference on a process, such as what you should include in any prospecting email.

What lead generation tools have worked for you? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David