Category: marketing

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 –


Adding humour and personality to your prospecting emails

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Thanks to Lianna Patch of 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 –


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.


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).


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.


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.


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 –


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 –


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 –


How can your website generate leads for your freelance writing business?

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Disclaimer: I’m the shoemaker whose kids have no shoes here – I’ve put off redoing my website, which is a must. I’ll use the excuse that I’ve been busy with client work, but in reality, I’m just procrastinating. Still, to follow is some good advice, so don’t let my negligence get in the way of improving your website.

As a freelancer, you need to use a variety of tools to attract new clients to your business. Your website should be one of those key tools. It should be more than a portfolio site – it should work for you 24 hours a day, attracting the leads and clients you want. There are scores of books, websites, blogs and experts who can help you to create a better website. I’ve distilled a few ideas that can help you – the freelancer – create a website that will make your business more stable (i.e., attract clients on a regular basis).

9 things that your website should do

  1. Fit the world view of your ideal client. Don’t be everything to everyone. Address the content on your website to your best or ideal clients. Think how they think. Use the language that they know and use.
  2. Follow design best practices. Find a design you like and emulate it. Make sure that it uses spacing well (not cluttered), clear imagery (nice photos), legible fonts (on all types of viewing devices), etc. Simple is better
  3. Use effective headings. Keep them under 10 words. Each one should explain why the visitor is in that section. Headings should be benefit-focused.
  4. Tell your dream client why they are in their current situation. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, point out the horrors that occurred when they tried to do all the writing themselves, or they used an amateur. Don’t brag about yourself.
  5. Show the reader your passion and experience. Tell them about who you’ve helped, what you’ve done, and why you enjoy doing it. Be real – be yourself.
  6. Explain solutions clearly. State a problem and how you solve it, clearly and simply.
  7. Maximize the value of their visit. Give the reader something for their time – an ebook, cheat sheet, free gift, etc. Encourage them to come back, or sign up to a mailing list or newsletter.
  8. Point to a victory. Include a case study that shows what you did for another client who is like them. Explain what you did differently, and how you solved a problem.
  9. Have a clear call to action. Tell the potential client what to do and what will happen next. If they provide their email address, you will schedule a time to talk about their needs.

Make these changes to your website and you should see results – not right away of course. Your website is a tool, along with marketing, networking, cold / warm calling, etc. Make your website do some of the heavy lifting for you, and you’ll see results.

Let me know if you need help with some of these elements. I can refer you to some great web designers and writers (if I’m not available). Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions –


Two tips for using email marketing to turn prospects into clients

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I’ve written a few blog posts on this topic already: check out two of them here and here.

I’m sure that you’ve sent out many an email to prospects, only to never hear back. It can be frustrating to have to deal with the prospecting void – emails go in and never return. There is a lot of great advice (through books, websites, podcasts, etc.) that can help you to write more effective emails.

Here are two tips that can increase the response rate of your prospecting emails. Use them together for greater success.

Ask for action at every step of the email marketing process

Include a call to action in your email. Too often, we send out emails discussing what we do, or how we can help a prospect to solve a problem, or wanting to talk about how we can improve their productivity… without telling them what to do next. You’re leaving it up to the email recipient to figure out the next step. Without an impetus – the call to action – a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

This does not mean that you should just say “Call me now so that I can sell you this great product or service.” The call to action depends on what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to establish a relationship before making the hard sell. In this case, give them something free and valuable – tell them to click the link to download a free report or provide their email address to sign up for a newsletter that will give them great value or useful information.

The next email might ask them to select a time and date for a short call to find out more about their business, discuss any problems, explain your services, etc. Again, you provide the call to action, such as set up a phone or Zoom call, or email me now for available times to talk.

At every email interaction, tell the person what to do and how to do it. Make sure to:

  1. Be specific. State exactly what they need to do (e.g., click here, download this, enter your email). Any confusion will eliminate action.
  2. Be simple. Use short, simple sentences. Avoid distractions and cut to the point.

Every call to action must use action words (CLICK, DOWNLOAD, CALL, EMAIL) followed by what will happen next (the benefit of completing the call to action).

Position yourself as scarce

There are two aspects of scarcity.

1. Be scarce in who you work with

You can send hundreds of emails to hundreds of potential prospects, and hope that the law of averages works in your favour. Or you can target your prospects to get a higher return on your effort. Being scarce means you choose the clients to work with. You choose a niche, or only work with a certain group of prospects, and focus your email marketing on their needs and the solutions you provide.

2. Make your offer scarce

You provide prospects with a time-limited offer (e.g., the rates go up after a certain date, you invite only 50 people to a webinar). The offer must be valuable and truly scarce, not something that changes. False scarcity leads to false authority. Value your time, skills and offering, and others will value it as well.

Try these email tips for yourself and let me know if they improve your email response rate. I’d love to hear the results. If you need help with writing emails, let me know –


Six tips on putting together prospecting emails that get read

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In a previous blog post, I wrote about how to get a response for your marketing emails. Emails are easy to ignore or delete, and that will happen if you don’t grab the person’s attention. Your goal is to get your email read, and get the reader to respond.

Follow these tips to increase your chances of having your emails read and responded to:

  1. Prepare your email. This step is often ignored. Too little time is spent on research. Spend 5-10 minutes to get some basic information to write your email. Do a quick search on your prospect – read their blog, check out their website, visit their LinkedIn / About Us page, etc. What do they care about? What are their recent social media updates? Determine how you are connected – you can use a mutual contact to develop credibility. Find a trigger event to influence your introduction. All this information will help you to personalize your email, which is key to getting a response.
  2. Write a subject line with the goal of getting a response. The subject line is the first thing the reader will see, so it should focus on your research. Use the context of you research for creating your subject line. For example: <NAME>, I have a quick question for you; <Mutual connection’s name> said that we should connect; Ideas for <important topic>; I have a question for you about <goal>.
  3. Write a powerful opening line. Start by saying something about THEM, not YOU. For example: <NAME>, I noticed you… / … congratulations on; <Mutual connection’s name> mentioned that…; <NAME>, I read your post on…
  4. Use the body copy to relay your value by connecting you to the reader. Avoid any generic value propositions. Ask a question that aligns your research with the prospect’s goals. For example: Do you have any questions about <topic>? Are you alone on this? Has it always been this way? What would you do if you were me?
  5. Always end with a call to action. Tell the reader what you want them to do – call, email, visit your website, download something, etc.
  6. Include a signature. Keep it short, plain black and white text. Add your contact information and a link to your online profile.

Remember that you want the prospecting email to be opened and read, and get a response. Don’t waste your time or theirs by sending hundreds of emails that are all the same. Focus on your prospect, and speak to them. You’ll get a much better response in the end.

Do you need help with writing your emails? Let me know –

David Gargaro

How to get better responses to your marketing emails and LOIs

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I send “cold” and “warm” emails and letters of interest (LOIs) to prospects all the time. It’s one of the main ways that I market my content writing and copy editing services. On occasion, I also conduct research on how to make my marketing efforts more effective. I came across some simple tips to follow that anyone can apply in their email marketing strategy.

These six simple strategies are quite effective and will have a positive impact on your email marketing efforts.

Use shorter sentences with simple words

Avoid writing sentences that are longer than 15 words (where possible). People have short attention spans, and short sentences have more impact. The same goes with simpler words. You don’t need to show your intelligence with fancy words.

Include 1-3 questions in your email

Questions are great for getting a response. People respond to questions – it’s in our nature. However, avoid asking more than three questions. They get lost in the body and readers forget to answer them all.

Include a subject line

Every email must have a subject line. It tells the reader what your email is about. Keep it short (less than five words if possible).

Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone

Neutral emails are easy to ignore. Take a stand either slightly positive or slightly negative. You’ll grab many readers’ attention with your opinion.

Keep the entire message between 50-125 words

If your email is too short, you won’t cover everything you need to say. If it’s too long, it simply won’t be read. Stay on message and focus your writing to control the word count.

Send emails early morning and at lunch time

People read emails first thing in the morning, and on their lunch break. Emails sent at the end of the day or mid-afternoon are easy to ignore and get deleted.

What tips do you have on writing effective prospecting emails? Do you need help with writing your emails? Let me know –

David Gargaro

How do you motivate yourself to market your freelance writing business?

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If you’re a freelance writer like me, then you know that to build your business, you must keep finding new clients – or get clients to find you. Successful marketing includes awareness creation – making prospects aware of you and the services that you provide.

Creating awareness of your services requires motivation – you must motivate yourself to market you and your business all the time. Technology and processes can help, but motivation is the engine that drives your marketing. Motivation comes from knowing why you must market yourself over time. When you understand why, motivation follows more easily. So, how do you achieve this motivation?

Know your value

Understand the value of what you do. You must know how you and your services help others. Make a list of your services, and how they help your clients (and you) to achieve their goals, address their needs, increase their income, solve problems, etc. Focus on the positives to understand your value.

Go for scale

Create a plan to scale your business. Work on getting more clients, and planning on how you will then serve those clients. You might get too many clients to handle now – that’s a good problem to have because you can choose to turn away lower paying clients, or outsource to handle that extra work. Continue working harder so that you can take on more work. You can also create and market supporting products (eBooks, webinars, email courses, etc.) to create additional income. The point is to not think small – do not be hesitant about growth.

Market for fun

Do what you enjoy if it does the job. Marketing should not be a chore to avoid. Add activities that you like doing to your marketing – networking, speaking at events, free talks at schools. As long as you enjoy it and it gets the word out, then keep doing it.

Focus on wins

Position your marketing in a way to create daily small wins. It could mean sending five emails per day, or calling one prospect a week, or writing a blog post / tweet. Traction stars with small wins, and every win is encouraging.


Motivation is the key – to marketing, working hard, improving yourself, and many other aspects of your work and life. Find what motivates you, and use it to market and grow your business.

Do you have more suggestions on motivating yourself to keep marketing? Let me know what you thought of my post –

David Gargaro