Contacting Businesses For Writing Opportunities

16 replies
Hi, I'm relatively new around here. I've made a handful of posts on the forum but I'm usually just lurking in the background seeking out useful information .

I'm a freelance writer. I've been doing pretty well finding clients through forums and referrals. I'm pretty busy with assignments four or five days out of the week, but I still have some slow time I'd like to fill.

I've taken the advice of some fellow freelancers and started e-mailing (cold-calling might be the next step) businesses--some local, some not--in an effort to bring in new business. I started doing this a couple weeks ago. Four of these e-mails were returned with questions about my services, but none of them have led to work as of yet.

The e-mails I've gotten back are all similar. None of them have ever worked with freelancers before. Any company and product literature that they have has been done in-house. But each one of these repliers were obviously very intrigued and asked me all sorts of follow-up questions. So now I'm in the position of trying to persuade them to hire me.

My question to you guys is, how do I--a writer that has experience primarily writing 400-500 word articles for Internet marketing folks--convince a business owner that I would be the ideal person to write things for them such as brochures, website content, marketing materials, etc.? In other words, what is it they want to hear?

As far as niches go, I've written a lot of personal finance stuff, so a lot of these e-mails (a little over half) were sent to companies in that field, but several of them were sent to businesses that I'm less savvy with.

If anyone has any advice on winning over e-mail prospects, or if you have any other suggestions for finding extra writing work (I'm sort of 'anti-content mills', so save your breath if you were going to suggest that.), please let me know. Thanks so much!

-Mike
#businesses #contacting #opportunities #writing
  • Profile picture of the author JJPerkins
    Sorry, can't help with your question but just checked out your samples and I've bookmarked you for future projects.
    Shouldn't be a problem getting more work, it's sooo hard to find decent reliable writers!
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    • In this section of the world, you are brand new. That's kind of the deal with cold calling. Lots of people in businesses don't answer unsolicited emails so that is going to bring your response rate down.

      Cold calling could work for you, but you have to keep at it and you need a lot of prospects, not onesis twosies out of a Google search. You could also try a lumpy mail piece, thos eusually get opened or even one of those "kind of look like Fedex" envelope deals to get your mail open.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Tandan
    Hey Mike,
    Sam England and Lina Trevedi put out a very well rated WSO called Ghostwriting Blueprint. I'd recommend it highly.
    Lina, a writer, literally gives you an over the shoulder look at how she goes about finding clients, negotiating rates, and building her writing business.
    Of course I'm not providing a link here, but it will be easy to find.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Daley
      If you are prepared to do something for free, ask them to give you a minor assignment (given that they are now asking you questions) like re-writing a brochure, a sample from a manual, a profile of the company. This will also help you to determine how serious they are in their interest in you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
    Originally Posted by mjsing3r View Post


    My question to you guys is, how do I--a writer that has experience primarily writing 400-500 word articles for Internet marketing folks--convince a business owner that I would be the ideal person to write things for them such as brochures, website content, marketing materials, etc.? In other words, what is it they want to hear?

    -Mike
    Well, this may not be very helpful to you but past work is the best way to convince them you'd be a good fit. I know, this is like a catch 22 "I can't land these clients because I don't have relevant past work but I can't get that without landing clients".

    I'm going to second what Steve said about offering something for free. Don't go overboard and offer to redo their entire website or something. Just offer them something. This has worked really well for me in the past.

    I would do my usual spiel but I would end it by telling them I'd rather just produce a free sample so they can see, for themselves, how well I fit with what they need.

    It doesn't always work 100% of the time but it does show them a few things:

    1. You really believe in what you do, so much so that you're positive you'd be a great match for them.

    2. You're willing to back this up with proof.

    3. You're really eager and excited to do this work.

    Try it out and see what sort of responses you get. It can't hurt.
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  • Originally Posted by Marx Vergel Melencio View Post

    I don't tag a price to my work based on quality. That's a subjective angle. Your samples, previous relevant work and testimonies from current buyers can show that, anyway. If they think your work's what they want, then they look at your price. If it's good for them, you get a buyer. If it's out of their budget, then they move on.

    I base my price on the results my work can offer, which is in direct relation to the value it brings the buyer. It's all about the value of your offer for the buyer.

    Content buyers need more traffic, wider exposure in target markets and more sales. Tell them you can deliver the results they need, provide verifiable facts that can substantiate your claims, and tag a price to your work in direct relation to the value that your work will give them.

    As a freelancer, other objective things to use as base points for pricing include knowledge and expertise in relevant subject areas, problems and overheads in sourcing and hiring and training and providing balanced work-life environments to people with the same level of expertise in those relevant subject areas, current market rates for the time and expertise of those people and the overall viability of the buyer market's business and investment ventures. These things can be quite time consuming yet possible to gather in a presentation material, which you can use to base your prices on, but hey: It's your livelihood, so why cut corners? And:

    At this point, I'm sure you noticed that your unique selling proposition, for your services, on top of the objective factors mentioned above, is comprised of:

    =>> The results your offer can provide buyers in direct relation to the value they want. For instance:

    =>> First Step <<=

    I can offer the results that my target market wants in exchange for the prices I charge for my services. I can then show interested buyers verifiable facts that can substantiate my specialized knowledge and expertise in the tech niche. I can then show them measurable results I have given my other clients and the value those results have given them. If they walk away because of anything I mentioned, then they walk away. If they're interested, then they contact me, so on to the second step...

    =>> Second Step <<=

    Since they contacted me at this point, I show them samples and previous relevant work. Upon their request, I also give them a list of government offices and private institutions and credible people in relevant industries to call and verify these facts and the results that I have provided these organizations and people with my services. Also upon their request, I can give them a list of previous and current clients to call and verify that these businesses and people indeed received the results they wanted from my services. At this point, you show them your subcontract details and tell them to review the things in that subcontract, then get back to you for any changes or recommendations or suggestions or counter proposals, until you close the subcontract. However, how do you start this 2-step process?

    The main thing here is a unique angle to your unique selling proposition (measurable results indirect relation to the value that your target markets want), especially if you're just starting out. That's your irresistible offer within an already enticing offer. An example of this is:

    =>> Offering your services at an exclusive discounted price to companies without an affiliate program, in exchange for XX% commissions for each sale or lead generated by the content materials you'll develop for their sites and offsite publication networks, because you'll use your own resources to drive traffic to those content materials, so you can give them more leads and sales, equivalent to more commissions for you. You'll also benefit from the online and offline marketing campaigns that'll most likely be implemented by those companies, especially if they have newly launched products that can become wildly popular in their target markets...
    Source: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...e-writing.html

    This post starts out focusing on pricing and whatnot, but he does a great job describing how to sell yourself, too. This is a warrior worth following.
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    • Profile picture of the author MNord
      I started out as a freelance writer and now am a marketing director that hires freelancers. So hopefully I can offer some helpful perspective.

      Also, I took today off and just finished my second martini. So I am feeling talky right now.

      First, I would not invest too much time trying to sell companies that don't already use freelance writers. Even if they hire you, they can be hard to work with and often are not willing to pay much. Of course there are exceptions.

      So #1: go after clients that already know they need you, and are willing to pay. Preferably, they already have a budget.

      Next. Since a good writer is a valuable resource, I will at least look at ANY email or letter a freelancer sends. Even if I don't really need them right now. I will talk to them if they call, or llsten to their voicemails if they leave them.

      So #2: have no fear of contacting a business. Some of us need you.

      HOWEVER: If you are not confident, don't know my industry, or lack the level of polish I'm looking for (either in your written correspondence or on the phone) you're toast. I can sniff you out in 30 seconds or less.

      So #3: Know my business, and communicate like you know my business.

      Next. I am extremely busy. So as much as I hate to admit it, I forget about people. Sometimes I don't return messages promptly. I don't always check my spam filter, and when I do, sometimes I just hit "delete all." So if you don't check in periodically, you might get lost and someone more persistent might get my work. Sorry--not fair, but sometimes that's how it goes.

      #4: Once you know that I actually do hire freelancers, keep in touch at least quarterly. Even if I don't respond to every message.

      Once I hire you, you need to help me create an end product that is high quality and that I don't have to work on extensively to get into final form. I may actually tolerate minor problems if overall the product is very good, you are easy to work with and you meet my deadlines. But if I have to spend lots of time cleaning up your work, or if you don't respond to my inquiries promptly, or if you blow a deadline, you will never work for me again. Or any of the other marketing directors I know. I promise.

      #5: Give me high quality writing, when I need it. And don't be an a**hole.

      Here's the kicker. If you give me ideas or work product that are better than I could do myself (and I am good--not the best, but very good) and make me the hero in my company, I will send you as much work as I can. I will pay your fees without bitching, and recommend you to all my friends that hire freelancers. And you will make a lot of money.

      I hope this has been helpful. Time for my third and last martini. Goodnight .
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by mjsing3r View Post

    My question to you guys is, how do I--a writer that has experience primarily writing 400-500 word articles for Internet marketing folks--convince a business owner that I would be the ideal person to write things for them such as brochures, website content, marketing materials, etc.? In other words, what is it they want to hear?

    As far as niches go, I've written a lot of personal finance stuff, so a lot of these e-mails (a little over half) were sent to companies in that field, but several of them were sent to businesses that I'm less savvy with.
    Mike, from what you've written in your post, a business owner would be right to question your suitability. By your own admission, you don't have any relevant experience. What benefits do you believe you can bring to a business that you know little about?

    I'm not suggesting you're not good enough to write for them, but you have to know exactly what you're bringing to the party if you want to convince a client of your worth. If you're not sure, how can you expect them to be?

    You need to research potential clients and their markets. You need to know the kind of content they're currently using and what they're using it to achieve. You need to have a plan as to how your writing can improve their profitability. Then you need to convince them that you're the right person for the job.

    In fields where you've got some experience, such as personal finance, by all means use your past work to demonstrate your expertise. But tailor your pitch to the client's particular business, and remember to stress what's in it for them.

    Where you don't have any experience, you'd be better advised to carry out more research, and hold off your pitch until you're sure you can demonstrate your value to the client.


    Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author vuccha
    have anyone tried Ghostwriting Blueprint of Sam England and Lina Trevedi
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  • Profile picture of the author pepes4329
    I'm a business owner of a Brick & Motor business. I need a writer

    And I know some what of SEO. Enough to know I know what I need from a writer

    PM me I need some web content
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  • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
    Post a copy of the sales letter you are sending them.

    Originally Posted by mjsing3r View Post

    As far as niches go, I've written a lot of personal finance stuff, so a lot of these e-mails (a little over half) were sent to companies in that field
    The credit card article sample on your site contains advice that will result in a lower credit score for readers. What do you think the personal finance companies you mailed think of that?
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    • Profile picture of the author mjsing3r
      Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

      The credit card article sample on your site contains advice that will result in a lower credit score for readers. What do you think the personal finance companies you mailed think of that?
      I personally follow the tips in that article, so I can tell you from experience that those suggestions do not result in low credit scores. The article suggests ways to keep you from accumulating bad debt. It doesn't advocate eliminating the use of credit entirely. I've had no problem building a good credit score following that advice (Eric Tyson, the famous personal finance guru, shares these sentiments.).
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      • Originally Posted by mjsing3r View Post

        I personally follow the tips in that article, so I can tell you from experience that those suggestions do not result in low credit scores. The article suggests ways to keep you from accumulating bad debt. It doesn't advocate eliminating the use of credit entirely. I've had no problem building a good credit score following that advice (Eric Tyson, the famous personal finance guru, shares these sentiments.).
        Feel like I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of this quote: "The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'statistic'."
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  • Profile picture of the author AffiliateBlogger
    I've been approached by a few Marketing/SEO agencies, but they'd like to pay about $15US for a 400-500 word article. I think that's pretty low, especially if you do research and write high quality, original pieces. There are tons of this type of article buyers out there. Why don't you try querying magazines for paid articles?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    Originally Posted by mjsing3r View Post

    My question to you guys is, how do I--a writer that has experience primarily writing 400-500 word articles for Internet marketing folks--convince a business owner that I would be the ideal person to write things for them such as brochures, website content, marketing materials, etc.? In other words, what is it they want to hear?
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  • Profile picture of the author Assignmentwriter
    Contact business owners give them good or bad feedback on their business and discuss them about their business to get project.
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