You’ve got your goals in place, so now it’s time to consider how you’re going to reach them. Writing is a pretty varied field. Maybe you’re primarily interested in blogging for hire, or writing brochure copy or creating articles for print publications. What’s your first choice? What’s your second choice? What writing projects will you refuse to touch, even with a ten-foot pole?
Creating a Service List
You may notice that I don’t have a service list posted on my website. That doesn’t mean I don’t have one — mine is just for internal use only. I refer to it so that I don’t have to decide on the fly what I really think a project is worth. Creating such a list is surprisingly simple and it’s the next step in moving towards a marketing plan. I recommend using the spreadsheet of your choice in order to organize the information you’re about to compile.
- Start by writing out the projects you enjoy working on. On my list, for instance, I have projects like ‘article writing,’ which I’ve actually broken down into sub-categories based on the word count.
- Add in the price you typically charge for such a project.
- If you’ve got an idea of how long it takes to complete such a project, add that information as well.
- You’ve got the option here to raise your rates. How high your rates should work out to depend on your area and experience, of course, but if that number works out to less than $10 per hour, you definitely need to raise it.
- Repeat the cycle with projects you don’t necessarily enjoy but that you are willing to work with. You can add a little to your rates as a premium for taking on a project that doesn’t interest you as much.
Your service list gives you at least a hint of exactly what you’ll be marketing. If you prefer writing articles for magazines, your marketing efforts are going to be directed in a very different manner than if the top section of your list is made up of copy writing services.
It’s worth noting that your service list may include a few non-writing services, such as social media promotion, photography or page layout. That’s cool — just stick it in there and add the appropriate information.
Taking Your Service List to the Next Level
In many cases, you’ll get a project that has multiple parts. With a blogging project, you may be writing multiple posts of differing lengths. You might also be promoting the posts elsewhere. If you prefer to put together bigger projects — and there are definite financial reasons to do so — this is your opportunity to consider whether you can charge a special rate for them. Maybe you’re prepared to cut a client a deal with a client for five press releases for the price of four or you’re ready to offer an editor a photograph for free to land a big article.
Knowing in advance how far you’re prepared to adjust your rates allows you a lot of latitude in your marketing: you can use techniques like coupons and discounts to bring in new clients, as well as incorporating those discounts into other opportunities, like advertising and email newsletters.
What package deals make sense for you? What kind of services have your clients needed over the course of one project?
If you missed yesterday’s post on setting goals, you can still catch up!