As writers, the idea of away our writing for free can be a bit of adjustment. Once you’ve gotten used to the idea of offering up a little bit of free content, such a newsletter or a blog, it gets easier. If you’re willing to take that free content a step further, you can get attention from even more clients.
Free resources, like ebooks and webinars, give you an opportunity to find prospective clients that are already interested in the type of writing services you offer and transform them into clients ready to hire you.
Answer Some Questions
When someone is first thinking about starting a new project for their company — maybe building a website, maybe designing a new brochure — she will usually have some fairly common questions. These days, most people will start looking for answers to those questions online. If you’ve got a resource in place to answer those questions, you can provide a potential client with the information she needs and start building a relationship that will give that client a reason to turn to you when she’s ready to start the project.
Deciding what questions you’re planning to answer is the first step to deciding on what kind of resource you want to offer and how you’re going to put it together. It’s important to make sure that your resource focuses on some aspect of your target niche that clients routinely have questions and concerns about — even if they aren’t far enough into the planning process to know exactly what those questions are.
There’s a surprisingly easy way to discover that information: ask your current clients what information they would have liked to have when they were looking to hire a writer. What questions did they have? And, if they can remember, how did they look for that information? Your current clients may be able to tell you exactly what your resource needs to offer. If they can tell you how they went about finding information, you may even be able to figure out the best format to present that information.
If you’re changing niches or just starting out, information may be a little harder to come by. Try to put yourself in a client’s shoes. What would you search for to convince you whether you need a new brochure or to help you decide between one writer or another? No matter how you find your information, however, make sure your resource is as closely tied to your niche as possible. If you focus on writing for small businesses, make sure that your resource covers thing from a small business angle, from title to footnotes.
Unless you have a clear cut reason to offer a resource in anything other than a written format (ebook, report, etc.), take advantage of this opportunity to show off your writing skills. Give a demonstration of why a client would want to hire you. It may make sense to outsource the design and layout of your resource to a designer, though — don’t be afraid to barter or trade work to keep your costs down.
Give Away Your Resource
Once your resource is ready to go, give it away to everyone you can. Avoid making any requirements for downloading it, like joining your mailing list: you want your resource to get around.
- Ask your clients to pass it along to anyone they know who might need it
- Share it with members of forums
- Email it to bloggers who cover your niche
While you don’t want to spam anyone with your resource, you do want to make sure that gets seen.
As long as your name is on your resource and there are at least a few live links back to your site, you’ll find that letting it loose with minimal controls will make it easier for people to find you through that resource.
What resources have lead you to find new websites? What good examples have you seen?
Didn’t get a chance to read this weekend’s posts? Catch up with Day 18: Go to Conferences and Day 19: Team Up with Other Freelancers. I also talked about the possibility of turning these posts into an ebook on Saturday: please share your opinion on that post.