Write to market; market to write

It’s hard to get work if no one knows you exist. It’s a fact of the freelancer’s life that you are responsible for your own marketing. Now, for those writers focusing on writing articles, or even the great American* novel, your marketing materials could be as simple as perfectly crafted query letters. 

For those of us looking for work in technical writing, copy writing, grant writing, etc., however, a query letter is just not going to cut it. Instead, we’re going to need to create some marketing materials of our own. All of you folks who write this sort of copy for a living should be able to figure the basics out.

And we’re writers, right? We should be able to craft some fine marketing materials without too much stress. Here are a few tips for the specifics of writing your own marketing copy:

  • Write about why you’re such a catch, rather than depending on your personal brand. While a brand is important, your marketing materials should explain why your brand is so strong.
  • Define what you’re able to offer. You don’t need to limit yourself too far, but it should be clear whether you are offering technical writing or grant writing. (And if you offer both, consider separating them in your marketing materials. Set up sub-domains on your website, create individual brochures, etc.)
  • Emphasize differences from your competitors. Think outside the box: awards for customer service can be leveraged just as easily as successful marketing campaigns.

Beyond the writing part of your marketing materials, though, you may need to consider some personal limitations. If you’re not up to designing a brochure beyond pasting text into a Microsoft Word template, it’s okay. It’s just a matter of finding a designer to work with — and there’s just as many graphic designers out there as writers. It’s worth spending a little money on creating excellent marketing materials, but there are options if money is tight. Offer to write copy for both your materials and the designer’s, if he or she will design both sets, or check if there are other barter options.

*You can substitute your own locality if you wish. Personally, I think there’s something to be said for the great Martian novel.

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