Adjacent possibilities for freelancers who want more.

 

This post is based on a one-hour presentation I have given a couple of times this year.

I won’t try to include the full hour of information, or the 29 slides.

But… I hope to communicate the value and power of adjacent possibilities for freelancers.

To start with… what does that even mean?

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English may be his second language, but his copy rocks.

Online copywriter in English

It’s tempting to think the quality of the copy we write is determined in large part by our ability to write a decent sentence.

We’re wordsmiths, right? That’s the foundation of what we do. We have to be able to put together a sentence that works and makes good sense. We need to understand the basics of grammar.

So my heart sank when I was reading a homework assignment that came across my desk last week. (I’m running a training program right now, and the students submit assignments.)

From the very first sentence it was clear that English was not this writer’s first language.

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No new web page exists in isolation.

Write new web pages in context

Back in the old days, when I was young and writing print ads and direct mail. Before the web. Before everything was connected.

Back then, I could write each piece as a standalone element.

If I wrote a piece of direct mail, what came before and after someone read that package was simple and clear.

The “before” part involved a letter carrier delivering the letter to a prospect’s home.

The “after” part involved 1) The recipient dropping the letter and its contents in the garbage, 2) The recipient completing an order form and mailing it back or 3) The recipient calling a 1-800 number.

That was pretty much it. Easy. Simple.

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How to get into Conversational Copywriting, without faking it.

conversational over coffee

First, a definition of conversational copywriting.

To me, it means writing in the same way you would speak persuasively to a friend over the kitchen table.

Imagine you’re trying to persuade a friend to go hiking with you at the weekend. You’re in conversation, but you’re trying to be persuasive as well.

Because it’s within the context of a real dialog between two people, your language is natural and conversational. Emotional at times.

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It’s not always easy finding the sweet spot for your freelance business.

Truth in freelancing

I get into conversations with a lot of freelancers, many of them just starting out.

And one thing I notice again and again is that freshly-minted freelancers often struggle to articulate exactly what their specialty should be.

  • B2C or B2B?
  • Which industry niche, if any? Financial, health, industrial, travel, other?
  • What kind of writing specialty, if any… sales copy, email, content marketing, social media writing?

It’s important to have answers to these questions. Without answers, you’ll often feel you have no real foundation. It becomes hard to articulate your position and your value to prospective clients.

In other words, if you aren’t completely clear about where you stand, and what you stand for as a freelancer, you going to have a lot more trouble marketing yourself and finding good work.

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3 Things you have to get right when selling with stories.

Selling with a good story

Recently I’ve been seeing a surge in the number of companies jumping on the “story” bandwagon.

A few days ago I was traveling back from the UK. At the airport I saw three references to story. One on a poster, one in a duty-free flier that was thrust into my hand just after I got through security, and the one you see in the photo above, on the pages of an in-flight magazine.

All mention story, but not one of them actually told a story.

It’s as if the writers believed that just using the word “story” would make some kind of difference.

It doesn’t.

If you want to tap into the true power of storytelling in your marketing, you have to actually tell and share a real story.

And to give your story power, it has to get three things right…

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