Guerilla Marketing Tips for Writers

I never really understood the term guerilla marketing.  There really isn’t anything to do with scratching your armpits or bananas, when you come to think about it.  (I’m only half kidding.)  Earlier in the year I talked about querying out of the box – going out and finding those off chance opportunities.  Now I’d like to share some thoughts with you on how you can really maximize your marketing presence without a big budget.

What does guerilla mean for writers?

Well, guerilla for writers to me means doing something so utterly ridiculous that it works – because nobody else thought of it.  Consider Jennifer Belle, who is paying actresses to stand in prominent areas in New York City and laugh aloud while reading her book.  Crazy?  Uh huh.  Has she been lambasted by the media?  Yup.  Is it so stupid and weird that it might just work?  Indeed.

What crazy stuff could you do?

How could you be a guerilla marketer?  Some ideas:

  • SEO:  That’s search engine optimization.  Spend some time (a few hours) in the Google keyword research tool. Instead of working on competitive keywords, like “freelance writer in Los Angeles” for example, see if you can’t find some good keyword phrases like “freelance writer specialize in haiku.”  It might be a phrase that just gets 50 or a hundred searches a month, but what if 5% of those turned into gigs?
  • JV:  That’s a joint venture.  Could you partner with another writer or entrepreneur to offer some awesome service that clients crave (and willing to pay good money for)?  Maybe you could partner with a graphics designer to do eBooks, or maybe there’s another writer that covers a different segment of your niche?
  • Social Media:  Not a surprise here, though many writers still haven’t gotten on board.  There are ample opportunities to make connections and buzz (not noise) on social media.  But you have to stand out – playing along with what everyone else is doing isn’t good enough.  Ditch the #FollowFriday hashtags and the bog-standard Facebook Fan pages and come up with someone that is just yours and very awesome.

The most successful marketing plans take advantage of what you have.  Were you a programmer in a former life? Then build something cool.  Do you have a huge network?  Use it.  Have some cash?  Send it to me. Spend it wisely.

The Reality of Today’s Market

Today’s writing market is a competitive one:

  • Technology advances have given writers who are lazy or just not that good a place at the table.  In other words, they can email an editor just like you can 🙂
  • “Content mills” and the diverse options for getting content written.  (We won’t get into it further.)
  • Markets changing so rapidly:  yesterday it was online magazines, tomorrow is it iPad magazines?

What this means is that if your approach to marketing yourself as a writer is mediocre, that isn’t good enough.  The real success is by doing something a little out of the box, a little fun, and being unafraid to try something different.  A lot of writers are lazy, so just by taking a chance, you’re doing more than 80% of them out there.

Do you have a ‘guerilla marketing tip’ for writers?

Photo by mahalie






2 responses
  1. Meili Avatar

    I know I should get out of my comfort zone but it’s so hard and I feel discouraged when clients ask for really low rates. *sigh*

    1. Andy Hayes Avatar

      It’s hard, Meili, but keep pushing. You’ll find those clients who pay what you are asking for. I know it’s hard but persistence is rewarded.

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