Have you ever considered the costs of hosting a book tour? Hotels, airfare, and personal expenses while you’re away can amount to a shocking total. Hosting a webinar is the best alternative. Anyone from any part of the world can attend a webinar, and they don’t even need to leave their home. Rather than shelling out tons of cash, a webinar allows you to promote your book efficiently and inexpensively – as long as you approach it correctly. [Read more…]
In the world of blogging and internet marketing, a ‘call to action’ is a message that encourages prospects to perform a specific task. This can involve purchasing a product, making a donation, subscribing to a newsletter or feed, joining your community on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, things of that nature.
The specific action is defined by the marketer and is based on personal goals.
When you think about it, call-to-actions are really a very natural result of the majority of human interactions we experience almost daily.
How many times have you called a friend up, exchanged pleasantries and idle banter for a bit, then before hanging up, you ask them to get together sometime for lunch, a beer, whatever. The friend usually responds affirming the appreciation and acceptance of the invitation, a date and time agreed upon – a call-to-action offered and fulfilled.
This is just one example of how we tell others how we would like them to continue the interactions that’s going on between us.
If we use this technique in conjunction with our content, the call to action shifts from being a subtle request to more of a considerate obligation that requires your prospects immediate commitment.
Sometimes I feel that way when I’ve read something from local charities – I subscribe to several because you just never know when you might be able to help out in some small way. However, I’m am a big animal rights advocate and that’s where the bulk of my charitable contributions are directed most times. When I see an animal at our local animal protection league that needs serious help and funds to get that help, I feel a strong sense of obligation to assist somehow. I hear their call to action and I respond.
Unfortunately, this same technique works for those get-rich-quick scams that continually prey on our basic desire for happiness, which we all know is often tied to financial wealth. If the message is commanding enough, people will generally do whatever that “call-to-action” is commanding they do. Even if it’s a bad thing!
Another habit we possess instinctively is to share information. We often share information about our experiences with products, services or places – good or bad – we do like to share! Sometimes we share details even if no one asks for it.
Utilizing this instinct, and coupling it with a “call-to-action” seems like a pretty good plan, don’t you think?
If you want someone to spread the word about your content or service, ask them. Many times, they will share the information even if you don’t offer some kind of incentive.
Good idea – Then comes the monkey wrench…
Modesty, pride and fear are the main obstacles that get in our way. Right?
Let me guess – The little voice inside your head tells you that you’ll come off as conceited? You’re too proud to beg? Fear of rejection is a real issue?
So what else can you do?
You publish free content. You give away free tools without asking for anything in return. You do this consistently. You nurture your reputation. You build a following.
That’s what you do!
Once you’ve given your readers enough of yourself by sharing your knowledge, you won’t feel guilty in asking for a little help.
Repeat after me – There’s Nothing Wrong With Asking for Help
I’ve seen bloggers use a variety of “call-to-action” models. Some focus on increasing their social reach and some focus on revenue generation or donations. For the most part, people are more then willing to give away compliments or subscribe with an email address while fewer are willing to part with money.
Your “call to action” requests should be set up in a way that says ‘do this now.’ Don’t let your prospect’s interest or satisfaction diminish or allow them to become distracted by other things drawing their attention away.
If you are giving away free content, you *should* ask yourself WHY you are doing that – Then learn to embed your call to actions in some of those masterful pieces.
Don’t let modesty, pride or fear stand in the way of asking your readers to help in some way and don’t underestimate the power of reciprocity.
These are behaviors exhibited within the influential social norm that can be used to your advantage, especially when it comes to blogging and marketing online.
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For most of the Freelance Writing Jobs community, it’s not enough to be a freelance writer. You want to be a successful freelance writer. However, freelance writing success isn’t found on a job board or even a blog. You can find your success by cultivating good habits and working hard to get ahead.
The most successful freelance writers know what it takes to be the very best:
The ability to complete projects without succumbing to distractions is important. When you’re constantly stepping way from your work space to check on kids, see what’s to eat or watch the news, you’re not getting much done. It will take more effort to finish a piece if you have to break your focus every ten minutes. The most successful freelance writers find times to work undisturbed. This might mean finding times to work when no one is home, or working at a place such as the library where there aren’t as many distractions. Focus enables writers to stay on task, work without as many mistakes, and finish each project sooner than if they had to stop every 30 minutes to handle home matters.
What motivates you to stay on task and continue to find work? Successful freelance writers don’t stop at one project or client and they have more than one gig. They’re driven to land new clients and achieve higher rates of success and pay. If you’re driven you won’t stop at anything to achieve your goals. You won’t settle for only low paying gigs, but will instead use all your experiences as stepping stones to take it to the next level. Drive is what keeps us going. It gets us out of bed and through our day. We don’t procrastinate because we’re driven. We’ll stop at nothing to get what we want.
Successful freelance writers are confident. They don’t hope and they don’t wish … they know they can get the job done. Their confidence shows through in every query letter, every job application and every writing project. Their confidence doesn’t keep them from applying for or accepting jobs, nor does it keep them from raising their rates and landing lucrative projects.
Successful freelancers know the importance of keeping the channels of communication open with their clients. They ask lots of questions and encourage questions from those they work for. They regularly inform their clients of a project’s progress and don’t let questions go unanswered for days. They know the onus is on them and if they don’t hear back from a client in a reasonable amount of time, they will make contact again. In short, successful freelancers don’t leave anything up to chance.
Perseverance goes hand in hand with the second item on our list, drive. Successful freelancers are where they are today because they don’t give up. Even when the going gets tough they continue. They don’t let rejection or famine stop them from their goals. They’re not spooked by the competition. They’re successful freelancers because they’re not quitters.
For successful freelancers it’s not enough to write and earn a living. They have goals. There’s a clear picture in their minds about what they want to achieve and how they will get there. They know what they want to earn, the types of writing they want to do, and what they hope to achieve with their writing. Each day is a carefully planned step in achieving their goals.
Successful freelancers work well with others. They don’t see other freelancers as competitors but more as collaborators. They find others to work with on book, blog, and ebook projects and outsource work when there’s overflow. Successful freelancers know they can’t fly solo all the time.
8. Follow Up
Successful freelancers follow up. They follow up on queries and letters of interest, and they contact their clients after a project is completed to ensure satisfaction. Successful freelancers ask clients if there’s anything else that’s needed and to be kept on file for future projects. Successful writers know how to give value with their experience.
9. Accept Feedback
Successful freelancers ask for and appreciate feedback. They enjoy hearing when a job is done to a client’s satisfaction, but also, they want to know when clients aren’t satisfied. Both positive and negative feedback are given the same consideration and all are opportunities for improvement.
Successful freelance writers don’t wait for business to come to them. They promote and market their work and their business. They network online and offline in hopes of building brand awareness and a client base. They share online and attend networking events. They know promotion is key to success.
What are your successful habits?
How many times have you read that bit of advice?
Well, it’s rock-solid. If you aren’t making a point of marketing yourself, the risk of falling into that ugly feast/famine cycle is exceedingly high. If you aren’t building marketing time into your schedule, it’s tough to move up the income ladder.
So, make time for promoting yourself.
But not too much time.
I’ve been working on redesigning my workflow lately in an effort to improve my efficiency, boost my bottom line, maintain something approximating sanity and to provide ample opportunity to catch a number of weekday afternoon Royals games this summer. Following some good advice, I’ve been more conscious of what I do every day and I’ve made a discovery: I spend too much time on the marketing and promotion side of things.
I know that many writers get good results by working through job listings, but I’ve responded to exactly two of those ads over the years I’ve been in the business. I secure client work via repeat clients, word of mouth and rainmaking. It keeps my busy. Maybe too busy. I’ve realized that I need to take my foot off the gas.
Yesterday, for instance, I saw a little Facebook status update from someone I’ve hired in the past to do some non-writing related work. I couldn’t resist dropping him a line about the project he mentioned and discussing a content creation option that might be of interest to him. We had a nice back-and-forth and it might lead to something.
Later, while doing some research on another project, I wandered into a fascinating website that was chock-full of great information. It also looked like it was put together in 1995 (sparkly animated GIFs and the whole works), even though the business is still updating it. I could immediately see how its over-long, rambling pages of almost-impossible-to-find text and images could be broken into individual pages and posts within a WordPress framework to produce a much better site. Some good organization, a lot of rewriting, a little new material, some keyword research, some basic SEO and a few other bits of “this and that” and they’d have something really effective instead of being discoverable only by those staring at a business card or finding it via a link on an almost equally obscure site.
So, I pitched them cold with an email. They responded this morning. Looks like another client.
I don’t keep stats on my rainmaking efforts. However, they produce clients more often than you might think. That’s great–until you find yourself looking at more work than you can handle without cutting other things out of your life.
There are at least four ways I might control the over-marketing problem. I can bump rates to control my workload. I can work on ways to better scale my business for increased growth by bringing in additional people and resources. I can be less aggressive in the rainmaking department. I can say “no” more often. I’m dabbling in all four, but I know this will be a tough nut to crack. Sometimes, I think I need a Twelve Step program on this front.
But fixing my personal issues isn’t really the point of this post. I think the whole over-promotion thing stems from a common fear experienced by many freelancers–what will happen next?
Even those of us who’ve been doing this for a long time have a hard time fighting that nagging feeling that we could wake up tomorrow with nothing profitable to do. The last few years have crushed the old idea of job security for just about everyone, but freelancers don’t just work with an economically ravaged safety net–we don’t have one at all.
We’ve all heard (or have survived) the famine side of the feast/famine cycle at least once and we don’t want to visit that territory again.
In an effort to build a more secure business, we’re always prospecting for work. Some of us do it even when we really don’t need to do so.
So, I’m wondering… Are you successfully managing a promotion addiction? If so, how? Do you consciously limit your business-building efforts or do you just “let ‘er rip” and then deal with the consequences?