Tagged: John Soares

Writer’s Log #18, Taking it Up a Notch

By Joe Dyton

Well, hello! I couldn’t believe I’d let a week go by since my last post. That’s inexcusable to be honest. It’s not like I was away the last week or anything. Actually, most of my free time was spent tethered to my laptop as my girlfriend puts it. So, I definitely could have put up a couple of posts. The fact of the matter is I had spent most of my free time looking for companies to email about my writing services. At least my non-blogging time was spent looking for work, but I know I need to be more diligent documenting my quest to become a freelance writer here.

As for the title of the post, it’s what I realized I need to with my marketing if I want to get a good amount of work. I mean, I knew this before; the more I reach out to businesses, publications, etc., the more I increase my odds of landing gigs. I got a good reminder of this equation last week when I read this great post published by Yuwanda Black about an SEO writer who had a $1,000 day and already has $10,000 in work lined up for the year. The whole story was impressive, but one sentence really jumped out at me, “…up your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re used to sending out 50 emails and landing at least a couple of jobs, you may have to send out 150 to land the same number when times are slow.”

After I read that, I knew I had to step up my marketing efforts. I’ve been trying to get away with sending 10 to 15 emails out a day. That’s not bad if I had steady work, but since I’m still trying to build a client base, I probably should be aiming for 20 to 30 emails and/or calls a day. I got exhausted just writing that last sentence, but if I’m getting limited replies from what I’m doing now, I don’t see another option but to “take it up a notch.”

This isn’t to say, I’m getting no feedback. I got a very positive response the other day from a marketing firm who said it’s always looking for good writers. Someone from the firm sent me their general pricing guide to show what they charge customers and most of their rates were in line with what I’d charge someone for certain projects. Other rates were more than I currently charge. I am excited to hear back from them.

I got a couple other offers to write from sites. One was the sports blog I mentioned in my last post. I have a feeling I’m going to pass on that one; apparently my pay would be based how much ad revenue my post generates. I understand that if I work really hard and come up with stories that could bring in a lot of traffic, I could make out alright. My concern is what if i do all of this research, and submit a week’s worth of stories (the site requests at least seven posts a week during the season the team I’m covering is currently playing) and they don’t generate hardly any revenue? The earning potential could be great, but it could also be bad, and the latter concerns me. I’d much rather write for a moderate, flat per-post fee to be honest.

The other offer would give me that, but the pay isn’t great; $20 for a 500-word post, with the potential to get bumped up to $40. I have this some consideration; I thought it might be good to have a position like this in my back pocket where I could write when I feel up to it and make a little extra cash here and there. Then I read this story by Kristen Hicks about why us freelancers owe it to one another to start charging more. It was an insightful article that did a great job explaining how we can all benefit from helping businesses understand what our services are truly worth. I don’t think I’d be helping the cause by pumping out $20 500-word articles.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though. If you think I’m crazy for turning away any kind of work, please tell me so in the comments section! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.

Thanks for reading!

Joe

THE LINKS:

I downloaded Sophie Lizard’s (FREE!) “The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs”. I can’t wait to read through it.

Jenn Mattern breaks down two freelance writing niches: Profits vs. Passion.

Shawndra Russell reveals the Table of Contents to her book, “How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days”.

John Soares can help you get more freelance gigs for more money.

Jessica Leigh Brown explains how she landed two writing clients and $1,000 in just seven emails.

Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance copywriter and journalist in Washington, DC and co-host of The GD Podcast with Mike Grant & Joe Dyton. He may be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com.

 

Writer’s Log #13: Nice to Meet You

By Joe Dyton

Hello! It’s been a little over a week since my last post. I’ve been traveling and had a few deadlines to meet, but I am back to what I hope will be a regular writing schedule. 

Over the past week, I’ve been hard at work looking for new writing clients. I’ve gotten some responses; they have varied from, “Thanks for the email, we’ll keep your information on file should the need arise” to “We don’t have a freelance budget right now.” It’s frustrating at times, but I know if I want to make a freelance writing career happen, I have to keep reaching out to companies, publications, etc.

As I’ve mentioned, along with looking for clients I have been reading up on how to expand my business, where to find clients, etc. One of my resources has been Shawndra Russell’s “How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days”. Last night, I explored Step #13 which is to join your local Chamber of Commerce. According to Russell, it’s a great way to make contacts and meet potential writing clients. You might even get a chance to write for the Chamber of Commerce itself.

Before I wrote a check to join, I wanted to see what it was all about. Luckily, my local Chamber held a happy hour for young professionals which it allowed me to attend. I’m glad that I went; I got to meet some interesting people from a wide range of professional backgrounds; water cooler sales, public strategy companies, medical centers, home renovations and more. If you’re looking for a way to meet potential clients outside of the usual email/phone/mail route; I recommend looking into your local Chamber of Commerce. If it holds networking events like mine does, you’ll be in a room full of people who work for businesses that could use a writer. A couple of people I met told me that their companies were a little shorthanded when it came to writers. My hope is I will be able to help them down the road.

I decided that I am going to join my local Chamber of Commerce. Here’s hoping it leads to some new business and friendships.

The Links:

Courtney Jones provides 5 do’s and don’ts for handling your copywriting client’s feedback.

No clips? Linda Formichelli has 6 ways to convince an editor to hire you anyway.

It’s Tax Time! John Soares offers up 8 ways to lower your 2013 freelance writer tax bill.

Tom Ewer explains how to make $150 or more per hour as a freelance blogger.

Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He may be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com.

 

Writer’s Log #8 (Job) Board to Death

By Joe Dyton

I have to admit, I was a little lazy with my marketing efforts today. After a long day at the full-time job and getting interviews set up for my article that’s due on Friday, I didn’t have a lot left in the tank to go searching for work. I was tempted just to take the night off, but instead decided to hit up the old job boards to look for clients. I know that’s not ideal, but I figured job board-based marketing is better than no marketing. My job board of choice tonight was JournalismJobs.com. I sent resumes to about a dozen or so publications; if I could get an assignment from one of them, I’ll consider it time well-spent. Please don’t judge; I’ll go back to looking for clients organically in the next day or two, I promise!

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do a post tomorrow, as much as I’d like to. I will be on assignment tomorrow evening covering a high school basketball game. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to do a short post about what happened at the game. I’d hate to break my blogging streak so early in the game!

So, what’s the verdict? Is it better to hit the job boards to look for freelance work if you’re not up for searching for companies to market your services to every so often? Or is it better just to take those nights off? Sound off below!

The Links:

Find your Freelance Writing Niche with this course taught by John Soares.

Yvelette Stines suggests three books to help light your creative fire.

Scott Levy shows how to attract the right kind of Twitter audience.

Jon Morrow writes an outstanding open letter to writers struggling to find their courage. I’m going to read this any time I’m thinking of giving up my dream of building my own writing business.

Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He can be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com.

Writer’s Log #7: A Missed Opportunity

By Joe Dyton

Of all the days for my email alert on my cell phone to not work, it had to be today when I had a chance for an extra freelance assignment. An editor I often worked with emailed me today because she wanted to see if I could handle a quick turnaround article. Her email came through a little bit before noon, but I didn’t see it until almost 3 p.m. I have my phone set so I get an alert when an email comes through, or so I thought. By time I got back to my editor about the assignment, she had found someone else to pick up the assignment. So, I guess the moral of the story is never assume technology is always going to come through for you. Check your emails, even if your phone is supposed to let you know when you have one. I’d hate to see you miss out on a freelance writing assignment like I did today.

The day wasn’t a total loss though. Another one of the companies I reached out to last week got back to me this evening. It turns out it is often looking for copywriters to help out and if I’m a fit, they’d let me know. So, that was encouraging. One thing I noticed is when a lot of these companies get back to me, they’ll say thanks for reaching out. So, never be hesitant to contact a company you’d like to write for. Most will appreciate your interest, even if they don’t have the need for your services at the time. Remember, the answer is no until you ask!

I also spent today setting up interviews for the assignment I do have, and made a few more cold calls about possible work. Tomorrow will a be a week since I started this blog; I was hoping I would have landed a new client by then, but I know it’s a numbers game and the more calls I make and emails I send out, the better chance I have of getting work. Patience is a virtue; or so they say!

The Links:

The Planscope Blog shows how you can spend less time selling your freelance services (This is right up my alley!).

Jennifer Mattern answers your freelance writing questions here.

John Soares offers 12 tips for writing faster.

Francesca Nicasio lets you in on what copywriting clients are secretly thinking.

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He can be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com.

Writer’s Log #3: Don’t Hang Up

By Joe Dyton

Yesterday, I reached out to a handful of companies via email, so I thought today I’d go “old school” and contact companies by phone.

I’ll admit, I’m much more comfortable marketing my writing services by email, but whenever I cold call companies, it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be. Most of the time the person on the other end of the line is polite, even if their business doesn’t have a need for a freelancer. Today was no different; I called seven marketing/ad agencies in the area I got put into the dreaded voicemail by four and the other three asked me to send my information to them by email. Whenever I cold call, I always expect companies who do use freelance writers to tell me they have an assignment to give me right then and there. I need to remind myself that it’s very unlikely that’ll happen and I should take a business asking me for my information as a win. It’ll help curb my disappointment when I have nothing to show for all the calls I made on that particular day.

I originally had 10 companies I wanted to call, but only got to the seven I mentioned, so applied for a business writer freelance position and inquired about a couple of copywriting opportunities to make it an even 10. My hope is next week to have 20 companies/publications to contact per day; 10 by email and 10 over the phone.

Also on the freelance front, I finished an article today about effective email campaigns that’ll appear in the U-T San Diego. When I accepted the assignment last week, I was a little nervous because I didn’t think I’d be able to reach anyone this week because of the holiday. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with two sources I needed. Many thanks to Terry O’Connor of Inteleqt and Tamara Deverell of Esteemed Consulting who answered the questions for my story while she was on vacation. I guess the lesson I learned there is if you have the time, accept the assignment. Usually you’ll be able to find at least a couple people who will take time out to be interviewed; even during the holidays.

The Links:

John Soares asks 19 top freelance writers what their top professional and personal goals are for 2014.

Carol Tice (and other freelancers) offer up 10 tips to help you earn more this year.

Francesca Nicasio gives four tools for finding blogs to guest post on.

That’s all I have for today. Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

Joe Dyton is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He can be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com. Follow Joe on Twitter @dyton99