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© 2009-2010 Ugur Akinci
Generally speaking, we writers are not good at marketing our services. We love what we do and yet expect to be “discovered” and paid well for it too. Think again.
This blog entry was prompted by an email from an obviously-very-qualified reader who asked whether she needs to get a technical writing diploma to get a job. My honest answer to her was, no, she probably needed an energetic marketing campaign and to offer what her local prospective clients wanted.
Some writers complain: “I’m looking for jobs EVERYWHERE yet I can’t find anything!”
Let’s remember: scanning the employment ads is not marketing yourself. If you think it is, then you need to change your whole mind set first. Even diamonds need to be marketed in this world.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways to market your services locally is to launch a postcard campaign. Have a thousand postcards printed. Rent a mailing list. Then see what happens. You have to try certain things and see if they work or not. There is a lot of trial and error involved in marketing but there’s no alternative really.
Posting an ad on Craigslist is of course free but the quality of responses will depend on your luck. I’ve had some great clients through Craigslist and some really bad ones as well. So you have to make your own decision on that.
One other way to market your services as a writer is to use your already-established social channels. Grab a bunch of business cards and make sure to distribute them the next time you show up at your alumni meeting, church function, chamber of commerce breakfast, etc.
If you’d like to have a cutting-edge promotional video clip with great music try Animoto.com. You can post a super clip to YouTube within 15 minutes.
And while doing all this don’t forget to build up your portfolio either. Write a User Manual on your own. Write a direct response mail copy for a fictitious (or real) company. Get some feedback on how you’re doing from your friends or a professional writing coach who’s been doing the same for years and knows what works and what doesn’t in the industry. That way when the time comes for that crucial job interview you’d have something to show on the table.
You might want to read my list of Low-Tech Jobs for those who are looking for an easy entry point to technical communication.
Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to help. Good luck to you all!