Marketing Plan, Schmarketing Plan
By Michele Lemieux-Madison
There are just so many things you hear and read before you say, I give up! After hearing Shawn Anderson’s presentation at the Into the Words event for the League of Vermont Writers last week, I started wondering if I did not just get lost in all the information, or just got lost, period.
According to all the sources I consulted, having a marketing plan, for a freelance writer, is incredibly important because it is too easy to get sidetracked along the way to the next big assignment. But let’s face it, with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, e-newsletters, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting, not to mention our ever-present website, it is easy to feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the marketing tools available out there!
So what do we do? Do we try to fit everything in? Our writing time for us, for assignments, for marketing? Do we follow every other writer we know? Every guilty pleasure we can’t live without? (Mine are Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly from NCIS fame on Twitter. I can’t help myself!)
Shawn suggested we stick with 2 or 3 social media tools. Nick Usborne, famous copywriter and teacher suggests starting with 1 or 2 and master them before moving on to the others. But you need to keep at them, write one blog post a week, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post every few days and 1 to 3 tweets per day. “Keep it simple, use your downtime (a couple minutes between meetings, when you’re in your car at the grocery store). Like and retweet others’ posts when you can. I think if you follow this, you would have the start of a sustainable platform that would grow”, says Shawn. Don’t be like me, I get all excited, write like crazy for a few weeks, then get overwhelmed and stop for a few months.
Shawn also recommends asking yourself a few questions to understand if you know your voice, your audience and your goals. When I asked him to evaluate a program I was looking into, he asked me a few pointed questions that made me realize that I can keep sinking money into writing and marketing programs until I’m blue in the face, but if I don’t know where to start, or where to go once I start, they’re all useless! So I asked myself these questions and had enough answers to put together a short but thorough marketing plan or platform. Turns out, I have plenty of experience and knowledge!
So here’s what I learned. What do you know? Life experiences, job experiences, etc. Who do you know? Previous employers, local businesses, people you know may be willing to give you small projects to start with. Your passions and hobbies may also give you a place to look for opportunities. Resources like The Writers Market and the Book of Lists may have markets you did not think about. Then build your website according to your market(s) and your goal(s). Pick the social media tools you feel most comfortable with, and plan your days around your writing. Do not, however, forget to reach out to possible clients and peers. You don’t need a million followers, just a few good ones. Those who will read you and share what you have to say. Those you want to read and share what they have to say.
Most of all, have fun!
Michele Lemieux-Madison is a French editor, translator, and writer. Her main website is michelelemieux.com. She is also working on a holistic health and nutrition blog, which will be published on her other website bywatersedge.com when she is done procrastinating.