Then, you’ll have to go out and proactively locate and contact these prospects. That right there is the difference between low-paid writers and well-fed ones.
The good jobs begin when an editor or marketing manager is sitting at their desk, amidst piles of overflowing workload. They work at a major publication, custom publisher, company, or nonprofit. They are thinking something like this:
The stable of freelance writers I have now leaves something to be desired. These writers don’t turn things in on time. They’re less than brilliant.
One of my staff writers just quit, and I don’t know how I’m going to get my stuff written by deadline. I can’t overload the other staffers, or they’ll quit, too.
I wish I could find some new writers. But I don’t have any time to look. I definitely don’t have time to look at 300 resumes off a Craigslist ad.
So now you know the sort of situation you want to find — a quality publication or company that needs writer but doesn’t have time to search for them.
It’s pretty easy to find publications that pay the best. Besides asking around in your own writer community, you could get the Writer’s Market online. Then you can set their database search to $$$$, the top pay level, and start searching.
Presto! A nice list of top payers to target. You can also scan publications including the Wooden Horse magazines database, Editor & Publisher, and Media Bistro’s How to Pitch Guides for more publications intel.
One of the best and least-frequently looked niches for good-paying publications is trade publications. Trade pubs cover a particular industry in-depth, for business owners in that field. Daily Variety, for instance, is for executives in show business, and Ad Age is for marketing execs. You can see lists of them at tradepub.com, or just Google “[industry] trade magazine,” and see what comes up. If you have some related knowledge, think about marketing yourself to trade-pub editors.
Another great niche is custom publications. These are magazines and newspaper inserts created for companies by a publishing company. You can check out custom publishers — many of whom publish many publications in an industry niche — at their industry group The Content Council. I’ve had one custom-pub client — easy, $.50-a-word work on newspaper special sections, where they hand you all the sources. These can be steady sources of good-paying work.
The key here is to think big. Many writers get stuck writing for solopreneurs or small businesses. These don’t have big marketing budgets. To earn more, you need to identify larger organizations with bigger budgets.
How big? Well $1 million is a good start, $10 million is better, $100 million better than that, $1 billion really terrific, and the Fortune 1000 are awesome. Depending on where your writing career is at, one of these categories should work for you.
For example, my first copywriting client was a small local startup that sold call-center software. The second was a $1 billion global corporation. You don’t have to pay your dues for years and slowly inch your way up.
To get started, target industries where you have some experience or find the business owner easily accessible. These could be:
If you’ve got a few clips from small-business clients and are ready to move up, here are seven resources for finding bigger clients who may need marketing writers.
I can’t tell you how many writers have the misimpression that if it’s not on Craigslist, a writing gig doesn’t exist. Start using these prospecting sources, and you’ll discover a whole new world of quality clients just waiting for you to reach out to them.–Carol
Homework: Take the one-week challenge. For one week, don’t look at any online job ads. Instead, use your marketing time to do your own research and identify some good clients you’d like to target.
P.S. Next time on Marketing 101: How to do a lot of marketing, but-quick.