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Monday, July 30, 2012

Market the Right Way: Six Types of Markets and How to Approach Them

I'm baaaaack! It was great to have a month's blogging break, and I've got great ideas for what I'll be covering the rest of the year. I'll be blogging about marketing; managing your freelance business;  building relationships with editors, clients, sources, and other people; working more efficiently; and creating (at least occasional) balance in your life as a freelancer. 

I chose these five broad areas for a reason--they're also the five areas I cover in Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success. Thanks to all of you who have bought the book and emailed me, especially those who have posted reviews on Amazon! I truly appreciate it. 

Market Like a Pro

I write a lot about marketing and for a good reason. If you can't sell yourself, you'll fail as a freelancer. So make sure you match your pitch to the market type (Secret 6 from Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success):  

The type of pitch you use will depend on the market. For national consumer magazines and newspapers, I suggest new freelancers pitch the FOB section with a query to get your foot in the door. Make that query as compelling as you can. You’re facing more competition here than with any other market, so make sure you have a strong ISG and that your query captures the magazine’s voice. Suggest the section of the magazine your piece belongs in so the editor knows you’re familiar with her publication, and plan on following up with another idea if you’re first one doesn’t get assigned. 

If you're targeting a regional or local magazine or newspaper, pitch a trend story, a profile of a local person (or a roundup, e.g., four local celebs or five up-and-coming chefs), or find a local perspective on a national trend for a regional parenting magazine (e.g., how area families are cutting back on expenses and saving money).

For online markets, query but remember that the articles tend to be shorter than print publications and often include an interactive element, like an online quiz for readers. Make your query tight and focused, and match the tone of your target publication with your e-mailed pitch.

If you want to pitch a blog, check its guidelines to see what type of approach its editor/owner prefers. Some people want you to submit the entire blog post; others like you to query a possible post topic the same way you would with an online magazine.

To pitch a trade market, use a query or LOI. Use industry lingo to show you know the business, and pitch an idea that will benefit readers. Whether you use an LOI or a query, play up your knowledge of/experience with the relevant industry. (To locate trades, check your local library for a directory like Bacon's Magazine Directory, Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media, or The Standard Periodical Directory. 

To pitch custom magazines, send an LOI that highlights your experience with the subject(s) the magazine covers, or pitch with a query. Ask your friends and family to collect custom magazines for you, and check out the Custom Content Council's website for possible markets. 

Different types of markets require different approaches. Matching your pitch to the market will ensure higher success rates. (For more about these types of markets and how to work for them, read Secret 6: Match your pitch to the market type from Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success): 

And don't forget about my recent line of ebooks aimed at new freelancers; I'm keeping them priced at $2.99 for a limited time.