My last few posts, I've been sharing some of the great tips I heard at ASJA Con Con. Today's focuses on the critical subject of how to make your pitch to a contenting marketing client stand out--and boost your chances of getting work from it.
1. Reach the right person. You may not be able to tell, at first glance, who the proper person to pitch at a company is. Check the company's website, and LinkedIn, looking for job titles like "marketing director" or "content strategist" to determine who that contact person is, says Jennifer Goforth Gregory.
2. Emphasize your relevant experience. Instead of describing yourself as a writer who covers business, highlight specific topics you've covered already. Companies want and need writers who already have a background in the subjects they want you to write about. Omitting those specialities may mean your letter is ignored.
3. Show that you "get" content marketing. Include a sentence that demonstrates that you understand the company's mission and brand. This sets you apart from writers who forget (or don't even realize) that content marketing is all about building customer loyalty.
4. Always follow up. Be a "friendly stalker," says Gregory. Follow up in two to three weeks, and touch base every few months after that to stay on their radar. Too many writers send one LOI to a potential client and then drop the ball.
5. Consider internal communications. Freelancer and content marketing writer Wendy Helfenbaum says that big companies have internal communications departments that need writers to research and write profiles, human interest stories, and other pieces targeted at employees. "It's about the companies engaging their employees," she says. "You may be writing for employee newsletters, and they want stories that have nothing to do with work." The people that hire writers are sometimes hard to identify--they're like ghosts, says Helfenbaum. Look for job titles like "communications manager" or "director of communications" to locate these opportunities.
6. Use a template. My latest book, Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs, and More, Second Edition (Kindle), includes templates of LOIs that Gregory and other content marketing writers and ghostwriters use, along with sample contracts, nondisclosure agreements, and bids. Don't have a Kindle? Download it here.
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