Writing For Money J Fleming


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This is the presentation I gave to the assembled May 14 at North, hosted by 52ltd. It does not include the fabulous animations, which frankly were integral to the experience. But it gets the gist across.

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Writing For Money J Fleming

  1. 1. From MFA to MBA: Yes, you can write for a living Really. We’re gonna talk about how.
  2. 2. What we’re going to do here • I’ll tell you a little about me. • Then it’s on to sussing out paying work. – There are lots of ways to make money writing but tonight is primarily focused on opps in the business and non-profit sectors. • I’ll give you a crash course in marketing. Good stuff. • Next we’ll discuss your role and the one rule that—if you follow it—will get you lots of work. – Divinity is involved. • And then it’s open forum time. Questions, answers, banter. – We’ll also find out who won the 1:1 portfolio review.
  3. 3. My name is Jean and I’m a writer
  4. 4. Aphorism 1: LOCATE THE MONEY
  5. 5. Marcom Opportunity Anatomy Money-making opportunity for writers can be found in many parts of the corporate body and the organizations that nurture and enable it. Web Content Public Relations THEY ALL NEED WRITING
  6. 6. “The best advice I have been given is to listen beyond the first thing someone says and be willing, through rephrasing (difficult at best in a hurry up world) to get at the core issue in a conversation.” —Susie Hise
  7. 7. Aphorism 2: OWN YOUR NICHE
  8. 8. Be you • What do you know? • What do you love? • What have you done? • Use these to create a niche. • Then leverage it like crazy.
  9. 9. Aphorism 3: THROW YOUR VOICE
  10. 10. Versatile Ventriloquism • Writing for money requires channeling different voices – Consumer: Things go better with Coke! – B2B: Align with business objectives and be the hero. • Messages vary but craft is consistent
  11. 11. Craft = Marketing Marketing is lucrative for writers. Learn its variety, processes and goals, and you will thrive. Varieties: Advertising Collateral Branding + Identity Direct Response Interactive Content Marketing Lead Generation
  12. 12. Marketing in 3 Bullets • Goal: Create preference for a product or brand that translates into a sale or a qualified lead. – Yes, it is about sales and money. • How: Forge an emotional connection between prospect and offering. – Nikes feel good because in them I’ll just do it; therefore I’ll buy Nikes. • Measure: I know it’s working ‘cause people are buying/clicking/downloading/registering. – This is called ROI. It’s not French.
  13. 13. Write Strong Copy •Focus on the ultimate action you want the user to take •Make the user feel the goodness of that choice •Limit distractions: KISS •Never underestimate the power of delight
  14. 14. “I wish I had known that good ideas never need to be fought over, or argued. Listen more than you talk, embrace all of the agendas (including oppositional agendas), and use your ability to organize information to articulate a truly shared vision. If I had known that 18 years ago, I could have spared myself a lot of needless anguish.” —Gary Whitford
  15. 15. Aphorism 4: ANSWER PRAYERS
  16. 16. Dear God, Please send me a fantastic very copywriter who requires little of my time but delivers incredibly brilliant copy right on deadline that has been thoroughly proofread, who totally groks the audience and addresses their pain points while positioning the product perfectly so that the client is happy and pays on time.
  17. 17. You make life better • For these people: Editors, creative directors, marketing managers, project managers, marcom folk • They are overworked and stressed out. • You can help them.
  18. 18. HOW?
  19. 19. Aphorism 5: CURATE YOURSELF
  20. 20. Portfolio, please A portfolio shows some of your work. My best work? Maybe. Surely not my worst work. Maybe. What then? Your relevant work.
  21. 21. How not to show your work •Send everything—it’s all so good. •Send nothing. With your experience, who needs a sample? •Send your award-winning history of taxation essay— you’re very proud of it. (Mention the award on your resume; forward the essay if they ask)
  22. 22. Pithy Portfolio Wisdom • REMEMBER: • Curate your samples so that only what’s relevant to the opportunity gets seen. • If they want more, they’ll ask. Trust me. • If you don’t have a relevant sample, show creative initiative and create something that they’ll fall in love with. • If all your samples are on a website, direct them to the 1-3 that matter for their needs.
  23. 23. The Money Slide Don’t make them do the work Follow this simple rule and you will get jobs and be successful in them, which Connect the dots. Spell out why you are will lead to more jobs, referrals, the best writer for the job. Don’t spam retainers…. them with samples. Make it easy to hire you. Then be easy to work with. And do great work. And get it in on time.
  24. 24. You are a blessing (here’s how to keep it that way) • Master both strategy + tactics • Ask questions up front then consolidate • Achieve deadline bliss • The answer is yes • Take criticism well (it’s not personal) • Make the case for your position and then stop • Want to get rehired? Be the solution to the problem, whatever it is.
  25. 25. “Companies often need much more than a wordsmith, they need a business analyst, information architect, web designer, tester and dogsbody. Pure writing roles can be hard to find so doing these tasks will give you some career resilience whilst you work your way into a position to call the shots.” —Alex Pace
  26. 26. Aphorism 6: KNOW WHEN TO SHUT UP
  27. 27. Questions • If I write marketing shite have I sold out to the man? • How do I balance my creative work with the work I do for money? • Accounting systems? • I have a crazy client. What do I do? • What else?
  28. 28. Learning is good • Marketing resources: – MarketingSherpa.com – MarketingProfs.com • Writing resources: – Writing for marketing and for the web is different. – Copyblogger.com • SEO/SEM: VERY IMPORTANT to be versant in this. – SEOMOZ.org | great resources • Social Media makes you very hirable
  29. 29. Muchas gracias. jean.fleming@gmail.com www.twitter.com/jeansfleming