Every full-time freelancer I know has a writing specialty – something they are really good at and enjoy doing. For me, that’s always been feature magazine articles. But like so many of my writing colleagues, I have honed my skills to offer a variety of writing services to my business clients. I recommend you do the same for three important reasons.
First, you’ll get bored doing the same kind of writing all the time. Second, if you can’t (or won’t) provide a certain type of common writing service to your clients, they might look elsewhere. And finally, your writing specialty will be what gets your foot in the door with many clients, but having a portfolio of other services you can offer is a great way to land additional assignments from a client. (That’s called an upsell).
Remember one of the golden rules of business – It’s easier to get more work from an existing client than it is to land a new one.
Here’s a quick list of eight bread-and-butter writing services that I sell over and over again to my business clients. Together, they probably account for 90 percent of my writing revenues.
Feature articles – As noted above, these have been my specialty since I began my business in 1993. Nearly all the feature articles I write for my clients are called ‘customer success stories.’ These describe how a real-life customer used my client’s product or service to do their job faster, better or cheaper. I arrange for these pieces to be published in industry trade magazines.
Press releases – These are still among the most effective ways for a company to announce its latest news – a new hire, big business deal, or important product launch. In addition to writing them, you can pick up extra cash by handling distribution and social media.
Case studies – These are usually shorter versions of the customer success stories described above. My clients typically post them on their websites and print them as handouts for trade shows.
Blogs – The easiest way to keep a website ‘fresh’ for search engines, blogs have become another important channel for organizations to keep their customers and prospects updated on the latest news. Many of my high-tech clients use their blogs to educate their clients on industry trends and offer tip on getting the most out of their products and services.
Newsletters – Distributed via email, newsletters seem to go in and out fashion every few years. Each one should contain a legitimate news item about the company, a short product insight column, very short customer case study, employee profile, and a list of upcoming events, such as trade show appearances or webinars.
White papers – Everyone seems to have a different definition of a white paper, but the ones I write usually take a deep dive into the technology or potential return on investment of a specific product or services offered by my client. They range from three to 10 pages and include lots of graphics. My clients either hand them out at trade shows or post them as downloads on their websites.
Web content – Every website needs great copywriting to describe the company, its products and what sets it apart from the competition. Websites require the same tight writing style as ads, and they must be updated regularly and often result in a steady stream of ongoing revenue for you.
Advertisements – Although most of the ads I write appear online, I still do the occasional display ad for a print magazine. Either way, I like to work closely with a graphic designer to come up with a graphic and tag line that grab the reader’s attention.
While these are the most common writing services I offer, they aren’t the only ones. In an upcoming blog I’ll describe some of the less common, yet very lucrative, types of writing I’ve done for clients over the years. Some will surprise you.