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Archives for January 2012

Freelance Writing Goals: Having Trouble Staying on Track with Yours This Year? Here’s How to Get Back on Course

I can’t believe that a month has passed already this year and I’m already behind with my freelance writing goals! Gosh darnit, it seems like just a couple of weeks ago that we were ringing in the New Year. …

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Niche Marketing Advice: How to Find Hundreds of Prospects to Contact for Freelance Writing Jobs in a Specific Niche

 Recently, I received the following question from a follower on Twitter:

@PenStar_words asked in a two-part tweet:

@InkwellEditor Hi Yuwanda. Is there a resource on your site that covers email marketing aimed at specific sectors?

@InkwellEditor For instance in my case that would be online galleries as opposed to generalised SEO companies.

I responded:

@PenStar_words Penny, sorry 4 the delay in answering ur Q “Is there a resource on my site that covers email mktng aimed at specific niches?”

@PenStar_words Not that I can think of. But think org’s when targeting niches, eg the Bar Association for Lawyers, the AMA for Doctors, etc.

She responded with a follow-up question, ie:

@InkwellEditor In terms of contacting orgs and asking to be added to their directories for example?

I responded:

@PenStar_words No; in terms of mining their databases 4 contacts. You may have to pay to get access, but lots of info can be found online.

Find a Niche Market: Where the Bulk of the Contacts are in Niche Markets

I wanted to expand upon this without the 140-character limitation of Twitter because it’s an excellent question about niche marketing, of which I’m a great advocate, as you know if you read this blog regularly.

One of the best ways to find contacts in niche markets is to look to industry organizations. Following are a few reasons why:

(i) You can find a lot of them all in one place;

(ii) You can build your niche marketing database quickly; and

(iii) It cuts down on your research time.

So, for example, if I wanted to target lawyers, one of the obvious places to start is the American Bar Association. All lawyers must belong to it, so it’s where you’re going to find them.

Many organizations like this have membership directories that lists all of their members. Now, getting access to these databases can be expensive.

Niche Marketing Strategy: 2 Ways to Gain Access to Membership Directories “for Free”

One way I’ve found to get around paying to access member contact information is to do a search for the organization’s name along with something like “proud member of. For example, continuing to use our example of attorneys, I did a Google search for the phrase “proud member of the American Bar Association.” Three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) results were returned (see graphic just below).

niche marketing
Start clicking. You should be able to find at least a few hundred contacts using this method. And, while it can be time consuming, it’s worth the effort because you’re building your own in-house database.

The other method I use to find information without paying to access a membership’s database is to use social media.

How to Use Social Media in Your Niche Marketing Efforts

This is really simple. Once you find out what the main organizations are for a specific niche, find their social media accounts (eg, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). A lot of their members will be followers.

Again, it will be time-consuming going through the, for example, Twitter streams of large organizations like the American Bar Association, but remember, this is a long-term investment in your freelance business.

FYI, at the time of this writing, the American Bar Association has over 7,000 followers on Twitter. You should have no problem mining a few hundred contacts from it.

How to Grow Your Niche Marketing Database So That Writing Jobs Will Continually Flow In

FYI, all contacts you find should be entered into some type of database so that you can contact them over and over again on a pre-determined schedule. Over time, if you consistently research and add contacts to your database, you may have a couple of thousand in it.

If you start marketing to them consistently, you will find that you’ll need to add fewer and fewer contacts because just staying in touch with those you have will keep you busy enough with writing work.

Word of Caution: No matter how busy you get, never stop adding fresh contacts to your database. When you first start out, you’ll spend a lot of time doing this. And, this is as it should be. Your database is the foundation of your freelance writing business, so never regret the time you invest in building it.

Over time, you’ll craft messages geared specifically for them, start asking for referrals and testimonials from them, offer them special deals and discounts, etc. In short, they’ll become your friends. So cultivate this list with care and never compromise it (eg, sell, spam, ignore).

Niche Marketing Advice for Freelance Writers: Conclusion

My sister tells me that I’m blessed with the mind of a marketer because I seem to come up with ways to market that others don’t think  of.

I don’t do anything other than think logically and systematically. Basically, I figure out who I want to target, then think of where they’re likely to be. After this, it’s just a matter of going to those places and digging up  info I want. The internet makes this super easy.

FYI, in How to Find Unpublished Freelance Writing Jobs, I discuss the 7 ways I’ve used to find freelance writing jobs that most don’t think of. And, all I did was apply the logic just above.

Hope this insight helps you with your niche marketing efforts.

Your Thoughts on Niche Marketing

Are you a fan of of this form of marketing? How do you find niche prospects to market to? Please share in the comments section below.

Yuwanda
Find this post informative? Please RT It and Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.
cover-medUnsolicited Testimonial

Yuwanda,

I just purchased your ebook on 7 ways to market your freelance writing business. I’m only on page 19 – the second idea – and I must say that my writing business will never be the same again! (emphasis added) After reading only 2 of the 7 ideas you mention, I can’t believe I didn’t think of these before! Nobody mentions them in freelance writing discussions, and it’s no wonder that so many are hurting for clients. I am truly blown away!

Thank you for revolutionizing my business with this information.

P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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How to Become a Freelance Writer: Starting from Scratch

This time of year, many are starting new things, eg, diets, exercise programs, quitting smoking . . . and starting businesses. That’s why I thought now would be a perfect time to go over what you need to do to start a home-based, freelance writing business….

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Article Marketing: Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory . . . and You Should Too

Written by Yuwanda Black

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that I’m an avid article marketer, which is just a form of content marketing. I’ve used article marketing since 2004 to promote various small businesses and side ventures I’ve owned; to promote Inkwell Editorial’s ebooks; and in my affiliate marketing efforts.

Before I explain why I decided to start my own article directory (and why you might want to as well), let’s do a quick rundown of why this form of marketing is so effective.

Why I Love Article Marketing: 3 Reasons

I love this form of marketing because (I) it’s free; (ii) it drives traffic (and sales) for years; and (iii) it gives me a chance to brand myself/my businesses.

How Article Marketing Works to Drive Traffic

It’s really quite simple. When you write informative articles and submit them to article directories like IdeaMarketers.com, etc., bloggers, newsletter publishers and website owners, etc. pick them up and publish them on their sites, in their newsletters, on their blogs, etc. They include links backs to your website/blog/online presence, which you include in your resource box when you write your articles.

Customers click through from this and find you/your website. Bang – you’ve generated a lead! Or, better yet – made a sale. It really is just this simple.

Learn all you need to know about how to make money online via article marketing.

Why Article Marketing Is One of the Best Ways to Make More Money Online

In my opinion, while all of the above reasons are important for on- and offline entrepreneurs, branding is the most important. Why? Because this is what allows you to start building relationships with customers. Relationships lead to sales – repeat sales – which are the best kind.

What Is Branding?

Branding is simply how you want your business to be perceived – what you’re known for. It’s defined by Wikipedia this way:

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. . . . The word branding began simply as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity — it affects the personality of a product, company or service. It is defined by a perception, good or bad, that your customers or prospects have about you.

Now that you hopefully see how beneficial article marketing can be, let me spell out why I’m starting my own article directory – and why you should too.

Why I Decided to Start My Own Article Directory

Tired of Losing Control of My Content, How It’s Distributed, Etc.

In the post, Opportunities in Freelance Writing Fading Fast for eHow Writers — Many Have Lost Their Sole Source of Income (How to Prevent This from Happening to You), we discussed how many writers who wrote for eHow (aka Demand Media) lost major portions of their income after the site changed its content strategy model due to being hit hard by Google’s Panda algorithmic update.

In the post, Freelance Writers: How Submitting Content for FREE to Write-for-Pay Sites Can Make You Money — for Years, we went over how HubPages had made changes because of Panda too.

Also two other sites I have regularly submitted content to over the years have made changes recently — AssociatedContent.com (AC) and EzineArticles.com.

I haven’t submitted content to EzineArticles since last summer because it’s more difficult than it used to be to get an article accepted. I stopped submitting to AC because they started rejecting content for being “too promotional”; articles that they had readily accepted before. Update Jan 2014: I started submitting again to EzineArticles in early 2013 because I can submit the same articles I write for my article directory to this site.

I point all this out to say, I’m tired of losing control over my content, how it’s written and how it’s distributed (or rather, how it’s NOT distributed).

I was talking to friend of mine recently about this one day. She’s an avid article marketer as well. She said, “I’m so sick of these sites changing their rules; I’m going to take control of my content. I’m starting my own article directory.”

I immediately thought this was an excellent idea, for a few reasons.

Article Marketing: 3 Reasons to Start Your Own Article Directory

(i) I control how and what I write: Many article directories have guidelines about what you can write, how many links you can have, how long your article has to be, what can go in your resource box, etc.

By creating my own article directory, I can create my own rules, ie, I can put in as many links as I want, decide the reprint terms, how long my articles can be, not have to worry about being “too promotional,” etc.

(ii) Stop writing for free: Many article directories have so many rules that it makes it difficult to get an article accepted. So in essence, you wind up revising to the point where you’re basically watering down what you really want to say and not promoting your product/service at all.

Many sites want original content that isn’t promotional. And this is fine – if they’re willing to pay for it. But even sites where you submit for free just to get the exposure (eg, AC) have become so stringent in their guidelines that it’s very difficult to get an article accepted that benefits you, the writer. In my mind, what this amounts to is writing for free.

Now mind you — I don’t mind giving content away. But, I do so to promote my products and services also – not JUST to add value to the site I submit to.

(iii) Monetize my own content: The final reason I decided to create my own article directory is that I can monetize my own content. Now, while I don’t expect to earn thousands of dollars per month, ANYTHING I earn from content I’m giving away for free (and others are monetizing anyway) is gravy.

See the graphic below. The highlighted portions are ads that appeared beside my content. In this case, it’s an article that used to be on AssociatedContent.com. Yahoo!, which recently bought AC, earns money from these ads. Note:  All of my content was removed from the site after Yahoo! bought it; it happened to a lot of content producers.

ACAds

I plan to monetize my article directory with Google ads. Again, I don’t expect to earn much  because ad payouts for freelance writing (one of the major niches I write in) is notoriously low-paying. I’ve written and given away well over 1,000 pieces of content since 2004, when I started heavily investing in article marketing. Who knows how much that might build up to over time.

Starting an Article Directory: Conclusion

The bottom line is, as a content creator – in my opinion – it’s becoming vitally important to seize control over your content in as many ways as possible.

While I can’t control who re-publishes my articles, I can control the message I want to get out. And that’s exactly what creating my own article directory allows me to do, which makes my article marketing efforts that much more effective.

Reprint My Articles – Free

From now on, all articles I write for article marketing purposes will be posted on YuwandaBlack.com, with reprint rights listed. As I’m stepping up my article marketing efforts this year, feel free to check the site often for new content, which will cover ebook publishing, freelance writing, SEO writing, search engine optimization, blogging, affiliate and internet marketing, article marketing, etc.

Your Thoughts on Article Marketing

Have you tried article marketing? Have you become frustrated with submission guidelines? Is starting your own article directory something you can see yourself doing – if not now, in the future? Please share in the comments section below.

Yuwanda
Find this post informative? Please RT It and Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

ArticleMarketing

P.S.: You can pretty easily earn 4 figures per month online using this one free marketing method.

Learn everything you need to know about article marketing.

P.P.S.: Want to start a career that allows you to live and work from anywhere?

Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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The One Thing that Can Keep You from Achieving Your Freelance Writing Goals in 2012

If you made freelance writing goals for this year, you’re probably raring to go. And that’s normal – most of us who set goals are excited at the beginning of the journey. But, statistics have proven that setting goals and achieving them are two separate things. Proof?…

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