Most freelance writers who make a living from their work will tell you they are usually doing one of two things. They are either working (on a writing assignment) or looking for work (more writing assignments). That’s the only way to keep both the work and the money constantly flowing in so they can pay their bills on time.
One way to make it easier to keep new work coming in is to develop a weekly marketing plan. A good day to develop your plan for the week is either Sunday evening (when you’re getting ready for your work week), or Monday morning (before you actually start working). It isn’t difficult to develop a marketing plan for the week. The key is to do it each and every week.
Your weekly marketing plan should consist of a list of the following:
1. Editors and other contacts – These are the people you plan to call or email during the week. This may include an editor you wish to query, or one you need to follow up with about an assignment or contract, or it could be an editor who requested a resume and writing samples and you need to get them out to that editor this week.
2. Job Boards or other job listings – These are sites you plan to view to see if there are any new job listings that interest you. If you know certain web sites post new jobs for writers on Tuesday, then put that down on your plan for Tuesday. If you don’t have a list of online job boards, then plan to spend an hour or so in the coming week searching for some. Also, sign up for ezines for writers (that include job ads) if you don’t already subscribe to at least a few.
3. Promotional activities – You must constantly promote yourself and your writing in order to be a working writer. If you have a web site or blog, updating it each week is part of this promotion. If you don’t have a web site or blog to promote your writing, then you need to create one, so “start on website” or “create blog” would go in this category of your marketing plan.
Writing press releases about your business or for a new book you have coming out, or getting contracts to schools or other organizations that want to book you as a speaker, are other activities that come under this category. Writing free articles for article directories might also be included here since these articles will help promote you and your writing services.
4. Networking activities – This category is a bit different from contacts or promotional activities. If you belong to any community organizations, or groups for writers, jot down how you plan on using these groups for networking this week. You might plan to join a listserv for writers and then introduce yourself to everyone on the list this week, or you might want to attend your local business association meeting to let other business owners in your area know about your writing services. Just make sure you have at least a few plans for networking with other writers and/or businesses each week.
You can make your weekly marketing plan as general or as detailed as you like. But once you have written down all your marketing plans for the week, you will know how much time you should have available to work on your current writing assignments. Generally, working writers weave their marketing activities in with their writing activities each day. But some writers prefer to do all their marketing on Mondays, so they have the rest of the week to work on assignments. This is a good plan, but if you’ve applied for various writing assignments, you might get a response from an editor during the week and you’ll need to follow-up with him immediately instead of waiting until the next Monday when you try to do most of your marketing activities. In a case like this, it helps to be flexible.
One of the big payoffs in consistently developing a weekly marketing plan is that you will begin to receive more and more job offers. In fact, sometimes you will receive offers for jobs you haven’t even applied for. Editors will simply find your web site or blog and will call or email to see if you are available for an assignment. When this happens, you will realize just how important a weekly marketing plan can be.
So, no matter what day of the week it might be right now, if you don’t have a marketing plan for this week, get busy and develop one. You’ll be glad you did.