by Jargon Writer

Writing my way to becoming a freelancer

Hitting Send

My boss has commented once or twice, when looking over pieces he wrote in older issues of the magazine, “I wrote that? Damn I’m good.” When I do the same, I always feel the exact opposite–”I wrote THAT?!?! And they published it?” Almost every piece I work on, I fret about getting it right. And I have a problem–I can’t edit my own work. Every time I edit something I wrote, I end up starting from scratch.

Take exhibit A as an example: My boss constantly praises the writing of one of our editors; so today I decided I would take a closer look at one of her articles (see it here) her style of writing and figure out what about her writing impresses him so much. The first thing I noticed was her soft lead. So I decided to see if I couldn’t achieve something similar. So I tried it.

And now I’m a nervous wreck. My boss won’t even look at the piece for at least 2 more weeks–I still have to do several interviews and all I wrote today was the introduction–but I’m worried he’ll think my attempt to copy her soft lead is silly. It really felt like I was taking a risk.

This is how I feel almost every time I submit a freelance article for publication.

Most of the time when I finally finish an article and hit send, I immediately wish I could call it back. I worry that the person on the other end isn’t going to like it, or is going to want to edit it to smithereens and will hold back because they don’t want to hurt my feelings (or that they won’t hold back, but instead just won’t use me again).

My suspicion is that my insecurities go back to what I talked about a while ago or, more recently– that I’m faking it–that I still haven’t gotten to that point at which I consider myself a writer so I constantly worry about being exposed. I’m hoping that when I get my website up and functioning this weekend that that will begin to change. Then, when I finally order business cards and begin introducing myself AS a writer, that it will set in even more.

But only time will tell.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Part II: Q&A With Ty Unglebower

This is part 2 of what will be a multi-part Q&A with Ty Unglebower. See Part 1 to find out how Ty got his start freelancing and a little about the kinds of projects he works on.

Jargon Writer: What about the idea of freelancing drew you?

Ty Unglebower: Practicality at first–my luck with the 9-5 work force has been poor to the point of laughable. I can’t tell you how many jobs I have been turned down for over the years for reasons that I confess just escape me. I have had odd jobs (gardening, dish-washing, selling radio ad-time), but nothing with true staying power within my spirit (Not to mention nothing I spent all that money on a college degree for). So it all came about partially as a result of my deciding to pull out of the conventional rat-race for a bit. A race I was very much losing.

Practicality aside, I am drawn to the independence, as I imagine most freelancers are. And not just in the sense that I can work in my pajamas and email a story while traveling, if I so chose (when I can afford it). But the independence that is afforded to my reputation. There are honorable people working in all kinds of places all over the country, and I don’t mean to suggest otherwise. But as a freelancer I can, in a very conscious, deliberate manner, weave the name “Ty Unglebower” with such concepts as quality, passion, and integrity. As I do in every other facet of my life, I can project my values into my work in an instant, direct capacity, whereas within a nebulous company, that chance may not have presented itself so readily. I would have been part of the background of a bigger institution’s mission.

JW: How long have you been working freelance and either: A) What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? or B) What has your greatest success been thus far?

Ty: If we go by the standard of writing independently for a third party who sought out my skills, the number is 9-10 years. If we go by the very first time I technically was contracted as a writer and received a paycheck for same, it would be closer to 5.

There have been all kinds of obstacles (like starting to build the portfolio, research, dealing with interviews), but I think I have to say the biggest obstacle I overcame was within my own mind–Giving permission to myself to actually call myself a writer and to declare the intention to offer those services in serious, methodical manner. I am still working on perfecting the method part; the business plan angle of it all, but that will fall into place eventually with trial and error.

But to actually say to myself, “I have a skill. Some say a gift. And I don’t have to wait until some undefined date in the future, wherein I have marked off a specific checklist of accomplishments or made a certain amount of money to call myself a writer. I AM a writer, I DO get paid to do it sometimes, and I will again. I have every right to let the world know it.”

This was significant because despite a lifetime of using writing as a crucial part of myself, for which I had always received praise, I couldn’t for the longest time justify calling myself a writer. It was a title I had not earned. A dreamer’s flight of fancy, and I ought to go learn to fix cars somewhere, and be miserable like the rest of the workforce, and leave the writing to people who deserved it.

Overcoming that would probably count as the greatest success thus far, but for the sake of spreading things out a bit, I will say that my greatest success so far is to have had my name and my writing proceed me, as it did for one local magazine editor. She literally had read my blog, and knew she wanted to ask me to pitch something for her publication. It’s not the pay or the notoriety of the magazine, both of which are smaller. It is knowing that by writing my blog the way I wanted, about things I was passionate about, I was able to catch the attention of a professional. I hadn’t had to give up anything to be seen as worth it. And if it could happen once, it could (and has) happened again.

Ty is a 32-year-old freelance writer living alone in Frederick County Maryland. In addition to keeping his own blogs he is a regular contributor to Showbizradio.net and The Brunswick Citizen. He has also contributed recently to FiND iT FREDERiCK Magazine’s Spring 2010 issue. When not contributing to those publications, he is searching out others to which he may contribute his work, creating ghost-copy for private clients, or engaging in writing his novel. When he is actually not writing, Ty spends most of his free time making use of his Minor from Marietta College by performing as an amateur actor on various local community stages. He has thus far made no direct use of his bachelor’s degree, which was in political science.

Stay tuned for Part III: A Q&A with Ty Unglebower, coming soon!  In the meantime, check out Ty’s blogs, Always Off Book and Too XYZ.

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Marketing Plan Step 2

I’m currently working on market research, via the methods I described yesterday. So far I have waded through a list of potential companies and begun compiling a list, which I’ll cold call, ask a few questions and then politely thank for their help. Once I’ve compiled that data from 12-24 small businesses (my target market) I’ll move onto step two of creating my marketing plan.

Once I’ve finished doing market research (at least once I’ve finished with my initial market research – it’s always a good idea to continually develop your research) the second step is to create a marketing strategy. In other words, look critically at the information your research provided, and decide what you will be doing to get your name and brand in front of those potential clients.

For example, one of the questions that I’ll be asking as part of my research is where these business owners look for services. So the first part of my marketing plan will be to get my services listed in the places my interviewees mention – places like Google yellow pages, or chamber of commerce websites, for example. I’ll also make a list of any general business publications the interviewees say they read and consider querying those publications with business article ideas. By writing in places my potential clients are already looking for advice, I’ll be able to quickly establish myself as an expert.

I’ll look at my results to determine what angle I should take in my marketing materials, and I may survey potential customers with some of the naming options I’ve come up with to see if any are particularly popular. I’ll ask how many of them attend small business networking events in the area and which events they attend. I’ll try to determine if they’d respond better to cold calling, direct mail, or some other means of approach.

And above all, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

A big part of research is to determine, before investing a lot of time and energy into a marketing strategy, that there truly is a need for the services you want to offer among the demographic you hope to work with and that it is financially feasible to work within that market. That will be one of the biggest things I attempt to obtain information on in my research – will small business actually pay what I believe I need to price my services at for the services I offer. And will they see that payment as worthwhile.

If the demographic you had hoped to turn into potential clients isn’t interested in the services you offer and you don’t think you can make them become interested, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and possibly rework your initial idea. After all, that’s what research is all about.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Marketing Vs. Selling : Go to Market

“Marketing is what you do to make the sale possible — before your first contact with the prospect. Selling is what you do to make that contact and close the sale,” Parker writes.

Both of these are an important part of starting a business. But for many freelancers, marketing is an almost insurmountable task.

According to Parker, there are two primary reasons writers fail at marketing. First, she says they try too hard. That as writers, we expect to come up with the “perfect” marketing pitch – something unforgettable, something smashing.

The truth is, you have to be in it to win it. Or as the instructor of a marketing class Parker took said, If you’re there, you’ll get your share.

Chances are good you don’t suck. I mean, you may, I haven’t personally evaluated your work, but so long as you don’t completely suck, if you put yourself out there you will do some business. But you won’t do any business if potential clients don’t know you exist.

Second, Parker says that writers fail because when they get busy, they focus on the client work and fail to continue marketing themselves. When we’re swamped, like in up past our ears so that all that peaks over the piles of paperwork on our desks is our eyebrows, the last thing we want to think about is finding more work. But guess what? If we don’t, when we finish wading through that pile of papers, there won’t be another one waiting.

In order to make sure you don’t end up in a dead zone, with work behind you but none in front of you, it is essential that you develop a marketing plan and that you stick to it. This is not nearly as daunting of a task as it may seem.

The fist step is to do some market research. At the most basic level, marketing research is figuring out who your clients are and what they want.

If you know a few people who fall into your target demographic, invite them over for pizza and beer and tap their brains. If not, do what I’m doing.

Today, I began doing the preliminary work for my own market research. I put “Astoria” and “Chamber of Commerce” into Google and hit the search button. After realizing that there are a lot of places named “Astoria,” I refined my search and found the Queens Chamber of Commerce website. Listed there are a ton of local businesses.

I began by scrolling through them looking for likely prospects. I believe that my services will be more in demand among service vendors than among retailers; there may also be some demand from manufacturers. In addition to looking for potential clients / contacts, I checked out local small business events on the site’s event calendar and scanned the list for potential competition.

My next step will be to compile a list of contacts and contact information. I will write up a few questions (Do you hire a writer for your marketing materials? Would you? Why or why not? What would you pay for said services?) and then call, tell them I’m starting a small business and would like to ask them their opinion on a few things.

I’ll ask about what these people read, where they look for services, and what kind of small business events they attend.

Recording the answers for a dozen or so calls will give me a pretty good feel for the potential demand for a writer in the area. It may turn up potential competition. If I need more information, I make more calls, until I feel like I have a good idea how to reach the clients that I want to work for/with.

The next step will be deciding what steps to take based upon this information.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, research, writing | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Network Your Butt Off

Being a good writer means being a good business person. Which means knowing how to deal with clients and potential clients at each stage of your relationship – from meeting them (networking) to managing and working on their job to following up with them afterward.

If there is a good book out there on all this, I have yet to read it. But since I know it’s something important, I keep an ear and an eye out for tips at all times and take them where ever I can find them. This first one comes from Ugly Betty.

See, Betty was new to networking and wasn’t very good at it. So she gets some tips from her friends on how to make contacts at a networking event.

They gave her a four step process. First, introduce yourself. Walk up to a likely looking person, stick out your hand and say something along the lines of, “I don’t believe we’ve met, hi I’m (your name here).” Then they say to follow your name up with something memorable about you – which will create an association in that person’s mind and make them more likely to remember you. If it has something to do with your business great, but it’s more important that it be something really memorable. In the episode, they suggested that the memorable fact didn’t even necessarily have to be true, but I’d recommend you pick something that is (ie. “Can you believe I met the hostess of this party when she was naked? She was dating my roommate at the time”).

Now, Betty’s friends stressed the importance of not wasting too much time on any one person – that the idea of a networking event was to meet multiple people, (step 3) trade some info and then (step 4) beat a timely retreat (ie. “Oh can you excuse me?”). However, the lesson in the episode is that the real connections she made when she didn’t listen to their advice (she spent the first half hour talking to the janitor, making a real friend) helped her out more in the end than the “contacts” she made following it.

So my advice, derived from a combination of the two, is to introduce yourself, and if it isn’t going well don’t be afraid to cut your loses and move on to the next possible contact. Yet if you start to make a genuine connection to someone, take the time to explore it. Making lots of contacts is important, but making real connections is too.

This next tip has come up multiple times in multiple places. But I hadn’t heard it until I started to read business topics aggressively, so I thought I’d share it here – always hand out 2 business cards to every person you meet. One for them, and one for them to pass on to a friend. It’s a great trick, that I plan on using … as soon as I get my business cards printed (which will happen as soon as I decide on a company name).

At the end of chapter 4 in Parker’s book, she interviews a writer named Jan, who gives us our next killer tip.
“At the end of the project,” she explains, “I always say ‘Thanks for the business, and now that we’ve worked together and you know what I can do, is there anyone else you can refer me to?”

This policy is a GREAT business tip – there are businesses out there who rely on it as their sole source of new contacts. One example is Cutco – the knife company. My best friend years ago worked for them for a while and my other half’s little sister is looking into working for them now. They have each sales person make a list of people they know who might be interested in buying knives. Then that person goes around to each of those people and does their “cutting through a penny” trick to show how great the knives are. Some people buy, some don’t, but at the end they ask the “customer” for a list of anyone they know who might be interested – and their contact information. It seems to work pretty well for them!

So even though tips sometimes come from the strangest places, pay attention. You never know where the next indispensable piece of advice will come from – but if you catch it, it might make all the difference for your business.

March 6, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Because it happens to the best of us…

We all have bad days. And sometimes, those bad days become bad weeks. On rare occasions those bad weeks become a bad month. I’m not ready to trash this month yet, but I am totally over this week. At work right now I have a lot on my plate and have been fairly stressed out.

Then, this week, things got stressful at home, because I had several freelance project deadlines this week. I was pretty ready to pull out my hair. I even started thinking that maybe I was crazy to undertake a new business while still working full-time – Okay, maybe I am a little crazy. But I was thinking that maybe it was a bad kind of crazy.

When my life gets crazy, my natural reaction is to want to hide. I get so stressed out about how much work I have that I stop being able to actually accomplish anything. I freeze. Projects that should take a few hours stretch into days. Let me tell you, this is a BAD response to stress.

One way I’ve come up with over the years to get myself out of my own head and back into a productive frame of mind is by focusing on something that is completely unnecessary. One way that I do that is by delving full-fledged into a book. Unfortunately, that generally results in me reading as much as or more than doing work. And it results in me getting even less sleep, because I tend to get so into books that I can’t put them down. So, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

This week, when things got bad I did something different. It just so happened that my bad week peaked yesterday. You know how some people sometimes say they feel like they’ve been hit by a bus? Well, I felt the way the wicked witch of the east must have felt after the house fell on her.

Well, yesterday was also the day that my monthly book club got together to review our most recent book (Rumspringa, if you’re interested). I really enjoy book club for a lot of reasons, but mostly just the idea of sitting down with literary people and discussing literary work appeals to me – and actually tends to live up to my expectations. I almost didn’t go yesterday because I knew I still had several things to finish up and wasn’t feeling great.

But last minute I decided I would go after all.

It was refreshing. Focusing on and discussing the book, which I had already read, had the same effect that reading normally does. It let me forget everything that I was stressed out about. I enjoyed hearing everyone else’s points of view and opinions on the book. I shared mine. It was a small group (five people last night) but it turns out it was exactly what I needed.

After recharging my batteries I came home and went right through two assignments in no time. I think they both came out really well, and I no longer felt that the pile of work was insurmountable. Then, today at work I stayed an extra half and hour and finished some of the assignments there that I had hanging over my head. Tonight, I feel much better. I actually have time to relax a bit, answer the emails that have been in my inbox all week and I might even watch a TV show.

I remember why I’m doing all the craziness that I’m doing – because I love these things, want to be doing them and feel passionately about this writing-thing. Maybe I should write that down so I don’t forget it again.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I Can Write About Anything

Some people say write what you know. I think a good writer can write about anything. One of the primary skills a writer needs to have in order to differentiate themselves from the average typing person is the ability to do research; dig into a topic, learn a ton about it, and then simplify and explain the topic so that other people can learn about without doing everything you just did. Good writing explains a topic by breaking complex ideas down into simple ones without taking up additional space.

This isn’t easy. One of my recent assignments involved writing two articles on holistic health. Now, I know something about this topic – strange as it may seem, it’s a huge trend in the pet product market right now and I’ve done a bit of research on it from the point of view.

It’s a topic that interests me mildly, but it’s definitely not a topic that I am passionate about. I do not practice the lifestyle, although I do try to apply some of the concepts and believe that most of the ideas involved (such as the idea that what you put into your body and the quality of the foods you eat are major factors in how well it functions).

When it comes right down to it, I am not scientifically inclined and do not enjoy reading research studies and the like. However, the truth of the matter is writers have bills to pay. I have bills to pay (though at the moment my full-time job covers pretty much all of those). So we do research and write about topics we aren’t necessarily passionate about. Instead, we take pride in the careful crafting of our words and the skill we employ in teaching our readers something new.

For me, the primary motivation in taking the assignment is that if they are pleased with my work it will be a regular gig – they are looking for 3 articles a week. At the rate they are paying for those articles, this assignment would allow me to make almost half of my targeted financial goals a month. And, unfortunately, I think this is one of the less pleasant truths about freelancing, especially at the early stage.

Perhaps someday I’ll be so successful that I can pick and choose which assignments to accept. But for the time being, I’ll do the bread and butter jobs, build my samples and continue working toward that goal.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Home Office

There are two kinds of posts everyone with a writing blog has to have and every book on writing has to have – a post on finding time to write (which I find ridiculous – you need to “find” time to write, but you have time to read articles about it?) and home office equipment / setting up your home office.

For Parker, this comes in the form of Chapter 5. She lists all the usual things – fax machine (or fax service online), phone, desk, comfortable chair (extra emphasis on comfortable), an answering machine or service, copier or copier-printer combo, calculator, etc etc. But she tempers with these words of wisdom: “the goal is to be IN business, not to have your business perfectly set up.”

I thought I’d take this chance to tell you a bit about my office and the things I can’t live without.

My Office
First off, the majority of my office equipment I either already had or bought on Craig’s List used. I had a book shelf; I had one of those cheap white plastic drawer things from Walmart; I had already installed an extensive set of shelves in our extra room for storage; I had a desk chair; I already owned my Mac.

My desk is a modern glass desk, that I love the style of – I paid $50 for it from someone on Craig’s List who was moving to California. I bought a filing cabinet for about $20 more. To date, I have used my cell phone, so that’s not an added expense (though I am looking into phone services). My roommate and I own a 3-in-1 printer, scanner, fax machine that has yet to be hooked up – in the meantime I cheat and use those items at work when absolutely necessary (the benefit to having an office job – though I make sure to keep this under control).

There are several things, however, that I definitely could not do without that weren’t on Parker’s list.

Things I Can’t Live Without
On my desk is a large glass bowl filled with pens. You might say I am a little obsessed. It also has highlighters, sharpie markers and a few editing pencils (red and blue lead). Another item I can’t live without is paper. Lots and lots of it. I have a small desktop organizer with a packet of plain white paper (printer paper), a pack of nice letter paper and a pack of lined paper. I have several notebooks, each of which has notes about different things. I also have several smaller notepads for jotting notes while reading or doing research. I find my ideas flow best with written by hand, so I frequently outline a piece before typing it up. I have a small love affair with post-it notes. I have at least three sizes at my desk right now.

Another item I like having in my office (or near by) is a blanket. I work best when I am comfortably warm. Electric heaters are expensive. So if I get chilly I throw a small blanket across my lap and curl the edges underneath me. It helps keep me warm and my cat thinks it’s a fantastic fort.

Finally, the last item I can’t live without is my kitchen. I work best while eating (unfortunately) so I keep snacks around that won’t make me gain a billion pounds but will keep me from thinking about my stomach instead of my writing. Peanuts, granola bars and popcorn are all good choices. My favorite treat is Pillsbury dough crescent rolls (though I try to avoid having those too often or I would weigh a billion pounds).

What can’t you live without? What items are kept near your desk or in it at all times? Other Questions or comments? Share below.

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Registering a Small Business (Legal Mumbo-Jumbo)

Chapter 4 in Parker’s book is about becoming legit. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a topic I’ve been avoiding … but it’s time to get serious about it.

She starts out by telling us that while many freelancers set up the business half after they’ve been working for a while, that is a mistake (oops!) namely because there is a potential for “property use violations, fines, back taxes, business name lawsuits and issues of business ownership.” Albeit she allows that registering is more important for writers serving corporate clients (in case, for example, you were supposed to charge them tax and didn’t – you’ll end up paying for it).

What Kind of Business Should You Be:
The important decision is deciding what type of business you (or I) am going to have: a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation. Then, figuring out what needs to be done to dot the i and cross the t. Most freelancers probably work as a sole proprietor – you claim your income from freelancing on your personal taxes and are solely responsible for your business (including any debt you incur in its name).

A partnership would involve bringing on another person – the main difference here is when filing taxes. Partners are still liable for debt incurred in the name of the business, and either partner can be held responsible for any expenses (meaning you could end up paying for your partner’s charges). Arrangements vary greatly, and if you are interested in this for some crazy reason, I recommend doing a lot more reading. If you decide to go this route, set up your partnership agreement very very carefully and I highly recommend you consult a lawyer. Parker recommends Form a Partnership:The Complete Legal Guide from Nolo Press.

There are a couple of intermediary options – limited partnerships and LLC (limited liability company). Limited partnerships involve one of the partners being less liable. Limited liability companies are a good option if you’re worried about the risk you may be taking and its potential impact on your personal finances (in my opinion, less important for a freelance writer than, say, a food product manufacturer, where you could accidentally poison someone and get sued). A LLC works like a sole proprietorship in terms of income taxes but like a corporation when it comes to liability (essentially, it’s limited to the business’s assets).

Finally, there is the corporation, “a legal entity in itself.” The benefits include: limited liability, insurance options. Disadvantages: a LOT of paperwork – and regular paperwork at that.

My Decision #1: I’m going to have a sole proprietorship. I haven’t decided yet if I want to work under my own name or if I want to have a “company” name. If I choose to use a company name (even if I just add “editorial services after my own name) then I have to register as a DBA (doing business as).

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, research, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating a Press Kit

A press kit, or media kit, as defined by Wikipedia is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials of a person, company, or organization distributed to members of the media for promotional use. They are often distributed to announce a release or for a news conference.

I would add to this that press kits are one way (some) companies can introduce themselves to new clients. A well-developed press kit will showcase the company’s accomplishments and make a convincing case for why a client should utilize them. While this wouldn’t be appropriate for a retail store, it would definitely be appropriate for a b2b company or a freelance writer’s press kit.

There are two general physical formats a press kit can take – it can either be in the form of a booklet (stapled or bound together) or it can be a folder with multiple pages inside. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

A booklet generally looks more professional; it is more permanent and has a polished, finished appeal that encourages clients or the media to take you seriously.

A folder format, while less professional looking, can have pages swapped out (so you can include up-to-the-minute information)as a company gets press coverage, releases new products or other news-worthy events take place. They can be printed out on any color printer, while a booklet needs to be printed by a professional (although some Staples / Office Depot locations may offer this service). Finally, when press information is in a booklet format editors or clients are likely to consider it as one piece – a whole – and judge it as such. Meaning it gets glanced at once and then either tossed or kept. With separate pages in a folder each piece is generally judged individually.

No matter which format is chosen, a press kit consists of the same basic elements.

A basic press kit includes the following: (included are some download-able samples I’ve done)
A Company Bio which discusses how the company was founded, why and by whom. How it has changed since that time. What products or services (briefly) the company offers and any recent company news. If the company is still very new, the founder(s)’ qualifications or past experience can also be included (attached is a company bio I did for an events planning company).

Press Releases on anything the company has recently created a press release on. This includes events the company has hosted, new products or services it is now offering, new hires, sales or special promotions,  anniversaries and/or any other occasion (attached is a release I did for an author on the release of his book). If the press kit is being printed in a booklet or brochure format, then it may be more appropriate to include a single page that includes a brief blurb of recent newsworthy events.

Samples of Company Work can be included where appropriate. For example, as a writer my press kit will include all the samples attached to this blog post plus some sample articles I’ve written. I may even reformat one or two of my posts and lay them out to include in my press kit. Some other samples that could be included: posters for an event the company sponsored or hosted, design work or statements from satisfied customers.

Services Offered should appear in a list format somewhere within the press kit. Including pricing is optional, but personally I recommend it. One of the leading reasons that people do not buy a product or service is that they cannot find a price. That’s a silly reason not to gain a client (IMHO). In this post I listed (w/o prices) the services I offer.

Contact information should definitely be included. Ideally, each page will have at least the company website across either the top or bottom of the page – but a complete header or footer might include a contact email address, website and phone number. A business card can also be included if desired.

An Intro Letter that pitches the company’s products or services can be on top (in a folder) or on the opening page (in a booklet). Essentially, an intro letter will basically be a sales letter, making a case for why the editor you’re sending the press kit to should write about you or why the client you’re soliciting should be interested in your services (attached is a sales letter that I did for a graphic designer – this is an example of what you’d use for a client-focused press kit).

OPTIONAL: A CD with high-resolution images of products, a company logo, a head shot of the company founder, or image from a recent news event / sale. Be sure you have rights to the images you include; the idea here is to offer the editor an image to include with his/her story.

OPTIONAL: An Expert Interview / A Helpful Article on a topic of interest to potential clients and/or an editor. This can take the form of either a Question and Answer article with the company founder on a topic tangential to the company’s products or services or an article discussing a related topic. For example, I could include a piece on SEO when pitching web content writing to a new client. An event planner might include a piece on picking the perfect venue – the idea is to position a company employee / the company as an expert in its field and to illustrate the benefits of its services / products.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | in practice | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments