BoFW: Should you ask existing customers for referrals?

By Kathleen Rake

Q:

Should you ask existing customers for referrals?

Short A:

Yes.

Longer A:

Yes. But only if you want to get more work from people who are likely to pay well, pay on time, and give additional referrals.

What do I mean? Well, chances are that a good customer is going to give you the names of people he or she thinks are good candidates for your services. No one wants to make a bad referral; in my experience, at least, chances of a good customer-writer relationship increase when it begins as the result of an already-good-customer referral.

To increase your opportunities for good referrals, first confirm that this customer is happy with the work you are doing or have just completed, then ask questions (see examples below) that begin with who, where, which, or what, and don't forget to find out if you can use the current customer's name when you reach out—better yet, ask if your customer would make an email introduction.

  1. Who else in your industry would benefit from the kind of work I do?
  2. Where else do you think I should be looking for work like this?
  3. What other departments in this company ... ?
  4. Which of your suppliers ... ?

Warning-do not ask for referrals-unless you want them

Are you a writer who wants to make the move to professional freelancer? We are happy to answer your questions. Ask them here, on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or at Instagram. As we get questions, we'll share them (and our answers) with you here. We will use your name if, and only if, you give us permission.

Look for the hashtags #BoFW and #BusinessOfFreelanceWriting on all our social media platforms ... and please check back often.

 Write.
 Get paid.
 Repeat.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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BoFW: How do you avoid getting stuck with unpaid invoices?

By Kathleen Rake

Are you considering making the move from in-house or staff writer, journalist, or author to full- or part-time freelance writer? Maybe you don't consider yourself a writer, per se, but you are the person upon whose desk all the organisation's writing tasks fall ... and now you are ready to go out and make some real money doing what you do.

We know the move can be scary—we've been there!

We want to help you shake off some of that fear by answering your questions about the business of freelance writing (#BoFW), one every week, right here. So, let's go:

Q:

How do you avoid getting stuck with unpaid invoices?

A:

We do two things we do to ensure we don't get "stuck." First, we write a detailed proposal that the client reads and signs. You'll want to make sure the client understands what you will do, what you won't do, delivery date(s), number of revisions, and more. The second thing we do is ask for (and get!) a deposit on the project before we start.

WRITE-GET PAID-REPEAT-NOW

Are you a writer who wants to make the move to professional freelancer? We are happy to answer your questions. Ask them here, on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or at Instagram. As we get questions, we'll share them (and our answers) with you here. We will use your name if, and only if, you give us permission.

Look for the hashtags #BoFW and #BusinessOfFreelanceWriting on all our social media platforms ... and please check back often.

→ Write.
→ Get paid.
 Repeat.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

CMW

 


The business of freelance writing: We're happy to answer your questions

Write.
Get paid.
Repeat.

Are you a writer who wants to make the move from in-house staff to professional freelancer? We are happy to answer your questions. Ask them here, on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or at Instagram. As we get questions, we'll share them (and our answers) with you here.

Look for the hashtags #BoFW and #BusinessOfFreelanceWriting on all our social media platforms ... and please check back often.

Clickety-clack, tippety-tap

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

CMW

 


LEST WE FORGET: WHY CANADIANS WEAR POPPIES ON NOVEMBER 11

By Kathleen Rake


Do you know why Canadians wear poppies to commemorate November 11, the date we call Remembrance Day?

Here is a poem almost every Canadian child learns by heart. It was written by Canadian
poet-doctor-soldier John McCrae during World War I. It will help you understand.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Nov. 11Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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HOW TO WRITE WITHOUT DISTRACTION: AN EASY 3-STEP PLAN

By Kathleen Rake

I admit it! I am easily distracted, even with a deadline looming. But, over the years, I have discovered a couple of tricks and one valuable tool to help me beat the distractions so I can keep to task and meet my deadlines.

  1. Turn off anything that rings, chimes, dings, clicks, or buzzes, except for #3 below. That way you won't be tempted to find out what's going on outside your focused bubble.
  2. Go to your computer with a full stomach and a large glass of water. If you are hungry or thirsty, you will find an excuse to get up. And, if you do that, you'll probably stop to do another task or two ... or five.
  3. Get and use a two-dollar kitchen timer. Set it for 20 or 30 minutes, or the time frame that works best for you. During that time, do nothing but your task at hand. Maybe it's writing ad copy or composing social media posts for the week. Maybe you have to bang out a couple of chapters of your book. Whatever your task, work it for the full 20 or 30 minutes. When the buzzer goes off (and scares you out of your wits), reward yourself with a tea break, some leg stretches, or a rapid repeat of another 20 or 30 minutes. You will be amazed at how much you get accomplished.

    Really.

Untitled design (1)

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.


WHY IT'S GOOD BUSINESS TO EMBRACE YOUR SO-CALLED COMPETITORS: 5 REASONS

By Kathleen Rake

I am not competitive in business; at least, not competitive in the traditional sense.

I don't believe I have to beat YOU in order to win ... to be successful. Rather, I like to embrace those who are considered my competition for a number of reasons.

And I think you should, too.

Scroll down to find out why.

LET'S WORK TOGETHER

I don't worry about what my so-called competitors do—I am aware, but not worried. I am too busy dedicating my energy to growing my own company and serving clients.

At Click Media Works, our focus is relatively narrow, especially when you consider the huge worlds of marketing, corporate communications, and public relations.

We are writers and editors.

We string words together (cleverly and effectively, I might add) for commercial and industrial enterprises, non-profit and charitable organizations, public figures, and educational and government agencies and departments. 

Our clients hire us to write the words that build the messages used to serve their respective business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) needs, and deliver those messages using various vehicles: Blog posts, web copy, case studies, social media posts, video or audio scripts, press releases, advertorials and advertisements, and whatever else needs words. We consult on the content we deliver and help our clients fit the words into their larger marketing, public relations, or corporate communications (internal or external) strategies.

But—and this is important—we are not a full-on marketing or public relations firm. Here are some of the things we do NOT do:

  • create graphic designs
  • shoot video or record audio
  • build websites or blogs
  • develop and execute comprehensive marketing or public relations campaigns
  • organize events

So, back to the title of this blog post and the purpose of writing it, here are the five reasons it is good business to embrace your so-called competitors.

1. WE REFER BUSINESS TO THEM (AND KEEP OUR CLIENTS HAPPY)

Since our clients often need some of the services I noted above, I am grateful to have developed strong relationships with people and agencies who provide them. And yes, they provide writing, too, which makes them, in effect, my so-called competitors. But, I prefer to call them my strategic alliances, my colleagues, my friends.

I know their work, their character, and that I can count on them.

If a client needs graphics or a design layout, I can send them directly to Camilla Coates, Linda Horn, or Denée VanDiermenIf they need a branding package or comprehensive marketing and PR plan, I call Leanne Froese. If they are looking for an integrated digital marketing plan, then Allison Markin is my go-to [ahem] competitor. If a client needs a PR splash, I connect with Summer Dhillon-Giesbrecht. And for video, Gilda Diaz or Keith Dobie get the call. 

The bonus, as I see it, is that I don't leave my client to whirl in the wind wondering who to hire to get "that other part" of the project done.

Customer Service 101 ... Yes?

2. WE HIRE THEM DIRECTLY (AND KEEP OUR CLIENTS HAPPY)

Sometimes, if circumstances call for it, we contract the other firm—we pay them—and manage the project for our client. Then we become the so-called competitor's client.

And, occasionally, we need their services for our own company's branding, marketing, or PR purposes.

3. THEY PAY US TO DO WORK THEY CANNOT

One of the benefits to developing relationships with these other people and firms, with our so-called competitors, is that they often get too busy to effectively generate and deliver the writing for their clients' projects. That's when they call on us. Three-way win, again.

4. DIRECT COMPETITORS SEND WORK, TOO

What about direct competitors? Other writers?

I don't worry about them, either. They are, in my opinion, my greatest asset. I have been a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) for more than 12 years. During this time, I've developed good, strong relationships with a number of other professional freelance writers. I don't know of one who would try to steal a client or mess up another writer's relationship with a client.

It's worked out so that I have referred writing jobs directly to other writers, and they to me, simply because of schedules, preferred projects, and areas of expertise.

I don't like writing proposals or government grants, but I know my friend and colleague Heidi Turner does. So, I'd rather refer a client to her for one of those projects and keep that client extremely happy, while I remain free of frustration.

Ronda Payne has a busy schedule, so she refers certain clients and projects to me (and others) rather than suffer through them.

5. MORAL AND PRACTICAL SUPPORT

I don't think it matters what industry you are in, you need to have some strong alliances set. Sometimes you simply need to vent, but other times it's fabulous to be able to celebrate with someone who really knows what goes on behind the curtain.

And, what happens if you take ill? Suffer an emotional set-back? Or, [knock on wood] get hit by a bus? If you've set it up, you know you can count on these others to support you (read: do the work for you, without taking the credit or client) when you need it most.

I'd love to know what you think. Please connect with me in the comments here.

I'm easy to find on Facebook and Twitter, too.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

 


WHY WE CALL IT A CAMPAIGN CYCLE

By Kathleen Rake

A quick word about campaign cycle vs. sales cycle.

Why we call it acampaign cycle, not a sales cycle

When we work with our clients, we write, edit, and create content designed to help move them through particular campaigns. What we've created then becomes integral to the campaign cycle.

The content we create for these campaigns often includes:

  • eNewsletters and advertorials,
  • media releases and newspaper articles,
  • case studies and white papers,
  • social media and blog posts,
  • website copy, and more.

I use the term campaign cycle rather than sales cycle with purpose.

Cogs-213655

Every campaign has a beginning, middle, end with a goal, and several important points and moments in between.

Bring the end to meet the beginning, and you have a cycle. Now, think of that cycle as a gear—just one gear in a complex series working together to move the sales cycle, which in turn drives the engine we call the organization.

It is important, I think, to emphasize that not every cycle is a sales cycle and not every campaign is meant to sell stuff; at least, not directly in exchange for dollars. Governments, charities, and non-profit organizations, as well as industrial and commercial enterprises have campaigns to change a point of view, accelerate acceptance of a new idea, or repair public-perception damage quickly.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

 


WRITERS, ARTISTS, MUSICIANS: IS THIS TOO CHEEKY?

Good-Fast-CheapBy Kathleen Rake

Are you a business writer, poet, graphic artist, web designer, painter, musician, photographer or another creative soul who makes a living selling your expertise, art, ideas, and the expression of same?

Here is an infographic I created. Let me know if you think it is too cheeky or not blunt enough.

When you view this infographic with your critical, professional eye, please kindly remember I am a writer/editor/publisher, not a graphic artist.

And, consider this my "express written permission" to share it, if you like it.

Download the PDF.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.