My kids have been following America’s Got Talent religiously this season. It’s been a lot of fun to watch them get so excited about the success of the people on the show… people who just a few weeks ago had nothing in the way of fame or fortune, but who had cultivated their talents enough that when the opportunity presented itself, they were prepared.
Any big success like winning America’s Got Talent starts with small acts of courage. One of the characters, Prince Poppycock, is an outlandish, vaudevillian singer. In his normal life he’s a very shy, mild-mannered young man. But when he puts on his costume, he undergoes a personality change and becomes the life of the party. I think about how he must have come to develop that character—I imagine it took some courage to put on a powdered wig, extraordinarily long eyelashes, and Elizabethan makeup. He had to have thought at some point that someone might laugh at him. But he did it anyway. He honed this character before America’s Got Talent presented itself as an opportunity. So he was prepared, and he made it to the top four.
In addition to courage, I’m impressed by the amount of encouragement that happens on the show. The judges encourage the talent to grow and stretch, to expand their comfort zone. The talent encourage each other, cheering each other on even as they’re hoping against hope to be the one final winner. The audience encourages them with cheers. It’s really very moving.
And it conveys an important lesson. Success—the kind of success you dream of but hesitate to tell anyone about—takes courage, preparation and support.
This week, I want to steer you in the direction of preparation. It’s a lot easier to be courageous and garner support when you’re prepared.
Putting Intention Behind Your Goals
In Mindy’s blog post, “A Client is Closing Up Shop… Now What?” she underscores the importance of systematic, intentional marketing. As a web writer maybe you’ve already experienced the feast or famine cycle that may freelancers are all-too-familiar with. That cycle happens because when you get busy with projects, you tend to let your marketing slide. Then when projects wrap up, you don’t have any leads on new work. You can break this cycle by marketing consistently. Check out Mindy’s post for her take.
In John Torre’s post last week, he talks about Accidental Marketing. That’s what happens when you succeed by accident. You’re getting work and you don’t know why or how. The problem with accidental marketing is that it’s hard to duplicate and the success is almost always temporary. Intentional marketing is a much better way to go for long-term, repeatable results.
Finally, this week, I hope you’ll check out Jay White’s webinar on marketing yourself to local businesses or read the highlights in the Roving Report. It’s got some great examples of intentional marketing in action—examples you can start employing immediately in your own career.
A deliberate marketing strategy is key to your success. I’ve talked before about three components to any successful marketing campaign. They are connecting with prospects, giving away value, and asking for business.
Establishing a framework for these three things to happen is pretty straightforward. There’s not a lot of guesswork to the process. But it will take more than a week to accomplish. So…
From now through the end of October, I’m going to do things a little differently. Instead of having a new focus each week for your 15 Minutes To Fame, I’m going to build each week on the last. If you follow along, by the end of October, you’ll have the foundation for an ongoing marketing system in place. Ultimately you’ll want to spend more on your marketing than 15 minutes a day—not much more, but some more… but over the next six weeks, I hope you’ll take at least 15 to 20 minutes a day to put together the tools you need to succeed in the long-term.
So, let’s get started!
Monday: The first thing you’ll need is a professional website. A website gives you a place to send people, a place to promote yourself, and a place to capture your leads. Everything else you’ll do to build your marketing plan hinges on having a website.
I hope you took my advice last week and Mindy’s advice in her blog and signed up for the Wealthy Web Writer Challenge. If you didn’t, don’t despair. You can still get a professional website up and running by the end of the month if you join the challenge or over the course of the next six weeks if you’re just following along here. Your first step, which you’ll take today, is to outline the content you’ll need for your site. Think about the pages you want your site to have and the function your site will perform. Write down a list of the pages you want to include and the purpose or message of each.
Tuesday: Once you have a website, you need to begin building an email list. An email list gives you a chance to remain in contact with prospects, converting them to clients over time. Today, set up a plan for your email list. Once your website and email server are set up (more to come on those steps in the following weeks), you’ll need to begin mailing to your list on a regular, predictable basis. Decide how often you’ll send emails and what format you’ll use. Write down an initial list of at least six topics you can cover.
Wednesday: The most successful websites grow over time. That means that you’ll want some way to grow the content on your website. The easiest way to do that is with a blog that you update at least once or twice a week. You can also add articles from your eletter to an archive on your site. You might include reviews, news, upcoming events, and videos, too. Today, come up with at least a dozen topics you can write about in the coming weeks to begin steadily building the content on your site.
Thursday: A website, an email list, and a plan for content will set you up to succeed. But you won’t succeed unless you have traffic. Today, you’re going to review Mindy’s article on succeeding with social media and write down your own plan for using social media to drive traffic to your site.
Friday: You’ll want to bring traffic from other sources, too. Posting in forums, contributing articles to related publications or article banks, and guest blogging on popular sites can help to build your traffic. Today, do a little research and come up with at least ten places where you can begin posting that allow links back to your site.
That’s it for today. I hope you’re excited. By the end of October, you should have in place all the tools you need to launch a steady, consistent marketing strategy that turns your feast and famine cycles into a never-ending buffet of work.
Have a great week!