One of the things that took me a long time to realize as a freelance web writer — and something I’d like to help you realize sooner in your own career — is that it doesn’t take a lot of time spent studying and practicing the craft of web writing and online marketing to reach a point where you know more than you think.
More to the point, you probably know more about these things than most of the clients who will hire you — unless you’re working with a big direct-response marketer.
Yet it’s easy to assume you don’t know as much as you think … that your client is the expert in the room.
Case in point. I had a client not too long ago who hired a new marketing manager. They couldn’t say enough about this fellow and his credentials. But then he suggested a plan for increasing the site’s organic traffic that I knew went against SEO best practices.
My first thought was, “Who I am to challenge him? He’s done all these things and the client thinks the world of him.”
I had to sit down and review everything I knew. Once I did, I was certain the plan was flawed, but it still seemed completely unbelievable to me that I would know more than the marketing manager. Even so, I put my ducks in a row, and shared my concerns with my client.
In the end, it all worked out. But it wouldn’t have gone as well for me if I hadn’t been willing to trust myself and speak up.
If you find yourself struggling with this — being uncertain if you know enough to voice your opinions to people positioned as experts, I have a couple of things you can do that will help. Follow these two steps and you’ll get over your self-doubt and start presenting your opinion with confidence.
First, articulate to yourself what you know. Make a written list. I bet it will be bigger than you expect. Your list might look a little like this:
- I know the fundamental principles of direct-response copy.
- I know how to research my audience and identify their pain points.
- I know how to write a benefit-driven headline.
- I know the fundamentals of testing online promotions and can help my clients identify good testing options.
- I know the best practices of email marketing.
- I know the best practices of SEO.
- And so on and so forth …
For each item, give yourself a minute to think about the details and specifics that you understand. Doing this exercise can lay a good, solid foundation for your confidence as a web writer.
The second thing to do is marshal your go-to resources. Sites like Wealthy Web Writer, Search Engine Watch, Heather Lloyd-Martin’s SEO Copywriting blog, and Mashable. Reputable sites that you can look to when a client asks you a question you don’t know the answer to right away.
Both Heather Lloyd-Martin and Pam Foster recommend that when you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, you say, “Let me look into that and send you an answer.” Then check out your go-to resources. When you compose your answer, send a link or two to where the client can see the information you’re referencing.
Taking these two steps will build your confidence and help you to start carrying yourself like an expert. When that happens, you’ll land more clients and command higher fees.
If you have other confidence-building strategies you use, I hope you’ll share them in the comments.
New on the Site
It’s December and that means Reality Blog recap time. This week, Christina Gillick takes an in-depth look at the two big goals she set for the year and measures her progress. She discusses what she’s done to achieve success, what she plans to do differently in the New Year, and she asks you as a fellow Wealthy Web Writer to help her with a dilemma she’s facing. Give it a read right here.
Email marketing plays a central role in most online marketing strategies. In this post by John Torre, learn how to hold your email reader’s interest once you’ve gotten him to open the message. This is an important skill for any web writer.
Do you edit while writing? Or do you leave editing for a separate step? In this post from Christine Butler, you’ll see the pros and cons to both strategies … and hopefully come away with a clear idea of what will work best for you.
Mark Your Calendar
We have a lot of exciting additions coming. Links will be provided for each in the next Member Update. But just to give you a quick preview …
On January 7th, join me for our first live webinar of 2015. During this Member Update, I’ll challenge you to stop doing three things that are inhibiting your success. These are bad habits that most writers struggle with at some point. Join me to break these habits once and for all. Also, we’ll look at top content on the site, what’s coming up on Wealthy Web Writer, and we’ll finish off with a live Q&A session. What a great way to kick off your year!
Then on January 12th, keep a close eye on the Wealthy Web Writer site. That’s the day we’ll add our next Getting Clients report. In this report, you’ll discover how you can use public speaking engagements to land new clients. Public speaking is one of the most powerful and fastest ways to grow your client base. See how it’s done!
On January 18th, Charlotte Crockett, the Managing Editor of B2B Writing Success joins us to discuss the opportunity for web writers in the B2B industry. Join us for this information-packed interview and discover the business-building possibilities that await you as a B2B online copywriter.
And on January 28th, Nick Usborne is going to join us to share how you can reshape your web-writing career in a way that will practically guarantee your success. With a simple shift in mindset, Nick shows you how you can make 2015 your best year yet. Don’t miss this one — it’s going to be good!
Around the Web
Communication is a very important life skill. You’re a writer so you know that. Lifehacker shares 10 ways you can become a better communicator.
Five ways you can be a better marketer with the magic of automation.
Here you’ll find three tips that will help you have a more magnetic social media presence.
And last but not least … something completely different — the unexpected benefits of traveling alone. It’s not writing-related, but it’s well-written and that counts.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!
P.S. Video marketing is taking the Internet by storm. Few people know this better than copywriting legend, Clayton Makepeace. Clayton has used Video Sales Letters to make millions for his clients and a tidy fortune for himself. And now he’s showing you exactly how he does it so you can follow in his million-dollar footsteps. Learn more about this amazing opportunity here.