Reality Blog Challenge: The One Thing You Need to Set Up Your Writing Business

Businessman using smartphone and laptop writing on tablet on wooden table in coffee shop with a cup of coffee

Reality Blog Challenge: Information Packet Writing BusinessWhen I began freelancing, I had a romantic mental vision of sitting in a coffee shop, writing away, sniffing the wonderful scents in the air, and being stimulated by the ambient noise around me. And it is like that … some days.

But my imagination didn’t account for all the minutiae that goes into running a writing business, and the questions that prospects would want answered before hiring me.

I was feeling overwhelmed and panicky about these details — how do I express that I’m qualified for a job? What information belongs on my website? How and when should I be available to communicate with clients? That’s when I met Master Copywriter Joshua Boswell. Fortunately for me, Joshua had the answer.

Your Information Packet Contains Everything Your Prospects Want to Know

It’s called an Information Packet, and luckily, Joshua was gracious enough to let me tell you about it. (Full disclosure: I completed Joshua’s first 12-week Simple Path to Success copywriter marketing program, and I won. So I am probably a bit biased towards him.)

Your Information Packet will serve as the template for your business. You’ll have one master version and customize it for every prospect. The packet establishes your policies and procedures up front … It answers questions your prospects didn’t even know they had … It makes you look like a seasoned professional no matter where you are in your writing career … And best of all, it will help you convert your prospects into clients.

The packet contains seven elements. But before I give you the full details, you need a solid foundation to build on.

What is that?

You need to choose your niche.

The Reality Blog has recently featured a few posts on this topic, and Wealthy Web Writer has several articles in the library, so I won’t get into how to do that here. But it’s vital that you choose a niche so your Information Packet is tailored for the right people.

So, make your choice and then it’s time to get started …

The Elements of an Information Packet

  • Introduction Letter

    The Introduction Letter is the showpiece of your entire packet. It is really a sales letter where your writing services are the product. It should include:

    • A professional header with your contact information. No graphic design required (unless you want it). You only need to make it easy for the reader to contact you.
    • A welcome section that speaks specifically to the prospect and their needs. Talk about your niche, the kinds of writing you do, and why you’re the perfect fit.
    • A Question & Answer section about you and your business. Discuss your qualifications as a writer and your experience with the reader’s industry in a Q&A format. Preface it by saying that you know the prospect has questions about working with you, and that you’re anticipating and addressing them here. Use this section to guide them to other parts of the packet. For example, you might ask, “What do your services cost?” and answer it with, “The attached Fee Schedule contains estimated price ranges for various projects.” This section also provides a great opportunity to explain and promote some of your specific service offerings.
    • A few testimonials. Sprinkle them throughout the letter, using borders or sidebars to attract the eye. Include a few at the very end to pack extra punch.
    • A closing and call-to-action. Tell the reader how to get started on their project with you.
  • What Others Say About [Your Name Here] (aka Testimonials)

    This is an additional page of testimonials aside from those in the Introduction Letter. If you don’t have many from your writing projects, ask friends and colleagues for them. The testimonials must be genuine, and they should emphasize your best qualities.

  • My Clients and Experience

    List your clients and experience alphabetically. Include everything … past jobs, volunteer work, clients … everything. You don’t need much detail, just the name and nature of the organization. For example, my list includes “Miami Law Innocence Clinic — Legal Advocacy Clinic,” which is a program I did in law school.

  • How I Write

    Show potential clients you have a writing process and a system for organizing your projects. This will make them feel confident about working with you. In this section, share your procedures for initial project intake, getting started, researching, reviews, and revisions. This is also the place to discuss when and how you can be contacted, billing procedures, and any other logistical information that will be part of your working relationship with the prospect. Don’t forget to set the stage for future work by including that you’ll follow up after the project is finished.

  • About Me

    Here is an opportunity for the prospect to get to know and like you. You can write a traditional biography … but that’s boring and puts people to sleep. Instead, tell one or two specific stories that highlight your skills, build trust, and draw the reader in emotionally. Feel free to be real, raw, and sincere.

  • Estimated Fee Schedule

    Include a simple list of the services you offer, along with price ranges for each.

  • Writing Samples

    Be sure to provide writing samples. If you don’t have anything relevant to the prospect’s niche or type of writing, then create something. Include a disclaimer that you weren’t hired to write the piece, but that it shows the high quality you’ll deliver.

Your Packet Serves Numerous Purposes

Creating your packet can be time-consuming, but remember that you’re writing the main template only once. And after it’s finished, it can be used in a number of ways to further your business and help you look like the professional you are. Consider:

  • You now have a tangible thing to share with prospects and people you network with.
  • You’re giving readers an idea up front of what they should expect to spend on your services.
  • If you ever call prospects as part of your marketing, refer to it as you verbally explain your work process. You’ll sound capable and self-assured.
  • The packet can be the basis of your website, with each segment forming one page on the site. Just make a few modifications so the language fits your general niche audience.
  • Should you need a biography about yourself, it’s already written. Even for a more traditional biography, the raw material is there to revise and repurpose.
  • Your discussion of your qualifications and experience can be refined to create a short, powerful elevator pitch.

And that’s just for starters!

So, what do you think about the Information Packet? Is this a tool you’ll use in your web-writing business? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. See you next time.

Candice

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Candice Lazar

Candice Lazar is a copywriter and marketing consultant. Her specialty is copy that helps clients develop long-term relationships with their customers.

8 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing this Candice.

    I think that it is a very important and useful tool to have in your writing business.

    Thanks for the clear guide.

    • You’re welcome – I’m glad you liked it. I can’t recommend it enough. Let me know if you end up doing it!

  • Hi Candice! Thanks for the article. I also took Joshua’s course and you’ve inspired me to go back and do a comprehensive review of my information packet. There are some items I see I have missed. Thanks again.

    • My pleasure! I can relate – I need to review and make some changes to my own packet.

      Also, if you subscribe to AWAI’s newsletter “The Writer’s Life,” Joshua is the guest columnist this week. He mentioned that he’s going to talk about the info packet as well (which I didn’t know when I wrote this blog). Hopefully he has some new tips for us!

  • Candice, I learned about the Information Packet from Joshua as well, and remember thinking how much time he saved us by focusing us on what was important and saving us from losing time on what wasn’t. What you just summarized in this article is invaluable! While I thank you for the refresher, I know so many of your readers will be ecstatic to get fully actionable information on what they need to do. Great job!

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