Guide More Clients to Your Writing Business
the “Beacon” Way

I’m originally from Maine, where the beautiful rocky coastline can be a boater’s dream or a treacherous nightmare for navigation, especially at night.

That’s why the coast of Maine is dotted with lighthouses. These bright beacons guide sailors safely around the rocks.

A lighthouse beam can be seen for miles. On cloudy nights when the stars aren’t glittering … it’s especially comforting to see that single strong beam of light across the water.

What does this have to do with your writing business?


Picture your potential clients as sailors trying to make their way through a murky, dark sea of writers. They could easily become lost, unable to find safe passage to business success …

Unless there’s a shining beacon that clearly shows them the way.

Today, I want to show you how to become that steady, shining beacon, guiding your ideal clients toward your writing business, which can help them meet their goals.

Here’s how it works.

If you follow AWAI programs, articles, and other training, you know there’s a common theme in nearly everything you read: “Know your audience.”

So ask yourself this question about the clients you’d like to work with:

“Exactly who is steering the boat, searching frantically for a writer like me who can help improve communications and sales?”

It may be difficult to answer this question if you’re not focused on a single niche market because “anyone from any business” is hard to picture.

But it’s very easy to answer this question if your business is focused on a niche industry.

For example, my clients are owners, marketing directors, or web managers of pet-related businesses. Very clear.

Let’s see how other niche market writers complete the phrase, “My potential clients are owners, marketing directors, or web managers of … "

  • green-energy businesses.
  • financial publishing companies.
  • medical centers, hospitals, and outpatient clinics.
  • garden supply centers, landscaping businesses, and garden product companies.
  • outdoor adventure companies selling gear, services, and tours.
  • baby product companies.

See what I mean?

So, assuming you’ve identified your ideal clients in your niche market … state what they need from you in one sentence.

Think in terms of the results or outcomes they need from you. Again, this is easy if you’re in a niche market.

For example, here’s what I can state for my niche market:

“My clients need a skilled web copywriter who understands the pet industry, how to attract more pet owners or pet businesses to their website and turn them into customers.”

A garden niche social media writer might say …

“My clients need an experienced social media writer who can create garden-related fan pages and post comments that engage customers and drive them to make more purchases from their gardening business.”

Here’s one more using health publishers, just so we’re 100% clear:

“My clients need an effective [email] writer who can [write health-related email blasts, autoresponders, and e-newsletters] that lead to [increased clicks and purchases].”

You get the idea, right?

Now you try it for your business niche and writing specialty, filling in the next sentence.

“My potential clients need a professional [type of writing specialty] writer who understands the (__________ industry) and can [write what items] that lead to [more business, more leads, more subscribers, etc.].”

Great! Now comes the really fun part.

To guide clients your way, everything you do should focus on convincing them that you’re the best resource for their needs.

In my case, everything I do is focused on convincing pet industry marketers that I’m the perfect copywriter for their needs.

I do this by:

  • Having a website that’s all about my pet industry background and commitment.
  • Writing blog tips about improving pet business success online.
  • And by participating in pet industry trade shows, LinkedIn Groups, and any other pet industry-related communities I can find.

The idea is, when a pet company owner or marketer is searching for a web copywriter who understands his or her needs, there I am, a bright beacon that outshines all other web copywriters.

This is my challenge for you.

Become a shining beacon in your niche market, guiding clients your way.

Here are five steps that will get you there:

  1. Consider how many writers specialize in the type of writing you do.

    It can be anything from resume writing, email writing, article writing, ghostwriting, blog writing, case studies, white papers, social media, B2B projects, video scripts – anything.

    You’re probably not alone in that sea, correct? You’re probably one of many writers who specialize in the type of writing you do.

    So now …

  2. Focus on your particular niche market where there may be just a few or no writers who do what you do.

    You can see who else is offering these services in your niche market by doing a Google search. Search your niche and your writing specialty. (If you’re having trouble picking a niche, check out my article from earlier this week.)

    For example, I can see who’s in my niche market by typing “pet copywriter” in Google and seeing who shows up besides me. I don’t dwell on this; I just like to know how I can set myself apart from the other writers here. If you’re in a booming niche market, it won’t matter if there are other writers because there’s plenty of work to go around!

    The main point is … position yourself to be an excellent choice for your prospective clients.

  3. Identify or confirm exactly what your clients need from you.

    Go back to that statement you created earlier in this article and post it on the wall next to your computer:

    “My clients need a professional [type of writing specialty] writer who understands the (__________ industry) and can [write what items] that lead to [more business, more leads, more subscribers, etc.].”
  4. Look at your current marketing materials with a critical eye, considering how you appear to prospective clients.

    Does every message help your clients see how you’re uniquely qualified to help them? Or could you be doing a better job of showcasing your niche focus and experience?

    You may want to have a writer friend look for you. Sometimes it’s hard to step back and take a fresh look at your own stuff. You and a friend could critique each other’s materials in this way and help each other!

  5. Tweak anything that isn’t focused on your clients’ needs … and make sure all new material helps you become that beacon.

    Commit to following a self-promotion plan that supports your goal of attracting the right clients in your niche market.

This approach is helping many, many freelance writers I know personally because their clients and prospects really get the sense that the writer is a truly ally – someone who knows their industry. It’s a huge relief to clients when they find a knowledgeable resource like this.

Follow these five steps and you could become a shining beacon yourself.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: August 3, 2011

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