The Ultimate No (or Low!) Cost Way to Market Your Writing Business
Part 1

If you were able to do a 15-minute sales presentation, get three new clients, and add thousands of dollars to your bottom line income, would you do it?

The likely answer is “Yes!”

In this down economy, many copywriters and freelance business writers are looking for innovative and low-cost ways to market themselves and carve out their niche as an expert. And, oh yes, make money too!

One of the best ways to do it is through group presentation marketing, a term coined by Dan Kennedy. Group presentation marketing leverages your time and multiplies your prospecting efforts. You can begin using this strategy by seeking out (or creating) speaking opportunities within your area of expertise to qualified groups and organizations.

Notice I said “your” area of expertise. Often, people ask the question, “What makes me qualified to speak about a topic? Aren’t most of the people experts who do that?”

The short answer is yes, but with one caveat: they are perceived as experts. A better question is are they speaking because they are “experts” or are they “experts” because they are speaking?

More often than not, the answer is the latter. You already have the necessary knowledge to speak on your topic. Don’t wait for someone else to label you as an “expert.” Go out and claim that mantle for yourself! If you make each talk practical, relevant, and solution based, those who need the services you offer will be asking you to contact them.

I will cover how to turn your expertise into a dynamic talk in part two.

In this three-part series of articles, I will give you the ABCs of making this strategy work. My goal is to help you tap into this powerful method of marketing that will not only skyrocket your income, but also position you in your niche as the “go-to person.”

I have experienced its success firsthand. Once, after speaking at a local service club on the importance of using blogging and social media in business, I was placed on retainer to ghostwrite a blog and post to social media outlets for a group of attorneys. They became a long-term client and added thousands of dollars to my annual income.

So, as you are setting your marketing goals for the new year, why not place group presentation marketing near the top of your list?

The first step in using group presentation marketing begins with the letter “A,” which stands for approach. Knowing who you will approach and how you should do it makes all the difference.

Opportunities to speak are all around you, and believe it or not, organizations are looking for speakers just like you. Even if you don’t live in (or close to!) a metropolitan area, you can still find and create situations that are tailor-made for you.

Finding the right audience is critical. Don’t waste time speaking to a ceramics club on social media marketing metrics! This isn’t about talking to just anyone who will listen.

Rather, focus your efforts on those organizations where you would tend to find potential clients.

Service clubs are a great place to start. They will likely have at least one local club that meets in or close to your city. For example, in the small town of Highlands, North Carolina, there are two Rotary clubs. One meets in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Both are filled with business owners and community leaders.

Usually, you will find the “movers and shakers” of any community in organizations such as these.

Since these clubs usually meet during normal business hours, most of those who attend are either owners or key decision makers in their business. They are the very people who are the target audience of freelancers like you and me. I have often said that were I to move to a new town and start a new business, the first step I would take is to get in front of these types of clubs and organizations.

Chambers of commerce are looking for speakers too. You can approach them about doing a mini-seminar or talk for one of their breakfast or lunch meetings. Recently, I contacted a chamber of commerce in our area offering to do a four-hour seminar that would cover the topic of messaging.

The board jumped at the opportunity, and we are in the process of looking at various dates.

Trade associations of those who are in your niche market are another group that are looking for great presenters. Many times, they will hold annual or regional conventions for which they will be looking for “breakout” session speakers.

Contact their offices and inquire as to what the steps are to propose a session.

Several years ago, I spoke at a National Trade Association Convention for a breakout session. Now, I am introduced as a “Nationally Known Expert in the Area of …” That, of course, provided instant credibility and resulted in several new consulting and training opportunities.

Don’t be quick to dismiss the service club or networking group angle thinking that they have already “heard it all.” Remember, you are unique. You bring a perspective that no other person can because of your talents and abilities.

Finding the right audience and matching your message to them is vital to making this strategy work. It is easy to find these service and networking clubs in your area. Their main websites will list the meeting time, location, and contact information for each of their local meetings.

Once you have found out who your target audience will be, it is time to reach out to them. What is the best way to make that initial contact? The real answer is that it depends on several factors.

I prefer an initial contact by email. If I don’t hear back in several days, I will forward my original email. If I still don’t receive an answer back, I will then make a phone call.

Remember, many organizations will jump at the opportunity to schedule a good speaker, so getting in front of the group is easier than it sounds. Once again, it is important to stress that you are an educational speaker and do not intend to blatantly sell your product or service.

You might be thinking, “Well, what is the point then?” Simply this: do a good job talking about how to solve a common marketing or sales problem, and members will be asking YOU to contact them after your presentation!

Do a great job, and they will talk about you to everyone they meet. Do a hard sales job, and they will talk about you too, but not in ways that would positively promote your business.

What if you can’t find an audience? Create one! Several years ago, I heard the story of a real estate broker that was offering a public seminar titled “Secrets To Selling Your Home On Your Own.” At first glance, that might sound counterproductive to garnering more sales, but it wasn’t.

In fact, at the conclusion of the seminar, he had participants asking him to list their home! How did he do it? During the seminar, one of the subtopics he covered was “What could go wrong.” For many of those present, the risk wasn’t worth it, so they listed with him on the spot.

If your niche is social media, you could offer a public seminar on “Five Pitfalls of Social Media and How to Avoid Them.” Or if your specialty is speechwriting and presentation coaching, like mine, you could teach a class on “Eight Steps to Holding an Audience in the Palm of your Hand.” You get the picture. By the way, these same topics will work when speaking at any of the venues mentioned earlier.

Remember that you know 99.9% more about your topic than the members of your audience. Be cordial and clear in your approach, and potential clients will begin asking you to help them. That is an enviable place for any freelancer to live.

Make sure you stay tuned for part two in this series of articles. I will cover how to structure your talk to achieve the results you want.

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 »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: December 14, 2011

5 Responses to “The Ultimate No (or Low!) Cost Way to Marketing Your Business”

  1. Thank you Steve. It was great meeting you at Bootcamp, I will look into Chambers on commerce and Rotary meetings in my area.

    YulandaDecember 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  2. Great write up. Informative.
    I learned so much from this one and excited to read your next one.
    I make notes for future reference.
    Thank You.
    Have a great day!

    j finnemoreDecember 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  3. How funny. I stumbled into this article through a link from another article. This was actually my very first "great" promotional idea. I've been clinging to it ever since.

    Jeff KonturJanuary 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm

  4. Thank you, Bob, for your contribution here.

    Another alternative is to volunteer for work at your local community college, school or even university.

    Being tagged as a "professor" can only enhance your credibility.

    And you don't even have to join the roster of full-time faculty.

    You can join as a visiting faculty or adjunct faculty.

    Participate actively in taking up as many gigs as you can and pad up your resume and enhance your credibility.

    Just food for thought. Have a good one.

    Archan MehtaApril 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm

  5. Nice article, Bob, and good ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    Guest (Davina)October 9, 2014 at 9:03 am


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)