A Retainer Deal You Should Consider

Welcome to day two of transitioning into the writer’s life stress-free with retainer deals.

(If you missed yesterday’s note about the major benefits retainer deals bring to you and your business, I recommend you read it first.)

Today I’m going to walk you through one of my favorite retainer deals: managing a company’s social media.

It’s one of my personal faves, not only because the demand is huge, but because it happens to be an easy way to bring in tons more writing work … on top of the retainer deal!

At last count, there were 500 million total users on Twitter and 1.19 billion people on Facebook. When you add in the 259 million on LinkedIn, 300 million on Google+, and 70 million on Pinterest, you have one enormous reason why companies are spending more and more of their marketing budgets on social media.

Their prospects are there, and more and more that’s where they’re choosing to do business. Not being present on social media is simply no longer an option.

What’s more, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to build a business. Assuming the writer understands the client’s goals.

Typically, companies use social media for three reasons:

  1. To attract and engage new prospects.
  2. To turn followers into buyers.
  3. To service current customers.

So, as a social media expert, your job may entail:

  • Managing the communities.
  • Writing messages/updates.
  • Writing advertisements to build followers and increase engagements.
  • Leading discussions.
  • Turning engagements into content.

And, it’s the last piece that makes me really excited about this opportunity …

Every day you’re talking to the company’s audience. You’ll know what their biggest fears are, what makes them excited, and what they need most from your client.

So, who better to write the emails, online content, and sales pages than you? And, all of those additional projects are priced separately from the monthly retainer fee you make managing the various social media activities.

Now, I’m not saying you have to do all of those things. You can make a killing just on the social media part alone.

How much?

In Nick Usborne’s program How to Make Money As a Social Media Marketing Expert, he says for a comprehensive social media strategy most companies expect to pay between $4,000 and $7,000 a month.

But, even if their expectations are lower, and they want a simple arrangement, it’s still very easy to command $2,000 a month for a social media gig – even when you’re just starting out.

Land four of those retainer deals and that’s $96,000 a year!

Social media has played a huge role in making AWAI Wall of Fame Member Rachel Karl’s business skyrocket over the past few years.

“Businesses know social media is important and that if they aren’t doing it they are losing business every day,” Rachel says.

But she has found that most people are simply too busy to manage it themselves …

“It makes their head spin just trying to figure it out. So if you position yourself as an expert or if you know just a little more about social media than your average client, you become a very valuable resource to them.”

Rachel’s business has grown to the point where she now has a team of two freelance copywriters working with her. In addition, she has someone dedicated to scheduling her client’s social media, blogging, tweets, updates, etc.

She says retainer agreements have played a big role in allowing her business to grow so fast.

“Without a doubt it was a huge turning point when I started getting one or two regular clients who wanted to use my services every month. I thought, ‘Wow I’m onto something here,’” she says.

Rachel put together some pricing packages that offered discounts for three-, six- and 12-month ongoing relationships with her clients. And then she started promoting them.

Now, instead of spending time chasing down new business each month, she has guaranteed revenue consistently flowing into her business.

Think social media is the retainer opportunity for you? Or, are you already doing it and have information to share with your fellow writers? Whether you have comments or questions, I invite you to post them here.

Tomorrow I’m going to tackle the deal that’s hard to “turn off” once you land it.

Which means a very long-term retainer deal for you. I’ve personally been paying the same writers for years to do it for me.

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Published: April 15, 2014

16 Responses to “A Retainer Deal You Should Consider”

  1. How do I find clients looking to hire me on a retainer?

    Guest (kate)

  2. Dear Rebecca-

    I love the idea of retainer deals but I don't like social media--too technical, way to easy to waste time!

    Do you have any suggestions/contacts for opportunities for retainer jobs?
    I would love to find something in the realm of health/beauty or family/home but don't know where to look.

    Thanks for writing this series--it's real bread-and-butter stuff.
    Jenny H.

    Guest (Jenny)

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    Great info. I come across job ads for social media management but here's my question: the way they word it it sounds like you have to be an expert in that particular industry to apply. Is that true and if so, since no one is an expert in every subject, how do you navigate that?

    Helen H

  4. Rebecca, your timing couldn't be better! A businessowner approached me yesterday and a retainer agreement was one of his preferred payment methods. Because online research will be a part of the package, I'm leaning towards a retainer. But how much should it be? What if my hours go beyond what the retainer covers? Charge hourly rate? Or keep the work within the retainer amount? Thanks for your help!


  5. Excellent idea for a steady income for the writer's life...gonna check it out!

    William S

  6. Do you have any suggestions for retainer jobs? I could not kick-start the writing business and now I don't know where to look.

    Thanks for writing this series!

    Guest (Raman)

  7. I love the idea of retainers. And I dabble on Facebook and Twitter as much as the next person. As a relatively new writer I have what might be a naïve (or even dumb) question... How do you become an expert at Social Media? What qualifications are paying companies looking for when you're just getting started? What differentiates an "expert" from a "newbie" when it comes to social media?

    Jonathan Turrell

  8. Great article Rebecca! Thanks for the mention as well. I'd be happy to dive deeper into this topic or share what's worked and not worked for me if you or the members would like that. Always happy to help my AWAI "alma mater"!!

    Guest (Rachel Karl)

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