This Will Put You in Total Control Of Your Freelance Writing Business
This week I’ve been helping you add a retainer deal (or two!) to your list of services, to ensure you have some revenue you can count on month after month.
What’s most interesting about today’s opportunity – besides the fact that companies spent more than $118.4 billion on it in 2013 – is that many writers don’t think to set it up as a retainer. They approach the projects piece by piece.
Which always surprises me …
Because companies need it on an ongoing basis!
You see, Google now insists that a website have quality content (and an ongoing stream of it) or its search engine rankings will suffer. And, if a business can’t be found on Google … well, they may as well close up shop.
That’s why the third retainer opportunity I want to make sure you consider is content marketing.
Content marketing is essentially “selling without selling.” Instead, businesses educate their readers with stories, metaphors and simple advice in the form of new articles, blog posts, emails and so on.
Ultimately these pieces of content are moving the reader toward the sale …
But in the meantime, content gives the company the opportunity to build a relationship with the reader, and demonstrate their expertise, so that when the opportunity to buy does appear, the reader is open to it and ready to take action.
Now, here’s what gets me most excited about this type of retainer deal …
Of course – like the others – there’s the monthly revenue stream you can expect to receive month after month.
But, according to AWAI member and content marketer Mandy Marksteiner, there are other benefits, too …
For starters, it’s a win/win for you and your clients, because it makes them commit to a regular marketing schedule. Good ongoing marketing activities help them realize more success, and they see you as the person who helps make their ongoing success possible.
Next, clients see you as someone on their team who provides a “big-picture strategy” to achieve their goals, rather than someone they hire every now and again for a project here and there.
And finally, it can make the “pricing game” really simple …
Mandy, for example, put together three packages for clients: 1) An “entry level” package; 2) A “more advanced” package; and 3) One for extremely motivated clients. Pricing ranges from $200 to $2,000 per month. She offers a discount for six-month and 12-month agreements.
After meeting with a new client, she simply tweaks the appropriate package deal slightly to customize it to their needs.
No more worrying about “how much to charge”!
Interested in landing a few of these deals yourself? Here’s your way in …
Read the content already published on websites that interest you.
After all, you’re going to be writing a lot about the topic. It may as well be something you’re interested in!
Next, determine who their audience is and what they’re trying to ultimately sell. (Trust me, if it’s a company who values their content enough to pay quality writers, they’re selling something. If not, move on … you want to write only for companies with something to gain financially.)
Next, put together a list of topics you could write about, and send them along with a few sample pieces of content.
And don’t worry if you’re just starting out …
Your samples don’t have to be from past clients. Any examples of your writing will work, assuming they’re examples that fit the client’s style.
Then, once the conversation gets going, you can present the idea of a retainer deal, where you’ll submit a piece of content every week for a flat monthly fee.
Now, fees can range greatly, depending on how much content you’re providing on a monthly basis. But, when you figure you can charge $100 to $500 for each piece, you can easily see just how fast a retainer deal can add up.
Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and author of AWAI’s Content Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Highly Paid Content Marketing Strategist, is also an advocate of retainer deals. One of the simplest deals he recommends in the program is writing one blog post per week in exchange for $500 to $800 per month.
So, which of the three opportunities we covered this week are you most interested in doing on retainer? Share with me here, and feel free to ask any questions you have, too.
I’m happy to help you choose or get moving forward!
And then make sure you don’t miss tomorrow’s issue …
I’m going to answer some of the most common questions people have about retainer agreements to ensure you know how to navigate them properly.
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