The Writing Opportunity That Gives You a Reliable, Consistent Income

This week, we’re doing a meet-and-greet with some of the top names in the Business-to-Business writing industry, as well as looking into the top money-making B2B opportunities.

So today, I’d like you to meet Michael Katz. He’s a former award-winning humor columnist, author, and father of three. He’s also done a great service to the freelance writing world by overturning one of the biggest fears new writers face when starting out.

Michael Katz and his dog, Abbie.

What fear is that? It’s the fear of selling—specifically, the fear the selling yourself as a professional, along with your services.

It happened quite simply. Michael wanted to go out on his own in business, but wasn’t sure what direction that would take him. While exploring his options, he came up with a way to share useful information and stay in touch with past work colleagues. It was the seed of an email newsletter, though back in 2000 nobody was calling it that.

As people asked to be added to his list, he realized how powerful email newsletters could be as a non-salesy way to communicate. So he started using them to help others. Not only did he quickly prove most businesses could benefit from e-newsletters, it also became an enjoyable way to write for a living—without having to get into hardcore selling.

The projects are extremely simple. They’re basically short, concise “articles in email form” sent from your client to their target audience, with the goal of keeping new prospects and existing customers engaged.

As Michael puts it, “One of the best parts of newsletter-writing is that you never have to pretend you’re something else.” He points out that “business professional” doesn’t fly over email. But being friendly and easy-going (which he is) are valuable traits in the world of e-newsletter communication.

It’s an opportunity worth exploring if you have a fear of selling. Although, according to Michael, the fear of selling is outdated. “Before the Internet, you either had to spend money or pick up the phone or knock on people’s doors to reach out to people.” But these days, it’s all about who’s a better communicator—not who has more money.

As a writer, that puts you in an excellent position. Because it all comes down to one thing: Your message, not the size of your marketing budget.

If you want to ramp up your freelance writing career, Michael’s number one tip is to be authentic. “There’s no ‘correct personality’ for newsletter writing,” he says. “Don’t try to be funny if you’re not. Don’t try to sound like an expert in something you’re not. … Don’t try to fit a mold. Don’t work from your house because others do it. … Don’t say ‘we’ on your website when you work solo. Because as soon as someone hires you, they’re going to know you’re not bigger, and they’ll be disappointed.”

An additional perk to the world of email newsletters is the regularity with which clients will hire and then re-hire you. Most e-newsletters come out at least once a month. Others come out once a week. Some are even bi-weekly.

If you decide to try your hand at writing e-newsletters and impress a client with your work, it’s not unusual—quite typical, in fact—for that client to have you take over all subsequent email newsletters.

Here are three ways to get rolling in the world of writing e-newsletters:

  1. Put together some samples. Pick out a product or company you like and write a sample series of e-newsletters for it. You don’t even have to pitch it to that company—just writing the sample to show to other prospective clients is enough.
  2. Approach a company you’d like to write for and pitch them directly. Talk to them about the effectiveness of e-newsletters when it comes to growing relationships and nurturing leads (point out that nurtured leads produce a 20% average sales increase). Explain how staying in contact can make a huge difference in their bottom line, especially because it reduces the expenses of other marketing efforts and provides a single channel for their message.
  3. Use your first project (or spec) as a sample to show other potential clients. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire email-newsletter writing business set up, complete with steady income and—best of all—access to the freedom that comes when you pursue the writer’s life.

If it sounds like something you want to do, you could even test the waters by sending out your own email newsletter. (What would you write about if you could send any kind of e-newsletter? Tell me here.)

To see the complete interview with Michael Katz, click here. And to learn more about making a living writing email newsletters, click on this article.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: June 30, 2015

9 Responses to “The Writing Opportunity That Gives You a Reliable, Consistent Income”

  1. I would like to start e-newsletter writing it sounds interesting to me and I would write about social media and how it would help small businesses and increase their ROI. Many small business do not use this simple method to reach out to their past, current and future customers. Can you send me samples??? Thanks for the great article I would like to share it on my blog

    Carmen Iris

  2. First, I really enjoyed reading the article by Mindy about Michael Katz. Michael, you have given me the courage to do something I have ALWAYS dreamed of doing--write. Earning my BA in English in 1998, it was my dream then to become a writer. Unfortunately, things did not work out like I wanted them to and I have been miserable since then struggling to make ends meet financially while hating (for the most part) the various jobs that I worked. Finding, myself still in the same boat, I continue to search for a job that will allow me to renew my passion for writing. Starting out writing for e-newsletters seems like such a simple and GREAT idea. I can't wait to get started. Thanks you Mindy and Michael!!

    Guest (Zellen E Richardson)

  3. Good Tuesday afternoon, Michael…

    I’m an avid reader and listener to your stuff<grin>

    I’ve worn down my teeth in frustration trying to find a niche. I love writing about common day things. I’ve 90 stories about my two therapy dogs. I write daily about things I experience…I want to write a newsletter or contribute to a newsletter.

    Yesterday I went for a walk in the desert… and wrote a story (with photos) of the approaching storm, my dogs’ reaction and my Cooper Hawk friend. Like to read it…? Just ask.

    Joseph Lacey

  4. I have been an RN for 47 years and it is taking a toll on my body, so would be interested in writing for anyone in the medical field, at least to start. All I have done is write for "fun" up to this point, so don't know anything about the 'mechanical' part of this - how to find clients, how to set up an email newsletter from scratch if they have never done this, etc. I already feel confident that I could do the writing end of it, so where can I learn this end of it?


  5. I would write an e-newsletter about the Alzheimer's Association - what the association, itself is accomplishing; tips for caregivers; and quotes from caregivers who are struggling with caring for a love one who has forgotten everything except their childhood. My mother passed away from this horrible disease 11 years ago and it was a fear of mine until I recently decided to become involved in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease.

    Guest (CarolynNR)

  6. Hello Mindy, Thank you for your letter. As you know, I am so NEW to this writing business.
    To be honest with you I do not know how to write an e-newsletter.
    I got THE BAREFOOT WRITER, MAKING MONEY WEBSITE, PWA.Right now I am working on setting up my website. In the mean time , I do intensive research on writing grant for my client.I need some advice to finish this project.
    Have Blessed day. Jane


  7. I would write about my life, experiences, heart beaks, and the wisdom I have learned from the masters that have passed through my life.

    Guest (Karen)

  8. My heart lies with the written word.
    Though I've belonged to many writing groups throughout the past 8 years, I'm still intimidated when it comes to getting my work out in front of an audience. I've edited, proof-read, and judged several writing contests. Writing an email-type newsletter sounds wonderful, yet I'm unsure where to begin. The worst thing is reading terrible script and knowing it sold because the person wasn't afraid to hit send. I have a couple of your programs yet I fear.

    Guest (Evelyn M)

  9. I've put off writing for a long time,now that I have retired,I need t get busy and apply myself. I have a short story that would be interesting to tell.

    You have truly motivated me to get started.

    Guest (Ernestine)

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