What Will Your Marketing Message Be?


Nick Usborne

For many years now, first through one-on-one coaching and then through my articles and presentations, I’ve been encouraging freelancers to find a marketing message they can get behind, share, and love.

As I like to say … Love your message!

Just three words. But they can transform how you promote your freelance business, and totally change how you feel about marketing.

If you’re like most freelancers, marketing yourself isn’t your favorite thing.

In fact, most of us hate trying to sell ourselves and our services.

Why? Because rejection hurts.

When you pitch yourself to a prospective client, and they say “no,” it’s hard not to take it personally.

Rationally, we can tell ourselves this is just a business decision, and not personal. But it still feels personal.

I know this from my own experience. I hate that side of being a freelancer. Never mind having been at this game for decades now, it still stings when a prospective client says “no.”

Except that it doesn’t. Not anymore.

Why doesn’t it sting anymore?

Because it’s been many years now since I put myself in the position where I could be rejected.

How come? Because I don’t sell or pitch myself.

I sell and pitch my message.

Totally different.

If a prospect says “no” when I pitch myself, it hurts.

If a prospect says “no” to my marketing message, it doesn’t hurt at all.

And when it doesn’t hurt at all, you can be much, much bolder with your marketing.

What’s my message?

For the last 20 years, my message has been “Writing for the Web is different.”

I don’t use that exact phrase on my website, and I don’t always use it in conversation. But it’s the basis of everything I say and do professionally.

Since I started writing online full time at the end of 1997, I’ve been all about “Writing for the Web is different.”

Back then, I had no qualifications as an online writer, no online clients, no samples … not even a website.

I couldn’t have sold “myself” even if I had wanted to. There was nothing to sell!

But through my articles, and up on stage, I could share my message.

If people didn’t “get it,” that was fine. I didn’t feel hurt. If they did get it, they hired me. And they still do.

Truth be told, I never even try to sell myself. I always sell my message.

I have my message, what’s yours?

The marketing message you sell needs to be tightly aligned with the kind of work you want to do … and the clients you would like to work with.

It also needs to be a little provocative. It needs to fire up conversations and lively discussions.

When I say “writing for the Web is different,” plenty of people come back at me with, “Yes, but …”

That’s perfect. Now I’ve engaged them. Now we can start talking.

Now it’s your turn …

Let’s say you’re going to launch yourself as a social media writer and marketer, pitching yourself to companies as an expert in that field.

You could try a marketing message like this …

“If you’re not social, you’re invisible.”

Again, it’s provocative. People might come back with, “Hey, that’s not entirely true …”

Perfect. The discussion begins.

This becomes your thing. Your shtick. The starting point for discussions with prospective clients. The topic for 100 future blog posts.

And like I said, when it doesn’t hurt to have your message rejected, you can go big and bold with your marketing.

You can go nuts with blog posts headlines like, “Why Akme Airlines is invisible.” Intriguing, right? It’s invisible because the company isn’t active enough on social media.

Now you can punch way above your class when it comes to self-promotion, because you’re no longer selling yourself, you’re selling your message.

So … What’s YOUR message going to be?

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Average: 4.8
Published: October 14, 2016

5 Responses to “What Will Your Marketing Message Be?”

  1. Yesterday, I came up with: "We can turn this country around."

    It may change, and as you said, it can be said with different words. But for now, "we can turn this country around."

    And you are right. I know that 30% of the population thinks we are headed in the correct direction. If I speak and one of them rejects me, I'm very happy to move on to one of the 70% who wants to turn the country around.

    Thank you, Nick.

    John Chambers OregonOctober 14, 2016 at 7:17 pm

  2. Will the marketing message be the same as what is visioned as a book cover?
    Imagine if your face is on the cover of your book and in a book store, top shelf, eye level, facing out to the crowd. Within a customer's peripheral view,or seen through the corner of one's eye,and at a glance, because you think that there's somebody staring at you,or standing there...when actually it's a book with a face on it.It grabbed the readers first look, then to read what is written on the cover, in front of the photo...with make them open it..

    Continued on next comment box

    Guest (Poetriss)October 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm


  3. ~PoeticLee~

    Shannon Lee Rohn introduces PoeticLee, a one of a kind timeline based book of inspirational poems and prayers, and the dates for every single page as it was written. With masterpiece and skill as you follow events and emotions in her mind-sight, starting as young as 12 years old. Watch this author grow in poetic wisdom and become an inspirational idol, through the deepest words and feelings of someone who is 'PoeticLee' Speaking.

    {Cont'd from previous comment}

    Guest (Poetriss)October 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm

  4. Perfect. I think this is what I've been missing. Will be working on the message today. Thanks so much!

    Guest (Sam)October 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm


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