I met some very cool people and learned some amazing things at the SPJ Convention. One of the coolest tips came courtesy of Jamie Cole, senior editor of Progressive Farmer magazine in Birmingham, Ala. During our Freelancing for Beginners session he gave a number of tips for researching markets, including reading blogs, forum sections and letters pages to learn more about readers. I would add that the magazine’s media kit is ripe with reader demographics that can help in crafting an on-target pitch.
Cole got my attention when he talked about how one enterprising freelancer created a customized Web page, complete with relevant clips just for him. That way he wasn't expected to sift through clips that had nothing to do with rural lifestyle issues.
But the session that was a treasure trove of great information was Marketing Yourself as a Freelancer. Thanks to a wonderful Los Angeles freelancer named T.J. Sullivan, I’m sharing the audio of this program.
It’s about an hour, but I hope you’ll take the time to listen. Among the many great ideas from panelists John Ettorre, Stephenie Overman and Sally Lehrman are the following:
• Think about your bio as your sales pitch.
• Write a mission statement that addresses who you are, what you do and who you wish to sell to.
• Think of your writing career in terms of brand. What is your brand?
• Have an active Web presence (Web site, blog, etc.) to help bring editors and readers to you.
• Allocate time for marketing; plan to spend a third of your time researching queries, having lunch with editors and researching markets.
• Take part in writer groups and your writing community. All three panelists are active SPJ members in addition to other writerly groups.
• Enter awards competition to help build your visibility.
• Find a mentor and be a mentor.
• Build a community around your work.
• Reach out to people for whom you want to write.
• Get paid what you’re worth.
• Don't give away all your rights.
A byproduct of this convention was the realization that I’ve got to be thinking more multimedia about my work. I was delighted to read this column by none other than SPJ’s New England Pro Chapter President, Emily Sweeney.
She provides seven tips for becoming a “multimedia superhero.”
So here’s my next purchase after I get my site live.