How to Use the “Pulling” Method of Attracting Writing Clients
By Beth Scott | May 15, 2017
In the last article, we looked at how to gently “push” clients toward working with you by reaching out to them directly. Done right, it’s one of the most effective ways to get clients, but it’s also one of the hardest to automate, as it’s time-consuming, and you really need to give every email and phone call a personal touch.
To cover all your bases, you’ll also need to create a brand around yourself, “pulling” attention to your work and inviting clients to work with you without ever really appearing to do any hard selling.
Done right, it’s easy to set and forget this part of your client-getting system, bringing in clients even when you’re working on other creative tasks (or out there enjoying the writer’s life!)
To succeed, you only need four things: a website, an email address associated with that website, and at least two social networks (I use Facebook and LinkedIn). The fewer social networks, the more you’ll be able to focus your content and cultivate an authentic presence (i.e., don’t spread yourself too thin!).
This pull system — also known as content marketing — is your portfolio, in drip-fed form. You’re showcasing your ability to write and sell a product, while simultaneously building a loyal audience through education and entertainment. If it sounds complicated, trust me, it doesn’t have to be. Instead, it should be fun — and rewarding!
Start by gathering content ideas — you need half a dozen at least, fifteen at most. Sort them into three categories: how-tos, case studies, and life experiences.
How-tos should be relevant to your target client and should explore a problem they have, with a view to hiring you as the solution. For example, if you’re targeting local dentists, your how-to could be about using direct mail to get more patients: tell them what kind of mailings they need and when, but stop short of telling them what to include in the mailing. Advise that they hire a professional with experience writing dental copy (that’s you!). These pieces demonstrate your expertise.
Case studies are working experiences you’ve had with clients, the processes you went through to create the copy, and the results your client enjoyed as a result of working with you. These pieces demonstrate your ability to get results.
Life experiences are all the anecdotes you save for a networking event, the work stories you tell at a neighborhood barbecue, and the little moments in your life that make you think: “Aha!” or “Wow!” They should always have a lesson for your clients, such as a marketing revelation or just a great ad you happened to see in the street. These pieces convey your personality.
Got those? Okay, here’s the kicker — you want to write out your strongest ideas for content, whether you have six or ten or twelve, into long-form pieces that are 1,200 to 3,000 words each. This is your “base material.”
Consider the time you spend doing this as an investment in your business. The more you write about your chosen topics, the more information you can extract and recycle in different ways, on different social networks. The information doesn’t have to be new, either, it just needs to be new to the reader. The philosophy behind this is maximum reach, with minimum expenditure on your part.
So, without further ado, here’s my “secret” formula for successful pull marketing:
- Post your 6 to 15 long-form posts whole, on your website or blog, scheduled once a week. This is your pillar content. Update them as new information comes to you, or when you remember more to the story, and add more pieces to the collection when you have time.
- Pull out smaller aspects of your case studies and post them on professional networks such as LinkedIn. Life experiences and how-to’s don’t get great results here.
- Post extracts from your how-tos, life experiences, and case studies on Facebook.
- Portion out parts of your pillar content, or expand on points, in an email newsletter.
- If you think of a new how-to or have another life experience, write it up and add it to the rotation!
Last but not least, create an automated system using a service like Buffer to post your recycled content every day to your social networks — and voila! Even when you’re working on other projects, you’re still producing a steady stream of relevant, valuable content.
All you need to do outside this is answer questions: join groups, introduce yourself, and help out others. You’ll be amazed at how far this will get you!
I’m lucky enough to say I’ve never bought followers or paid for ads: I currently get 99% of my clients through Facebook, and all of those have been because I’ve given free value, helped others, and made a name for myself by repurposing my own content.
In fact, almost every week I’m messaged by a potential client wanting copy who has found me though my public content posted on my own timeline, or in groups.
Now, it’s important to say that if you enjoy researching, writing, and posting brand new content every single day — by all means, continue. This is simply a way of squeezing every bit of value out of past experiences.
A lot of us writers get caught up in blog churn — writing and posting something fresh every single day because we’ve been told it gets us exposure, when in reality, clients are more likely to hire us when we demonstrate value and actively participate. Automate your marketing with the methods above, and you’ll suddenly have a lot more time for projects and for reaching out to clients directly!
Of course, landing new clients is all well and good, but there’s an art to keeping them coming back for more. I’ll be explaining exactly how to do that in my next article.
This article is part the series: Attracting Clients with Systems
- Part 1: Get and Keep Writing Clients with Systems, Automation and Mindset
- Part 2: How to Use the “Pushing” Method to Attract Writing Clients
- Part 3: Where to Go for Life-Charging, Energizing, Career-Enhancing Writing Breaks
- Part 4 (this page): How to Use the “Pulling” Method of Attracting Writing Clients
- Part 5: How to Foster Great Copywriting Client Relationships