You’ve gained your first couple of clients by word of mouth, creating content for their blogs and social media channels. But now you’re ready for more jobs in your brand new content marketing business. Your business is to help drive traffic and sales to other people’s products or services. But how do get more sales for your own?
Gail Gardner is a Small Business Marketing Specialist and CEO of GrowMap.com. The company shares proven strategies for growing businesses through blogs, link building and other methods. Small Business Trends talked with her recently about ways to increase the sales in your content marketing business.
Tips for Growing Your Content Marketing Company
Build a Website
Set a Minimum Pay Rate
You need to draw a line in the financial sand when it comes to the amounts you’ll work for. Writing well is a creative process and needs to be compensated as such.
“Quality content is accurate. Accuracy takes time,” Gardner says.
Collaborate with Other Writers
Writing for a living is full of financial peaks and valleys. You can smooth those bumps in the feast or famine cycle by networking with other writers. Sharing work means more for everyone. While Gardner suggests this Blogger Mastermind Skype group, she also suggests a more individual approach.
“Get to know people who can introduce and recommend you.”
Look for a Small Business Site to Publish On
There’s a caveat here. You’ll want to find a site that will pay for at least one post a week. Remember to keep things simple. Negotiate a rate for the one piece and managing comments only.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Getting out in front of business types and other writers on this site that’s designed for both is a win-win. Here’s some great tips to make this online resume stand out.
Get a Byline on the Bigger Sites
Nothing helps your currency as a content marketer like authorship on major sites. A byline in the Huffington Post or Forbes will provide you with the kind of content creds that will fill your inbox with work.
Frequently Check the Job Boards
This is really important when you’re starting out and trying to build up a client list, Gardner says. There’s a tab on LinkedIn that will direct you to loads of opportunities. Don’t forget to bookmark some of the more traditional standbys like ProBlogger too.
Have Multiple Clients
Gardner also talks about how dangerous it can be to focus all your efforts looking for one cash cow customer as your single revenue stream.
“I know a freelancer that’s always trying to get that one big client but those can run hot and cold.”
Juggling several clients can be challenging. However, something as simple as a paper day planner or online calendar or app can make all the difference.
Work on Your Proofreading Skills
Mixing old and new tools work great. Gardner suggests that there really is no substitute for reading the text out loud. On the other hand, online helpers like Grammarly catch the big stuff but you want to be careful not to take every suggestion.
Stay in Touch with Clients
If you haven’t heard from them in a bit, a little nudge is all they might need to order more content from you. Emails are good, but if you have the time, a phone call adds a nice personal touch.
It would be great if your content marketing service started paying six figures, but that’s typically not where anyone begins. Gardner explains how to cut your teeth in the business.
“The cheapest clients are usually the toughest to work with while the good clients are typically fine with paying decent prices,” she says. “When you first get started, you’ll have to take these low paying, difficult ones first.”
Don’t Be Rushed
There’s no need to let clients take advantage by insisting everything is a rush job. If a project needs to be done quickly, you should charge a premium of 10% to 20% to cover any rescheduling.
“Normal turnaround time should be about ten days — not hours,” Gardner says. “The best writers are busy. They can’t drop everything all the time and write instantly.”
Take Little Breaks
The tendency is to work until a project is finished and then move on to the next. However, to do the kind of work that will increase your client list, you need to take little breaks. These little reboots should come once an hour. They can be as simple as stretching and taking a minute or two to walk around.
Don’t Count Your Chickens
If you want to grow your business, never count on work until you have it and get paid. Gardner also suggests you charge at least 50 percent in advance. She also says some writers charge 100 percent before they start hitting the keys.
Play to Your Strengths
Writers all have strengths and weaknesses. Gardner explains how to play to your strengths with one simple example.
“If you are meticulous, accurate, and slower, focus on white papers, case studies, copywriting, book writing or editing.”