Okay. I'm finally getting around to posting your next set of marketing bootcamp exercises (which I thought I did Friday -- sorry about that!). We're going to pick right up where we left off. Last time you set up your basic pages on your professional website. Today you're simply going to populate those pages with copy that will appeal to your target market (and convince them to hire you!).
The copy on your professional site is important. It's important for any business, but especially so for writers. Why? Because how well your own Web copy appeals to potential clients tells them whether or not you know how to target a market with your writing for them (and writing for the right target audience is a key in any type of freelance writing, not just copywriting). Let's cover some of the basics.
- Jump right in with your portfolio page. If most of your samples are from print writing projects, then your best bet might be to scan the samples and include the images or downloads here. If you're a Web writer, you could take an easier approach of simply linking to published samples of your writing online. Just make sure the samples represent you in a way that will appeal to your target market (linking to Associated Content articles is far from ideal if you're charging $25+ per article). Show them samples in the same league as the work you hope to do for them.
- Set up your about page and contact page. You can choose to create two separate pages for this, or you can include your contact information on your about page if you prefer. If you're just going to list an email address or phone number, that might be better than having a page with only a line or two of text on it. The benefit of a separate contact page is that it's easier to find (and if you plan to use an online contact form, that form won't take up a lot of room on your about page). For your about page, it's time to tell prospective clients all about yourself -- the important things. Do you have a degree related to your specialty area? Go ahead and mention it. Have you worked with particularly high profile clients? That could speak to your qualifications too. If you've achieved significant measurable results (usually in copywriting), those accomplishments could be worth mentioning. So could client testimonials. You get the idea (I hope). Your about page shouldn't be bland. It's marketing copy. It's not necessarily designed as direct sales copy, but it does have a job -- to persuade prospective clients to trust you and your experience with their next project.
- Set up your services and rates info. This is another pairing that could be including on one page or on separate pages (such as if you wanted one master rate chart and needed a good bit of room). For your services, you can list them with descriptions, or just include a simple list. I prefer a simple list on the main services page with services linked to their own individual pages with customized and detailed sales pitches. You certainly don't have to take the same approach. I'm also a fan of promoting the services you most want to sell. That means you might leave some off of the site if you don't want them to be an emphasis (or if you feel they would detract from other orders). For example, I ghostwrite feature articles for trade publications on behalf of businesses and executives. The rates are significantly higher than my Web content writing rates advertised on the site publicly. However, I don't advertise that service. I don't want it to become a bigger focus than it already is, and it's a service I only offer to existing clients (where I'm already intimately familiar with their style, audience, business, and products).
- Set up your home page copy. We've covered the internal material that I consider essential (you might have also added some other pages yesterday, so remember to add their copy!). Let's not forget about your homepage. This will likely be the primary page you promote such as on your business cards, forum and email signatures, etc. The copy here has to be inviting and persuasive. You want people to check out your services and your rates, and you want to drive them to contact you (and ultimately hire you). Get your value points across here early. Give people a reason to want to get to know you, and your work, better. Show them why you're different than the competition.
When you've completed the basic copy on your site, feel free to share a link here in the comments. By taking a look at the format, tone, and other elements colleagues use, everyone can benefit from seeing different styles and perspectives.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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