In November's WOW! Premium Green newsletter, I polled our members about whether or not they had a membership in the local chamber of commerce or another business group. Most of those answering didn't have a membership. Some said they would consider joining if they wrote copy.
But writers who limit themselves - especially in today's turbulent freelance marketplace - by not connecting with local businesses are missing an amazing opportunity.
Small business owners need copy. Small business owners also have other communication needs: newsletters, brochures, websites, social media and marketing. Small business owners need writers who have proven they meet deadlines and offer a quality product.
Why not let local business owners know you are available? Let them know that as a professional, you're will develop a strong, working relationship with them and work with them to promote their business. Joining the local chamber of commerce of small business owners group will increase your bottom dollar. And in today's market, writers need to open as many doors as possible. You never know when a connection will land a lucrative contract.
How do you get started?
- If you are a member of the chamber of commerce or business group, make a list of potential business contacts. Secure a name and phone number and make the call. For writers who haven't joined a business group, you're still in luck. Look through online business directories for your area. The yellow pages (although I've been told they are so last year) can lead you to local businesses. Many regional newspapers offer online marketplace services that list area businesses. I've added an example from my regional newspaper.
- Combine services and offer a package deal. Through a contact I made, I was able to design and edit a company newsletter. If I hadn't offered a combination of services, the business owner would have been forced to hire another person to design their monthly communications.
- Offer coupons to new customers. A coupon advertises your services at a reduced cost and is a cost-effective means of advertising for your writing business.
- Remember your current clients. After all, they have been the foundation of support for your business. Stay in contact with this group of business owners, even if they currently don't need your services. You can't predict when they will need copy or editing services.
Joining a local business organization will provide writers with yet another resource to draw from for a client base. You never know when the quaint cafe down the road or the local clothing store may need a writer.
Do you have a membership in a local business organization? Ever secured a writing job from a small business?
Post and graphic by LuAnn Schindler. LuAnn is a monthly columnist for WOW!s Premium Green issue and a freelance writer. She writes a weekly newspaper column about Nebraska for several regional newspapers.