If you want to move beyond run-of-the-mill low-paying Web writing gigs, you need to be able to effectively market your Web writing services. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Web content writer, Web copywriter, or any other type of writer making a living online – you need to have a marketing strategy. But before you even think about how to market yourself or where to find high-paying clients, you need to understand the most important marketing tool any Web writer has: their USP
What is a USP?
Whether you call it a unique selling proposition, unique selling position, or something else, your USP is essentially the reason a client should not only hire you, but pay you what you think your services are worth.
Examples of USPs
Your USP can be any number of things, or a combination. Here are some common examples:
* Your specialized credentials
* Your quality
* Your experience with a certain type or caliber of client
* “Extras” you may include that similar providers don’t
* Your pricing
Avoid Pricing as a USP
While being the least expensive option can attract clients, anyone with an ounce of marketing sense will tell you that you should never market services on price. It may work as a USP for products – look at Walmart. But you’re not Walmart. You’re not offering products. You can’t manufacture something cheaper, you can’t buy in bulk, and you only have a limited number of hours per day that can be allotted to providing a service.
Web writers who try to market primarily or solely on prices generally don’t last very long. They can’t meet their income goals in the long term, or they find that once they’ve set their reputation as a “cheap” provider, it can be nearly impossible to move beyond that image when they are ready to start charging rates in line with other professionals.
Don’t do it. There’s no good excuse. And don’t make the common mistake of thinking you should start extremely low when you’re new, because you can drastically increase rates later – most can’t. You’ll never earn to your full potential if you go this route.
Example: Web Content Writing
One of the services I offer is Web content writing, including SEO content. You’ve probably seen people advertising SEO articles at rates like $5 per 500-word article. So why is it that my clients are willing to pay me 20 – 100 times more than that for a similar-length article? Because I have a solid USP, and I can back it up.
How did I develop that USP?
The primary emphasis of my Web content writing services is the quality. I write business-related content, because I’m a specialist. So my background ( in my education, past client experience, and the fact that I’m a small business owner on top of being a freelance writer) tells prospective clients that I know what I’m talking about. I can write content that generally goes beyond research – I can write from that experience to give them something truly unique or original. That comes at a premium (and specialization is usually a great component of an effective USP for writers). I know how to show clients that higher quality content than those $5 articles can actually improve their business – improve their reputation, increase word-of-mouth marketing on their behalf, and even flat out make them more money. Again, they’re willing to pay more, because my content not only can get them search engine results, but help them solidify a long-term business identity. I’m just one example – no matter what kind of freelance Web writer you are, you can build similar value around your work, giving prospective clients a reason to choose you over the competition.
What’s Your USP?
Is there anything that sets you apart from the countless other Web writers vying for the same gigs? If not, you should start putting some thought into it. Can you specialize, if you’re not already? Can you improve your credentials? Can you think of benefits your writing would have for clients that similar writers aren’t thinking to mention? Can you offer something extra (like a free report, consulting related to the writing you’re providing, etc.) that might attract clients to you over your competition? If nothing makes you the best choice, you need to change that.
Jennifer Mattern is a freelance business writer / Web content writer, blogger, and author of the Web Writer’s Guide to Launching a Successful Freelance Web Writing Career e-book. The e-book is designed to help new freelance Web writers launch their online career, set their writing rates, build a portfolio, build a network, and learn how to effectively market their services to bring in new clients.
Find out more at the Web Writer’s Guide blog at WebWritersGuide.com
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