We freelance writers (including fiction writers) are largely in charge of our own marketing. It’s up to us to answer all those “why hire us, why buy our work” questions.
This series explores winning strategies by using Free Our City as an example of awesome.
4. Be Real.
No fake hype.
Nothing needs to be hyped as more wonderful (or more evil) than it actually is. We won’t believe you. We know better. And we’ll hold it against you if you do this.
Seriously, is there such a thing as a “Universal Premier” for a TV show? It’s a US show. It’s probably just a “US Premier.” (And if it hasn’t aired yet, can it be “America’s Favorite Show This Season?”
On the other hand, being real will…
- Create trust.
- Imply integrity.
- Sell real skills and experience.
- Give key fact.
- Win hearts.
- Create excitement.
- Offer solutions.
- Share emotion.
- Create a bond.
- Educate the masses.
- Reaffirm the insiders.
- Create a relationship.
If you want to be seen as a human being with integrity and quality skills, don’t sound like the guy who would sell his mother for a tic tac.
Free Our City gives us compelling facts and then lets those facts speak for themselves. And it works.
Q. How much hype has snuck into your marketing? What have you done to create trust and communicate integrity?
5. Create a Single Personality.
Grungy font, dark, brooding design, stark information.
Free Our City has a dark topic and their tone and design convey that. Take a look at the pages above. They’re stark and punctuated by blood red.
When you create a visual message (paper, website), you should consider the personality of you and your client, your area of expertise, your topics, and the culture surrounding and supporting these elements.
And then, make a leap, an intuitive leap. If you want to stand out, you’ll need an element of freshness, of humor, delight, shock, or surprise that will hook your reader.
If you look at the Free Our City pages above, there’s a very subtle message that underscores the serious subject:
Let Freedom Ring!
It’s there in the use of color. It’s almost red, white, and blue. The word “free” is prominent. And the birds flying to freedom look a bit like stars on the American flag.
Couple those subtle messages with a city skyline (city = nation) and the call to “take up the cause and free the people,” and you have a very American message that we can all stand behind: Freedom for All.
Q. What’s your Message Personality? How is that personality carried into the design?
6. Champion Your Reader.
Your message is not about you. Not ultimately. It’s about your reader.
What does your reader need in order to help her understand and use your message? The right information, for one. But also, that information presented in a way that’s as easy , as interesting, and as personal as possible
That’s how Free Our City kept my attention through some really tough facts. They let their facts speak. They realized photographs of victims would be too hard on their readers and would turn off those who care the most.
It would simply be too painful to read on.
Q. What does your reader need from you? Do you give it to her or him? Do you do it in a way that’s as easy, interesting, and personal as possible?
7. Give Personalized Calls to Action.
Free Our City spends a whole page on 10 things the reader can do to help change the situation. That’s 10 Calls to Action.
Their point isn’t to be upset. Their point is to stop the sex slavery trade. Today.
And here’s the genius part:
They came up with really easy actions you can take. So easy that there is hardly any barrier in moving forward and joining the cause (even if it’s only for the few seconds it takes to hit the LIKE button).
What do they ask? Visit the website. Program the phone number into your cell phone. Pray.
These are things everyone can do today.
Q. As you write your webpages and marketing brochures, do you have a call to action? Is it easy?
Most marketing materials don’t seem to ask the reader to do anything.
If have a Call to Action, are you asking your reader to go from reading your brochure to hiring you? If so, you’re skipping over “easy” and asking for a big commitment. That’s something to think about, isn’t it?