Sunday, July 5, 2009

Marketing Expert Patrysha Korchinski Shares Tips for Writers

Patrysha Korchinski joins us today from Whitecourt in Canada. She is an entrepreneur, author, freelance writers and speaker.

Her journey to entrepreneurship began nearly 12 years ago, with the birth of her first child. Jumping from home childcare and direct sales into freelance writing and website management & editing and then into copywriting, ghostwriting and eventually into public relations, she picked up on marketing, web development & social marketing along the way until one day it all exploded and PK Marketing Solutions was born.

~ As a writer, being able to promote your work is integral to success. Can you share one key part of a solid marketing campaign for a writer?

It is the same for writers as it is for any other business. Know your target market. Without this foundation, any marketing you do will be a long shot at best.

In writing, that means knowing your goals and then defining the best ways to get there and from there identifying your target market.

That means if you want to be a traditional freelance writing, then you know you have to perfect your query letters and employ strategic networking to develop relationships with editors in your field that can hire you. If you want to focus on copywriting and ghostwriting, you'd work towards developing and communicating your unique skills in an effort to attract and develop relationships with business owners that can hire you.

Your first market is those who hire you, your second market is those who read you after you are published.

~ Your new digital book, Profitable Marketing: Foundations for Busy Business Owners, is an informative 81 page guide. Can you tell us a bit about the book? How can we get a copy?

Well, the book was not actually intended to be digital. It was developed as a print book that I gave away at a local tradeshow as an introduction to who I am and what I believe in marketing. It can be very hard to sum up everything I do in a few words. Add to that, the business owners I target with my services tend to be very busy.

They aren't going to make the time to sift through long articles or bounce around my website unless they already have a genuine need in mind. Even then it is iffy as to whether they read enough to know what I am about.

But that's marketing. You have to think about the potential ways your target market is going to act based on the behaviors you know about. I know that people pick up brochures, fully intending to follow up, but then life gets in the way and they misplace them or otherwise shuffle them out of top of mind awareness. My theory was a book would be less likely to be forgotten and even harder to throw away. Of course, I might be projecting there, but I would have an awfully hard time justifying throwing away a book.

I only made the digital copy available to share with my online friends because shipping on hard copies is a killer and the only other option was to charge shipping, which seemed kind of skeezy for a free book.

I'll send the link to the digital version of the book to anyone who asks as long as you tell me where you heard of it. Just send me an email at info (at) pkmaretingsolutions (dot) com.

~ I like the format of your book. You provide powerful statements in a direct format meant to convey a message as efficiently as possible. This was one of the many statements that caught my eye, “Letting people know does not have to cost much...Just remember the three P's- publicity, printing, promotions.” Can you elaborate on this?

Keep in mind that the book was intended for more traditional small business owners, so I really think the final P for promotions would be out of place for most writers starting out.

Publicity is basically the process of getting free media coverage. Rather than placing an ad in a particular media outlet, you go in through the back door to become the news. This is a particularly important skill for writers who specialize in niche topics, whether it's weight loss, divorce, or spiritual matters or whatever. By getting covered in the media, you establish yourself as an expert. Which can be very handy when you are looking at a book deal for a non-fiction book and they ask you about your platform. You'll have already established your following and proven your publicity skills. How you go about getting that publicity and what media you target, that is going to vary depending on your goals and your target market.

Printing is all about making the right impression. It's one area where it was vital for me to shed my tightwad tendencies. Projecting a pulled together, professional image is essential in many writing markets. I believe that this is a case of "start as you mean to go". You very seldom get a chance to make a second first impression.

I know many writers feel that because they can do business cards at home on their inkjet that is good enough. For some it can be, if your target market is not concerned with such things. Regional parenting markets and volunteer driven magazines come to mind.

However, for most of those targeting a business audience, as is the case with ghostwriting, copywriting and publicity, home printed cards broadcast that we are cheap and unsuccessful. Not quite the statement you want to be making. For those on a tight budget there are ways to establish your image without breaking the bank. It can take a bit of digging, but look for a local printer who is willing to do short print runs. There is no need to print 500 cards at a whack if you find a printer that specializes in small business. The price, even for a small run, may make you gasp the first time around if you are used to home printing. Keep in mind that unless you are making changes you only have to pay the typesetting fees once and it also helps to remember that this is a marketing investment. You can opt for black and white instead of full color, and one side instead of double sided to keep costs down. Avoid thermographic on linen styles unless you are targeting a really well heeled clientele like doctors, lawyers and interior designers. No one else is likely to care.

Most writers don't need much more than business cards and possibly a brochure. You may want to consider customized thank you cards, but in most cases a high quality commercial card set will be adequate for your needs. Other businesses often need fliers and direct mail pieces developed with their printer and for them I always advise getting the best they can afford (if the budget is tight) or what it takes to get the job done right (if money is less of an still don't want to overpay by getting bells and whistles that don't matter to your target market.)

~ In your book you provide three tips for increasing sales & profits. What are those tips and how can we apply them to our writing businesses?

In any business there are only three ways to increase your profits, get more customers to buy from you, increase the amount customers spend with you, and get your customers to buy more often.

Now the first point is the hardest and most expensive. For traditional writers it means sending more queries and unearthing new markets. For those in the business market it means more networking, more proposals and more of whatever you are doing to attract new clients. You can reduce acquisition expenses by actively seeking and encouraging referrals amongst your satisfied clients.

Increasing the amount customers spend with you can take on various forms. In some cases, it can be as simple as raising your rates. Most clients are willing to pay more for proven talent that they can rely on you to deliver.

In other cases it can be about the classic upsell - "Do you want fries with that?" writer style. For example, you might suggest an article series to go along with a press release. You might suggest two brochures, each for a different target market and a differing "compelling reason why" rather than an all purpose one that will ultimately be less successful in converting. You might suggest an email autoresponder series to go with a special report or whitepaper. What can you suggest that will complement and strengthen the original or primary project?

Finally, getting clients to buy more often.

First of all, you should have a system of ongoing communication with your prospects and existing clients. An online newsletter or email list works wonders for keeping you and your services top of mind. When you are top of mind, your name will be the one they remember when they need you. Of course, this primarily applies to those writing directly for business, not so much for magazines.

Second you should have a system of follow up once a job is completed. Remind clients when it's been more than six weeks since their last press release. Touch base with retail clients when you know they should be getting new stock in for their change of season - time for another flier. Keep in the loop of what is going on with your clients as much as possible, and keep your eyes open for opportunities to work together again. Not in a pushy or stalker-like way, of course, but as professional courtesy and follow up.

Patrysha provides writing services through her business, PK Marketing Solutions, and has worked as a freelance writer and ghost writer. To learn more about how she can help your writing career, contact her at PK

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