Make a living with Writing
The current struggle; spending hours upon hours creating high value work that brings a positive experience to people who see it, you have hundreds or thousands of followers who adore your work, your creativity and hundreds of others who wish to be in your position. You plan the project, spend hundreds of hours meticulously crafting each individual detail in the product so that maintains your high standard of output. The product is finished. The followers are there. All you have to do is launch it and you will make sales, right?
Right and wrong. But mainly wrong. Yes people will buy your product when you launch it to your thousands of follows, just by the law of numbers, so will be in the perfect place where they are ready to buy. This may account for as low as 2% of those followers. But why is it that you get hundreds of pieces of feedback each time your post your work, but now that it’s on sale in the form of something people may want (a t-shirt or sticker) nobody buys it?
There is an entirely different mindset between pushing a ‘like’ button and departing with hard-earned money.
This is called ‘bridging the gap’. The gap between making a sale and not. Between someone who says “I would love this on a t-shirt”, and that person actually making the purchase on that t-shirt. Even though he asked for it. But why is this? Why would someone who said that they wanted to buy something from you, you going out and making it, then when it’s made in 2/3 weeks for them they back out and don’t buy it.
It’s because they had a problem at that time particular time, they wanted it then, countless number of situations could have occurred in that 2 week window that made them change their mind. That’s not their problem, it’s yours.
You didn’t solve the problem at that time and now it went away, along with the money you could have made by solving it.
What you should have done is bridged the gap.
You bridge the gap with writing. Writing allows you to get someone who is at the start of the buyers journey, all the way over to making the purchase, think of it as a valley, or canyon with 2 sides, making the sale is on one side of the value, and the customer/follower is on another side, writing is the rope bridge that you through over to them to make it to the other side.
Writing establishes you as an expert in your field, it allows you to share your expert knowledge of a subject with others, and by doing so established that you know what you are talking about, and are someone who people can go to solve problems, someone they can trust.Your job is to bring people on a journey of “Doesn’t know you → Knows you → Trusts You. Everyone is at a different stage of the journey. You have people who don’t know you and have just come across your work, this will happen at any stage in your life. And you have people who know you for a long time and trusts you, this could happen at any stage, you need to reinforce people’s trust in you with writing. Use this writing as a way of bridging people from trusting you to making a sale.
No matter what industry you are in, you can establish your expertise by writing consistently about that industry. For example, you have a dog grooming business, you can building your expertise by talking about and solving problems within that industry, giving tips and insights etc. Not only does writing establish your expertise, it also helps with your SEO thus ranks your website higher in terms of searches, which brings more people to your website. It’s a win-win.
I’ve written about writing before, with how to start writing and why you should.
Start with a commitment to show up everyday and start building a habit out of it. Create a calendar in which you don’t break the chain by breaking the daily habit. Write down something small, even if it’s 100 words everyday, just start by setting aside specific time, if you have an idea, or thought, or insight on a particular topic. Write it down and mark that day as complete.
Doing something daily is the only way to stay at the forefront of someone’s mind. Seth Godin Writes daily, Casey Neistat vlogs daily. Check out their work, their hustle to create, it’s infectious, all the more reason to get around similar people who are doing the same as you at the same level.
Build trust with people, establish relationships by talking about, discussing and solving these problems. This is content marketing. Sell your product, create urgency, explain why it will solve the problem and make you a better person for it. This is copywriting.
Content Marketing = Providing value. Copywriting = Selling.
Bring people in with content marketing. This is your magnet. Talk about their problems, ask them specifically what they are struggling with. Use this as a piece of content marketing and give this away for free, either as a video, blog post, podcast episode, and mention the conversation. This will establish that you are listening to people and care about their problems, enough to do an entire show, post, episode on it. People will care about you for caring about them. This will make people think that you’re reading their minds.
Once you have them in with content marketing and you have an audience of people who trust you and you have established relationships with them, you can sell them solution to them. To make it clear, you are not trying to swindle people into buying anything, there is nothing sleazy about selling people your product that you have put hundreds of hours into creating that will genuinely provide people with the solution to their problem, be it a ‘nice-to-have’, or a ‘practical solution’ (productivity tool / software etc.).
There is nothing sleazy about selling to make a living if you are doing it with the customers best wishes in mind. You owe it to both yourself and to these people to help them with your product if it is going to make their lives easier.
Sell with copywriting. Agitate the pain, explain the problem. You will know their struggle because you made this product for them, to solve this specific problem. Use their exact language. Before making this thing you would have gotten feedback and discussed with people their exact problem, so go back over those emails, those discussions on twitter or forums and use their exact language when selling this thing on your website.
Ideally, you will want a landing page set up specifically for this product, a massive page that just keeps scrolling, thousands of pixels tall, with the problem and solution explained in their language, aimed at a specific person and it will make their life easier. Describe the person they will become by purchasing and using your product. Paint a picture of their life when they have it. Then talk about what their life will look like without it. Position your thing as the only solution to the problem.
Don’t sell features. Sell benefits.
A good example of this is a TV. Sell on the basis of the highest resolution, the clearest and biggest screens available. These are the benefits. Instead of 16:9 widescreen, 1080p, HD TV. These are features. People want to be told what they are getting in layman’s terms and how it will better them. They will worry about the technical aspect later.
Sell them the life they want to life. An easier life. People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.
The next step to take is to start writing, if you haven’t already. Writing bridges the sales gaps. When you write to sell, you can create urgency, and a sense of exclusivity in your product. These are major conversion tools in a writers arsenal. Urgency as in, “the price is increasing tonight so be quick”. Or urgency as in, “there is a limited number and won’t be remade, get them while you can”. People like to be part of something that others are not. A sense of exclusivity is important when selling. But most of all, remember that people only buy better version of themselves. Put them in the position of owning your product and what life will be like when they do own it.
Steps to take now;
- Start a blog (if you don’t have one. If you do and haven’t posted on it in 4 years, make a new one).
- Create a plan – When to show up, how often to write, and what to write about. (once a week)
- Be consisted and focus on a specific subject / area/ topic that you like and/or are an expert in. (Something that will make you want to turn up and start writing at the beginning)
You can’t improve on what hasn’t already been done. Start now.