This week, during what is supposed to be the worst of the dog days of August, I received that email. The sender was the head of a nonprofit in Connecticut. Of course, when I spotted this on my iPhone, I responded promptly. I met him in his office the next day. That could be just the first assignment in a long relationship, one which could lead to referrals to other clients in the non-profit sector.
Clearly, we speechwriters and ghostwriters have to attend to our rankings on search engines, in the appropriate categories. That means continuing to be up on search engine optimization (SEO). Yes, that has been one proven way to land assignments.
But, there are those who wonder how much time to invest in that marketing tactic. After all, there are many others, including attending special events such as conferences and local networking fairs. Should we be joining more organizations like the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce in Connecticut and the local Rotary? Do paid ads deliver a decent return on investment? Is "What Color Is Your Parachute?" on the money with its push for us to do direct mail?
What I have found is that we have to experiment, all the time. For a while, I got most of my business from SEO. Then that stopped. Now it's beginning again. Meanwhile, I followed the advice of "What Color" and invested in creating a killer direct mail piece and identifying the best people to send it to. That resulted in top-quality, lucrative assignments. What wasn't worth my time was doing favors for those I didn't know. For example, one bigwig in a public relations agency asked me to fill out a long form endorsing his shop in legal work. That was the second favor I had done for him. No referral followed. It will be a long time before I consider that tactic again.
The cliche - everything changes - is about the only constant in how we free agent ghostwriters and speechwriters can obtain the best assignments. The peril is to stick only with what is effective at the time. In a heartbeat, that could stop being productive.