Today's guest post comes from the query free writer herself, Jennifer Mattern.
Writers: What's Your Value Proposition?
By Jennifer Mattern
In an earlier Writer's Worth post, Lori talked about how freelance writers need to accept their own worth in order to charge professional rates for their services. She talked about some of the ways you can realize your worth, such as knowing your competition and visualizing those low-balling clients trying to sell your loved ones on garbage gigs rather than you. Those are excellent ways to accept your worth internally. But there's something else I'd also recommend -- figuring out your value proposition.
You've probably heard terms like "value proposition" and "unique selling proposition (USP)" before in relation to marketing your services to buyers. But your value proposition can also help you realize your own worth first.
What is a Value Proposition?
Think of your value proposition as what you bring to the table.
If you think all you have to offer are articles, blog posts, white papers, or other finished products, you might not understand the full extent of what you really do for your clients -- the reasons they actually hire you. This is why I hear from content mill writers who say they're thrilled to get $15 per article. After all, they're just doing something they love, so they should be happy to get paid at all, right? Wrong.
What You Really Offer Clients
You don't simply offer words on a page. You offer that and so much more. Depending on the type of freelance writing you do, here are some examples of the real value you (and your words) provide:
- Credibility for your client
- An increased customer base
- Marketing, sales, or PR expertise
- Expert advice on your industry or your client's market
- More time and freedom for your client to pursue other lucrative aspects of their business
- And so much more!
Let's look at a more specific example. Say you write sales letters for clients trying to sell software. You don't just bring them text. You bring them increased sales (and therefore more money). You understand testing. You understand conversions. You understand the market. And you understand what makes your clients' customers tick.
You do more than write the actual copy. You're a marketing consultant. You're an advisor. You're the person clients go to because they don't have this kind of expertise themselves. They value your opinions. They want your feedback. Your job isn't just to say "tell me what you want and I'll write it all pretty-like." It's to act in an advisory capacity to help them expand their business through better writing. And you deserve to be paid well for that.
The same is true of any other type of freelance writer.
- Freelance bloggers free their clients up to focus on marketing and monetization while attracting a loyal readership.
- Freelance PR writers bring the expertise to help clients build earned media coverage, build industry recognition, and put out fires.
- Technical writers can take complicated information and weave it into easy-to-understand formats for laymen and industry insiders alike (which many companies struggle to do effectively on their own).
- Magazine writers are the people who bring readers back every month and convince buyers to become subscribers, building the audience magazines then monetize.
- Even content mill writers offer more than they realize -- the serious ones at least. They bring the mill sites better search engine rankings, more traffic, and therefore more ad dollars. They also lend mills any sense of credibility they might have (which is why content mills have so desperately tried to escape the "shallow content" label over the last year -- they need your credibility to survive).
Think of everything you really bring to the table as a freelance writer. What goals do you help clients reach? How do you help their businesses or organizations thrive? What benefits do they enjoy by hiring you over the competition?
List everything you might use as a selling point when talking to a prospect. And then remind yourself of this value proposition the next time you wonder if you're worth the professional rates you want to charge. I'd bet for many of you, you're worth even more.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and e-book author. She owns 3 Beat Media, the company behind blogs like All Freelance Writing and BizAmmo. She plans to launch a new site for freelance writers, indie publishers, and professional bloggers during the summer of 2013 called All Indie Writers.