Becoming Today's Hot Trend Writer
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications
There's nothing wrong with being a writer who offers a wide variety of
writing services. Most beginners start out this way, as generalists, and
generate work as a result.
But being a writer of all trades may not be healthy for your business in
the long-term. Sooner or later, as you seek bigger clients for bigger
paying jobs, you'll be faced with heavy competition.
For instance, in the last few months, how many times have you approached
clients for work only to discover they outsourced the work to another
writer? And you know you're well-qualified to accomplish the work; in
fact, you have samples and a long client list that showcases your
ability to do an outstanding job.
If you've come to a point in your writing/consulting career in which
you're having trouble securing additional clients, or you're discovering
that clients are outsourcing work to another writer, the problem may not
be with your promotional material or how you sell yourself. The problem
may be with how you present yourself: as a generalist or a specialist.
It's true that generalists (writers who offer a wide variety of writing
services to clients) generally solicit more work and have a bigger
clientele, initially. But writers who specialize generally—and
almost always do—command higher pay and have a lot less competition.
Generalists are often faced with stiff competition because they're
head-to-head with writers who are offering the same types of writing
services in the same types of markets pitching to every type of client
One way to relieve yourself of competition is to specialize in a
specific industry or offer a single, specific skill. Many writers think
that having experience in many areas, along with lots of samples and
working for many diverse clients are the keys to getting additional
Well, that helps to some degree. But when the client is faced with which
writer to hire, he first focuses on which writers have the specific
skills necessary to solve his specific problem in his specific industry.
All other writers—usually generalists—are overlooked.
For example, a client in the health care industry may need a writer to
provide copy for a new brochure to create awareness of a new type of
vitamin. Twenty-five writers will approach the client for the freelance
work, and only one writer will be rewarded with the job. The client will
overlook those writers who've pitched themselves as "writers with
experience in writing sales letters" and hire that one writer who
pitched himself as "a writer who specializes in sales letters for
the health care industry" or as "a writer who specializes in
promoting vitamins for the health care industry."
After the client weeds out those writers who do not have experience in
his industry, he may then look at those specialized writers who have
experience in writing sales letters for vitamins or whatever; then he'll
look at the samples, client lists, and so on of the remaining writers to
decide which writer is most qualified (and specialized) for the task.
When a client has to decide which writer to hire for an assignment or
project, a generalist or a specialist, the client will almost always
hire the specialist because...
1. The client, nowadays, approaches a writer with a
single specific assignment or project, or sometimes a specific problem
that needs to be solved. A specialist, who's been trained to handle
specific problems and/or write specific result-oriented copy, is more
knowledgeable and resourceful to solve the problem or write the copy
quickly and competently.
2. The client knows a specialist has specialized skills to do the job
right the first time. This saves the client time and money.
3. The client does not have to waste time to a) bring the specialized
writer up to speed with the client's industry or b) to master a
specialized skill to get the job done right. Because the writer
specializes in the client's industry or specializes in a certain skill,
the writer is already prepared to step in and do the job immediately.
4. The client knows a specialized writer can produce better results than
a generalist. This usually counts the most to high-paying clients: which
type of writer can produce the best results.
Besides being able to command higher pay and cut through the clutter of
competition, specializing also has these advantages:
You can "pigeonhole" yourself in a specialty.
clients begin to associate your name with your specialty, then you've
successfully pigeonholed yourself in your specialty and this can
increase referrals and getting clients via word-of-mouth.
marketing and promotional costs.
Being a specialized writer means you
target a specific, singular market—instead of multiple markets
because it's unnecessary. As a result, specialized writers save on
marketing and promotional costs. Specialized writers know specifically
who their market is, what type of clients are interested in their
specialized skills, and so on.
Receive more authentic leads.
Because specialized writers are
tapping into a specific, singular market, they receive more leads of
prospective clients who are interested in their specialized skills and
who can afford their rates. Receiving authentic leads saves you time and
money from going after leads of prospective clients who are not
interested in your specialized skills or who can't afford your rates.
Immediately satisfy the client's initial requirements.
client is looking to outsource work to a writer, the first requirement
he looks for is if the writer has experience in his type of industry or
if the writer has the specialized skills necessary to undertake the
task. Specialized writers fulfill this first, major requirement, and
this helps increase the chances of getting work from the client.
Besides being able to command a higher
pay rate for your specialized skills, becoming a specialized writer
means you have the experience and skills to work on projects more
quickly and competently, which allows you to make more money off of your
project rate as well as to increase your workload or have time to
venture off into other profitable areas related to writing.
An authoritative figure.
Clients look upon specialized writers
as writers with a certain gift or insight, and they often associate
specialized writers as being authoritative writers in their fields.