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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Writing For Corporate Clients
by Tina L. Miller

Many writers overlook a potentially lucrative opportunity in their writing endeavors: business writing for the corporate client. Business executives, CEO's, and company presidents all over the country need fast, efficient, and articulate writers for a variety of projects, from writing proposals and daily correspondence to Web site content and ghostwriting articles and books for trade publications under their names.

How do you break into corporate writing? It's not all that difficult, if you have some other transferable skills from previous positions to complement your writing skills.

Identifying Your Skills
First, examine your strengths. Are you good at composing the words for what other people want to say? Do you have a gift for "translating" technical mumbo jumbo into everyday language? Do you find yourself frequently editing other people's work and helping them "fill in the blanks" when they are at a loss for words? If so, chances are you'd be good at this type of writing.

Do you have any technical expertise based on previous positions you've held? Perhaps you worked for an insurance company, a law office, a wholesale company, a retail store, a physician's office, or a manufacturer in the past. If so, you're probably quite familiar with the terminology regularly used in that line of business, and this gives you an edge. Concentrate your marketing efforts in the areas you're familiar with first. Market yourself as a specialist in writing for clients in those industries.

Maybe you know how to do specific things in your industry and you'd be good at writing how-to articles or manuals teaching others to do the same thing. For example, do you know HTML? Then you can write training manuals for employees who need to use HTML in their jobs. Did you work in manufacturing? Perhaps you can write instructions to accompany specialized products. Did you work in a medical facility? Then you might be qualified to ghostwrite medical articles for physicians looking to get published in healthcare trade publications.

Selling Your Skills
Take a look at work you've previously performed in various fields. Did you write reports for your previous employer? Help draft letters or memos for your boss? Type proposals in your former position? Dig up samples of work you've previously done--just make sure it's YOUR work, not someone else's or the company's as a whole--and put them into a binder in protective sheet holders to create a portfolio of your work samples. Show your portfolio to prospective clients.

Check out some of the Internet sites that let you post your resume or an advertisement for your services online. Write an appealing resume or ad that hones in on your skills in your specialized areas and post it. My very first corporate client found my ad on the Internet when he did a search for writers. In addition to my writing skills, my background in certain specific areas landed me the job.

Put together a freelancers profile at sites like http://www.guru.com and http://www.ants.com that can match you up with clients looking for writers with your areas of expertise. Bid on jobs at sites like http://www.elance.com, but don't get your hopes up too high. There's a lot of competition for each posting.

Don't sell yourself as a writer who can write anything. No one can do anything and everything. Pick your strengths and your areas of expertise and focus on those. Look for a niche market and find where you fit in--the kind of writing you do best and enjoy the most.

Tell everyone you know what you do. Talk to local businesses in your area and send copies of your resume with samples of your writing to business owners near you. Respond to advertisements for writers in your field.

Consider joining a professional writers' organization like the National Writers Union. They can put you in touch with clients looking for your skill set through job hotlines and other services. It may cost a bit to join , but it's a good investment in your future success and generally pays for itself rather quickly. I've landed several freelance contracts through my membership in writers' organizations, and though some charge a percentage as a finder's fee, I've found it to be worthwhile.

If you have the time and talent, create a Web site highlighting what you do. It seems like most businesses these days have a dot-com after their names, and it adds credibility. Remember to focus your Web site on attracting clients in your niche market.

Presenting a Professional Image
Conduct yourself like a professional. Make sure your resume, advertisements, and e-mail or snail mail correspondence is professional and error-free. Use letterhead and professional office supplies. Make sure your work is smudge-free, fingerprint-free, and looks like it came from a "real" office. You may even want to develop a business name or logo.

Keep track of your income and expenses so you can file the appropriate tax forms and report your financial information accurately.

Focus on providing your clients with the best service possible. Ask for deadlines and always, always meet or beat them. Never promise something you can't deliver. Be confident, but don't take on more than you are capable of completing in conjunction with your other responsibilities and obligations. Never let a client down. Never blow off a client or potential client. Initially, bid a bit less on a project than you'd like to get your foot in the door.

The best thing about my corporate clients is the networking. Most of my current corporate clients are the direct result of the great job I did for my first client. He bragged me up to business associates and now I'm writing for them, too!

Writing for corporate clients doesn't always give my ego the same boost I get from seeing my byline in print in a magazine or newspaper. But my clients are pleased, my business is taking off, I'm working from home, and I'm doing something I enjoy. In between my corporate clients, I squeeze in time to write the motivational and inspirational articles and essays I love. That writing provides an outlet for my creativity and usually generates a few extra bucks each month. The key is, I don't have to choose one or the other. I can be a business writer and a creative writer. Along the way, I become a lot more prolific, learn to manage my time and projects better, and continue to increase my income. Business writing for corporate clients is a great addition to running a successful writing business.

Places to post resumes or look for jobs:





Tina L. Miller is a freelance writer, the author of When a Woman Prays
http://www.tinalmiller.com/MyBook.html (Obadiah Press, ISBN 0-9713266-1-4, $15.95), and the Editor in Chief of Obadiah Magazine. She lives in Merrill, Wisconsin, with her husband and two children. You can reach her at tina@tinalmiller.com or visit her Web sites at http://www.tinalmiller.com and http://www.obadiahpress.com









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