Together with author Virna DePaul, I spoke at the Sept. 14 Sacramento Press Club Seminar on "creating a killer writer web site that attracts editors."
I suggested that the journalists, non-fiction book authors, and fiction writers in attendance think in terms of marketing their small business' writing services. With that in mind, good goals for a writer's website include:
- Start relationships with prospective clients (editors, publishers)
- Build reach (add subscribers, followers, fans)
- Market research on story ideas
- Build referrals
- Ramp up new clients faster
- And even... get paid faster
Notice that I didn't say “branding” and “awareness.” They might be good reasons… but only if they will drive the goals above.*
To accomplish these goals, there are at least four things we must do. They're interrelated, and we can think in terms of a cycle to repeat and check against, to ensure we have a hard working web presence. The four things are:
- PROVE: Build strong business case (why trust me)
- PULL: Attract best visitors (where are my clients)
- ENGAGE: Start a relationship (>1 way to engage)
- NURTURE: Ping with permission (what do they need)
I've evaluated dozens of small business websites, and in general they are weak in all these areas - so produce little or no return on investment. If we're trying to raise ROI from a website, the place to focus first is #1 (PROVE).
Why believe you?
Here are the types of content that can build prospects’ confidence that what you say about your services is true:
- Decision guides
- Case studies
- Samples of work
Here is a copy of the seminar slides (286 KB PDF).
Any comments or questions on the ideas we discussed in the seminar? Please chime in below.*Credit: Mike Volpe, 2008 slide deck about inbound marketing, re right and wrong reasons for marketing