One of the keys to earning more in less time as a solo professional is to get way more value out of every activity you do in your business.Each of us has a limited amount of time. So if you can spend one unit of energy marketing your business and get 10X the results, that means you can spend less time marketing while still growing your business.
That’s what today’s guest is going to talk about. Her name is Liz Farr. She’s a CPA and talented writer who writes for accounting firms and companies that sell to accountants.
Liz is going to detail a very powerful marketing strategy she’s been using for a few years. It’s had a huge multiplier effect on her business. More specifically, it’s enabled her to create a self-running marketing machine that cranks out a steady stream high-quality writing prospects.
She explains what it’s about and the results it’s generated — and how you can apply the same strategy yourself.
This is a simple yet brilliant strategy. I hope you enjoy our discussion.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
Tell us about the work you do
Liz Farr is a CPA (certified public accountant). She writes B2B copy for accountants and companies that serve accountants. She writes blog posts, articles, case studies, web copy, white papers and books.
You’ve had great success landing high-quality clients from inbound leads. Give us a brief overview of this strategy
For the past two years, Liz has been writing bylined articles for accounting trade journals and content platforms.
She gets paid to write these articles. Prospects find her articles and then reach out to her to ask about working together.
How did you start using this approach?
Liz came across this approach by accident.
As a CPA, she subscribes to the Journal of Accountancy. Their newsletter includes links to send comments to the editor. One article caught her eye, so she sent a comment to the editor. She also mentioned that she’s a CPA and freelance writer and asked if they should connect.
As it turns out, they were looking for writers who were also CPAs.
A couple months later, she wrote an article for them. The connections she made through that article led her to other platforms and editors. It quickly snowballed.
Were these paid opportunities? Or were they purely for exposure?
The Journal of Accountancy pays its writers a little higher than market rate — as they should. These articles can be a huge amount of work.
About a third of Liz’s income last year was from bylined articles.
When she attends accounting conferences and introduces herself as a CPA and writer — and drops the names of some of these publications — she gets a lot of interest.
How did you find subsequent publications? And how did you pitch them?
A source that she used for her first article in the Journal of Accountancy gave her the name of an editor at Intuit. She contacted him and provided a link to her first article. He asked her to write a couple articles for him. She did this for free to get exposure.
Shortly after, Intuit decided to start paying someone to generate content regularly. She’s been getting paid to write content for them monthly over the last two years. They also pay well.
That editor then introduced her to editors at a couple of other platforms. She started writing for AccountingWEB.
Back in the day, these publications would have had staff writers as well as guest contributors. Today, many of these publications don’t have writing staff, so they need freelance writers to fill that void.
Writing these articles has had a multiplier effect across your business. Tell us more about that
- All of these publications are active on social media. They share her articles on Twitter and LinkedIn, which is free marketing for her.
- Liz shares her articles through her own social media accounts.
- Writing these articles for these publications gives her expert status and credibility.
- Liz uses links to these articles in her own marketing collateral.
- She gets paid to write these articles!
- The articles give her the opportunity to connect with a lot of thought leaders and influencers.
- Sometimes when she writes an article featuring an expert, the expert will hire her to ghostwrite their own articles in a bid to improve their credibility and get their name out.
- As a CPA, Liz has to log a set number of continuing education hours each year. She can use this type of writing to fulfill part of this requirement.
- These articles give her exposure to other publications. Editors of those publications have also reached out to her to write.
- It has allowed her to develop relationships with people that she wouldn’t have connected with before.
This kind of activity takes up about 90% of her marketing.
What steps should people follow if they want to start doing this kind of thing?
- Establish connections with people at trade publications or online publishing platforms This is easier if you have some kind of specialty or industry experience. Start by Googling trade publications for that industry. Industry associations will often have their own trade publications.
- Read issues for the past few months or year
See what kinds of content they publish. Look at things like article length and style.
Try to find “holes” in their content that you can fill. Don’t pitch something that overlaps with an article they ran a couple months ago.
- Look for guidelines on submissions Many don’t want a complete article for your pitch. Most just want a few bullet points that outline your idea.
- Prepare your pitch You might want to have two pitches ready. If they don’t like the first one, they may say yes to the second.
- Include relevant experience or articles
If you’ve written articles that are relevant, include links to those in your pitch. Sometimes seeing an example of your writing will help seal the deal.
If you have relevant experience, include that as well.
The editing/publishing process can vary across publications. With AccountingWEB, her articles are only lightly edited and are usually published within 24 hours.
The Journal of Accountancy, in contrast, is extremely detail orientated. Her last article has gone through 24 versions, and it still hasn’t gone live!
Where can listeners learn more about you?
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