Every week, Sam and I do a live coaching call for our Finishers members. All Finishers are invited and welcome, and we coach them one-to-one (or is it two-to-one?), on whatever it is they need help with.
Often, you can actually see an a-ha moment, a literal shift that’s so powerful, it creates a before-and-after.
It’s those moments that I live for, the reason we do this.
And we got to experience one of those moments just last week when one of our favorite Finishers told us she got on the phone with a company as a customer and ended the call having landed a potential content marketing gig.
I could not contain my delight when she told us about this. (There’s a video of me with the cheesiest of grins!)
Because this isn’t about strategy though, of course, there’s always a lesson in sales involved.
This is a mindset shift. A way of thinking that happens automatically after a certain point. But it only comes with having done the work. And when it happens, you don’t even realize it. (Which is why I love pointing it out.)
When we first started doing these weekly calls a year ago, I wasn’t sure if any Finishers would turn up. Now it’s easily something we all look forward to, not only because everyone gets coached in their specific challenges, but because it provides us with a real sense of community and camaraderie in an otherwise lonely profession.
And if you’re an internationally-minded writer with ambition, I don’t even need to tell you how few people get what you’re all about.
In last week’s call alone, here’s what we discussed:
· A cool pricing technique that makes clients love you on your very first assignment. (This also guarantees you more work at higher-than-average rates.)
· How to price a trial assignment in a way that ensures you never get lowballed.
· If you’ve ever had an assignment go wrong, doing this will ensure the editor is primed to give you another one
· How one writer got on the phone with a company as a customer and left with a potential recurring content marketing gig (she explains how she did it and what she said that got them interested). The simple lesson in her story will change the way you approach and talk to clients
· When clients have been screwed by other writers, you show them how you’re different and better, right? Wrong!
· Why established six-figure writers never quote an hourly rate—despite it being considered industry standard
· A sneaky way to get competitors to tell the truth about a business without endless research and digging
· The questions many writers forget to ask during their reporting that often introduces errors in their copy
· How to structure a business profile in a way that makes the process a LOT shorter (and more fun!)
· The mark of a really great piece and how to write it in a way that provides psychological satisfaction to the reader (for instance, answering a question you’ve just raised gives the reader closure, which provides them with the tiny boost they need to keep reading on, especially in a long-form story)
· Why the headline should be one of the first things you think about in a pitch (and how it actually makes the pitch easier to write)
· What you need to look out for when you’re hiring someone to do research and/or reporting for you (and what to do when things go downhill)
· How to report big controversial stories with many different angles without (1) going crazy, (2) going off-track, and (3) losing sight of the point of your story
· The counter-intuitive way to come up with multiple story ideas and angles from a single piece of research (we came up with several right there on the call!)
· The easy psychological hack that helps a client who’s unsure about hiring you to not only trust you, but pay you well
AND there was more: Why journalists should “think like a traveler” when reporting abroad (and what that means exactly). Recognizing the signs of sabotage when you’re afraid to pitch. How to study great works of literature (without running the risk of plagiarism or accidentally aping their voice). And the simple trick I used that allowed me to get better at writing descriptions in my novels.
By the way, this all went down in one 75-minute call.
We do them weekly.
Subscribe here if you’d like to be a part of it:
See you on the next one?