The Essential Skill Set Most Writers Lack

    skill set

    Every writer dreams of being discovered. Don’t you?

    Whether you write fiction or faction, you want people – lots of people – to read your stuff.

    Maybe you dream of writing a bestseller, or becoming a Top 100 blogger, or writing a script for a box office hit, or landing an article for a top magazine.

    How to get from where you are now to your dream?

    For the slog from novice to master you need two different skill sets: skills as a writer and skills as a marketer

    Why marketing skills are crucial

    Here’s a story. A few weeks ago a blogger emailed me with a pitch for a guest post on my blog Goodlife ZEN. Actually, you could hardly call it a pitch. She just threw an idea at me without telling me about herself, her writing, or what the guest post might be about.

    I emailed back: “If you want to land a guest post, you need to read my article: The Perfect Pitch: How to land a Gig Every Time. Remember that I receive guest post requests every day – so you need to stand out from the crowd by writing a great pitch.”

    She whined back, “Oh, but that’s like marketing my guest post. I don’t like doing that.”

    Yes, well – as you can imagine, she didn’t land a guest post on GLZ…

    The point I’m making is:

    No matter what you write, you need to learn marketing skills to get your stuff in front of readers.

    When writers need to market

    • When you contact a possible agent.
    • When you write to a publisher.
    • When you pitch for a guest post.
    • When you introduce yourself to fellow bloggers.
    • When you ask people to share your stuff on Social Media.
    • When you approach a joint venture partner
    • When you launch a book or a report- even when it’s free.

    As you can see, there are many more occasions when marketing skills come in handy.

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab her latest all new course Blogwriter's Bootcamp 2.0 or a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • An old saying, “If you don’t toot your own horn, [probably] no one else will.” Publishing (traditional, indie, self, etc.) does you very little good until you have a way to enable potential readers to acquire your work.

    • Clarinda says:

      Action requires kndowlege, and now I can act!

    • AH says:

      Marketing is not just about taking money from people for ur product or service. It’s about making that connection with others

    • Congrats Mary on the new site. I love the idea of it as well as the heart behind it. Marketing is exceptionally creative in its nature – its all about cirlces of influence, presence, motivations, needs, desires and satisfactions. I liken a great marketing campagn (for anything or one) to be like a game of chess. Can be simple, hard, tactical or strategic. All methods work, it depends on the pieces left on the board, what you do and how you move them.
      Funnily I’ve been in marketing all my life and I have never considered marketing to be ‘bad’ – but let me qualify that. I don’t agree with a lot of the manipulative tactics now used to solicit advocates and children to product recommmendations as used by some FMCG companies. An absolutely fascinating book on the scary subject is called “Obsessive Branding Disorder’…now that type of marketing made my skin crawl.
      However, the marketing I’m talking about is the true essense of what marketing is about – connecting. The mediums, media and platforms have changed over time, but the fundamentals are that marketing joins a customer with a product/service/idea.
      And to be clear, marketing is not selling. The two are conjoined in the demand cycle, but they are destinctly different in nature. Unfortunately many people now use the word ‘marketing’ to disguise selling, and therefore many people now think the terms are interchangeable. they are far from that.
      Thankfully, the marketing you are talking about in your new site is the pure type….so five gold stars!!

    • David says:

      Mary, when you write, do you feel like your writing flows freely from the start? When I write, there is always this temporary block which lasts a few minutes, then the writing flows. But when I read the articles you have written, I feel a total free-flow of ideas and thoughts. Either you are really gifted or you have worked very hard and have gotten incredibly good at writing, as it really shows, and is enjoyable.

      • Wow! What a wonderful compliment, David.

        I don’t think myself as a specially gifted writer. But I have been writing a heck of a lot in the last three years. Plenty of practice.

        I think the main thing that’s changed in the last 6 months is that I’ve stopped trying to be a ‘good’ writer –
        I just want to connect.

        That’s freeing.

    • This article you’ve written really hits home — writing and marketing. Somehow I have this mental image of writing being all the way at one end, marketing all the way at the other end (I’m holding my hands really far apart for emphasis). I’d almost say that writing is left-brain, and marketing is right-brain! Would you agree? I can relate to that blogger who said “that’s like marketing, I don’t do that,” because after I’ve done lots of writing, there’s just no way I can switch into marketing/business mode. So… here’s what I’ve been doing (because I love to write, and though I don’t love to market, I *need* to market), I’ll do long stretches of writing. No business, no marketing, just writing. Then when my hands can’t write and my fingers can’t type any more, then I switch into business/marketing mode. What’s really neat about that is when I switch into marketing mode, I’ve got a bunch of stuff already written, and oh how satisfying that is!

      • That’s very interesting. I’m not sure I agree with the left brain/right brain idea.

        For me everything is a creative adventure 🙂 I don’t suddenly get all serious and leaden when I go into ‘business mode’. Ugh! That makes me think of stuffed shirts and boardrooms.

        As bloggers, we’re creators. We write, we think, we have ideas, we join with others and have more ideas.

        I don’t really have a hierarchy of creative importance. I’m just as keen to write a good piece than to come up with a business brainwave and put it into practice.

        Really, marketing isn’t about business. It’s about connecting with people. Once you get that, everything changes. Creating with words, and creating with ideas are then close together.

        In fact – your hands meet 🙂

    • Robert Romani says:

      Amazed is too strong of a word…maybe “very surprised” is a better description of how I feel when I don’t see you anywhere asking for money . You are giving nuggets of your wisdom away free to your readers.

      What else can I say but that I appreciate it so very much and thank you very much. Peace.

      • Thanks, Robert. Giving away top stuff for free feels great. We will always do that.

        And in time, we’ll also sell things. We’ll create courses, write books, develop apps, and so on. But the free stream will always continue.

    • Hi Mary,
      Congratulations on your new marketing blog. We are blessed to have someone with your wisdom available to us. I look forward to reading more about it.

      • Thanks, Tess. I did a double-take when I read your comment. It’s not often I hear ‘marketing’ and ‘wisdom’ together 🙂

        It’s been quite an inner struggle for me to find a style of marketing that I can not only live with, but enjoy.

        As you know my offline work is as a Zen Master. It feels a wee bit weird writing a marketing blog from that perspective… But I enjoy blazing trails, and creating a style of marketing that’s based on decency, respect, and generosity is definitely carving fresh tracks in the snow.

    • An old saying, “If you don’t toot your own horn, [probably] no one else will.” Publishing (traditional, indie, self, etc.) does you very little good until you have a way to enable potential readers to acquire your work.

      • I like the way you put it, Bruce. Marketing is really the process of enabling others to enjoy whatever we write.

    • Thanks for the kick in the pants! I think writers like to hide behind our words 🙂 I recently joined a local networking/referall group to market my freelance writing. I still find it hard to stand up and tell the group what I have to offer. But the more you market yourself, the easier it gets. Thanks for the video too!

      • Hey Sally, it’s great that you’ve joined a networking group. Yes, standing behind what we do – and talking about it without boasting – is important.

    • Karen says:

      Even though I have a background in PR, I still sometimes have a problem with marketing myself and my writing, or more specifically, finding effective ways to do it that I am comfortable with. I’ll certainly be checking out the new resource.

      • Yes, I agree with you, Karen. It’s so much easier to market someone else, than market our own stuff.
        That’s why I’m glad that i’ve found a way to market that feels good.

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