Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
One of the best ways to generate content writing leads is to offer a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is an incentive that you give to readers and potential clients in exchange for their email address (or other contact info) and permission to send information.
Lead magnets come in all formats including an article, white paper, report, eBook, tip sheet, checklist, guide, resource list, toolkit, video, mini course, download, free trial, or free assessment.
How you package your lead magnet doesn’t matter so much. What does matter is that your content solves the reader’s urgent problem or answers her burning question.
Create a lead magnet to generate content writing leads through prospecting, as an opt-in on your website, in deep links establish yourself as an authority and to extend your reach – or all of the above.
This approach works because people love free. Let me explain further.
Lead magnets are one of the best ways to generate content writing leads for your freelancing business or for your organization. Think about it: you reach out to prospective clients, but the main offer is not your services. It’s a helpful freebie. (Here's how to write a prospecting letter or email.)
In this scenario, your lead magnet becomes an inquiry fulfillment funnel. This is a completely different dynamic compared with the usual “I’m-a-content-writer-and-you-need-me” email. Instead, you initiate your relationship with a prospective client by giving her information that she desperately needs.
Who wouldn’t be intrigued?
The key is to provide a freebie that meets a prospective client’s deep need and do so with quality. Provide an outstanding freebie that the reader shakes her head and thinks, “Wow. That is really useful. I would have paid money for that!” But don’t stop there.
You’ve worked hard to build a quality website or blog and attract visitors. Don’t lose them. Keep them coming back again and again.
To do this, create a helpful lead magnet that appeal to readers who land on your website or blog.
What are they looking for? Answer that question by determining why they found your site in the first place.
Note that they are likely looking for different information than a prospective client.
Create your lead magnet accordingly and address that topic in a freebie to capture these readers in an opt-in before they leave.
You start small with one freebie lead magnet to attract prospective clients. Then you add another freebie opt-in on your website.
Then gradually you create different lead magnets for different areas of your business. Readers continue to opt in and you grow your business. This is a subtle way to gather contacts because you link readers to the opt-in as an inline link in your website or blog text.
For example, let’s say you specialize in writing resumes. You offer resume writing workshops through high schools and colleges. Your website lead magnet targets career planning centers, guidance counselors, and placement office managers.
They download your freebie and you add them to your email list. Soon you’re getting bookings all year long because you continue to cultivate these content writing leads with emails and blog posts and content that’s incredibly useful to them in conducting resume writing workshops.
After a while you’ve got your business established and you’re ready to extend your reach. So you create another lead magnet to target mid-life career changers who write their own resumes. You add that lead magnet to your blog or website as an inline link or download on pages that target mid-life career changers.
Then you create another lead magnet targeting stay-at-home-moms who are returning to the work force and need to write a resume. Again, you add that lead magnet to your website or blog on the pages that target that particular audience.
You’re extending your reach with lead magnets. Pretty nifty, right?
Now what do you do?
News flash – your lead magnet is not a one-off event. It has allowed you to acquire an incredibly valuable asset: a qualified email address. These content writing leads have demonstrated interest in your content by responding to your offer.
Don’t disappoint them! Nurture them.
Once you’ve sent your lead magnet, continue to send high-quality, relevant, useful content with regular email campaigns that link back to your blog or website. (If you don’t have an email list provider, get one. I use Constant Contact. There are plenty of others, too.)
Readers begin to see that you provide useful, relevant, and high-quality information for free. They look forward to receiving your content. Do a good job staying in touch with your content writing leads and continue to give them helpful information. They trust you. They see you as a friend – one with some expertise.
What happens when a reader needs services like those you provide? Or needs advice? Or needs a product that you sell?
They hire you... support your cause ... seek you out.
Because you’ve proven you can offer information they need.
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