Tips for Finding Clients for Life Story Writers and Personal Historians, and More
Derek Lewis ghostwrites business books on a large scale. His client-authors range from IT-startup millionaires to a Turkish oil tycoons and he’s written for people on all continents but Africa and Antarctica. While his business books are created with a different intent and a wider audience than what we personal historians create, we have more in common than you might think. In this episode, Derek shares how to find clients for life story writers and other personal historians, giving us a behind-the-scenes peek at his marketing strategies and how a simple revelation changed everything for him.
How he started his ghostwriting career
One post on a freelancers’ forum kicked off his ghostwriting career. But it wasn’t all rainbows from this point on. Derek spent a lot of time with outbound marketing, casting a wide net to find ghostwriting clients. But all that time and energy reaped…nothing.
Yet the work kept coming. People who wanted a ghostwriter were finding Derek’s website and reaching out to him. It took a long time for Derek to sit up and pay attention. When he did, he realized he’d been asking the wrong question.
Instead of, “Where do I find clients?,” what he needed to ask was, “How can I help clients find me?”
He didn’t need outbound marketing—the stuff we associate with traditional selling, like cold calls, advertisements, email blasts—he needed INBOUND marketing. He needed clients to come to him. And that’s when he started implementing the strategy he uses today.
Make it easy for people to find you.
People are out there Googling and trying to find us; scatter breadcrumbs to help them. Scatter them in different places and make sure they all lead to your hub: your website.
Purpose of the website: it’s not to get someone to hire us, it’s to get them to speak with us. Your website is not your sales conversation, it’s a tool to spur that conversation. Make sure your website has the right content and focus, the markers and signals of credibility and legitimacy.
Attractive and repellent marketing: the yin and yang of your marketing effort
The goal is to use breadcrumbs that will attract potential customers and repel those who aren’t a good fit. (And why you may not want to repel even poor prospects early in your career.)
The two elements of breadcrumbs: the content and the medium or venue.
- white paper
- blog posts
- youtube videos
- speaking engagements (retirement communities, veterans groups, etc)
- local radio or podcast shows
The purpose of breadcrumbs isn’t to get people to hire you. It’s to produce helpful, varied content that you can put onto your website, on YouTube, on social media, or on written literature that gets passed around.
Decide which types of breadcrumbs work best for you
They should be:
- easy and fast to produce
- relatively inexpensive
- enjoyable to work on
Derek likes interviewing and being interviewed—he feels energized. This makes podcasting a pleasant type of breadcrumb for him. Blogging is a different story. After hating it for years, he finally gave himself permission to quit doing it. (Does that mean I don’t have to use social media? Yes? Please??)
We also examine my long-held belief that you should never teach what you sell, and talk about the mentality of abundance versus the mentality of fear.
Where to find Derek Lewis:
Derek on LinkedIn
Check out Derek’s podcast here
And here’s Derek’s book:
If you’re interested in Derek and Ed Gandia’s occasional course for established writers wanting to break into ghostwriting, visit b2blauncher.com
If you enjoyed the show, leave us a review on iTunes. And if you have any ideas to share or questions about this episode, share them in the comments.
Now go out and save someone’s story.