When I first began offering coaching to writer clients, I had copy on my website that said something like, “I offer coaching services for all aspects of writing and publishing.” If a potential client got in touch to ask me what coaching was, I would say something like, “Anything that is outside of a typical edit on a manuscript.”
Hardly anyone ever hired me to coach them.
I thought that “I can help you solve most writing- and publishing-related problems!” was a great marketing strategy. It wasn’t. It didn’t help potential clients visualize why they would ever need coaching.
Then I started listing specific things I could do:
- I can provide feedback on query letters based on my experience as a literary agent and an EIC
- I can show you how to solve plot or characterization problems in the novel you’re writing now
- I can help you get unstuck when you can’t seem to figure out what happens next
- I can interpret rejection letters so that you can understand where your ms is not hitting the mark with agents
- I can review your revision chapter-by-chapter to make sure you’re staying on the right track
Once I started doing this, people hired me! They could see themselves needing the services I was offering. They also began to ask specific questions like, “I can’t figure out how to write a good synopsis. Can you help?” It wasn’t on my list but, yes, I could help. (And then I’d add it to the list.)
Defining exactly what you can do for a potential client should be the first step in your marketing plan.