In this guest interview, I had the opportunity to connect with Nick Wolny, a successful content marketer and freelance writer about how he pivoted from an education in classical music (he has two music degrees!) to his now successful content marketing business.
Why a Portfolio is Better than a Resume
Nick believes strongly in putting what your passionate about out in the world and letting the work show for itself. Creating an online portfolio has allowed him to create a network for himself, where as he tells in the interview, has led to many job opportunities where he has never even had to apply first for the job!
How He Discovered Digital Marketing and It Opened Up a Whole World of Opportunity
Nick found himself in position where he loved learning about digital marketing and content creation – but not only did he love it, he was able to apply those strategies to lead businesses to a higher ROI.
Nick niched his consulting business by helping business owners discover new prospect opportunities through email and as they say the rest is history.
His Thoughts on Copywriting vs. Content Writing
These two different types of writing are often confused one for the other.
Copywriting is oriented to sales and the job of each sentence in your copy is to get the reader to the next sentence. Content writing on the other hand is educating people on why their problem is a problem and why they should seek a solution.
How Music Taught Him to Be a Better Writer
Having two degrees in classical music, might seem to some to have been a waste of time, but Nick attributes that to actually making him a better writer because it gave him a writing system that he can apply to each project:
1. Writing Fundamentals
2. Writing Repertoire
3. Write to Have Fun
How to Build Your Online Footprint and Pitch Publications
Nick believes in the ladder approach to building your digital footprint and this strategy has led him be featured in Entrepreneur and other huge media publications.
Start with smaller guest posts and outreach and build upon each successful pitch that then will lead to bigger publications and opportunities. When approaching editors, Nick advises first building a relationship with them and then offering to help them. It’s also wise to think of each rejection as building your prospecting ‘muscle’, it is a numbers game and don’t take it too personally if an editor brushes off your pitch.
Lastly, Nick gives these two pieces of advice to new writers:
1. Find your footing
2. Learn different types of writing
Are You Ready to Start Your Freelance Writing Career?
If you are ready to take the next step and launch your freelance writing career, I would love to help you build momentum!
I still have a few spots left in my coaching program, fill out an application to learn more 1/1 coaching.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
All right, Nick. Well, thank you again for being a guest here on inspire your success podcast.
Speaker 2 (00:07):
Hey, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.
Speaker 1 (00:09):
Thank you again for reaching out. Uh, as I mentioned in the intro, uh, we obviously connected through medium, so I’m really glad I got started back on there in January. I took like a year and a half hiatus from that awesome platform, so glad we could connect on there, but, uh, love to go back. Uh, I tease a little bit in the intro about what you’re up to now, but really the big thing with inspire your success is going back to the beginning because so many people see you, uh, you know, in these big magazines doing these media outlets and just doing so much. But I think it’s always great and inspiring for others who are just starting their journey out to know where this all began for you.
Speaker 2 (00:45):
Yeah, I think that a lot of it began from actually realizing, uh, that, uh, what I, what I wanted to do, what I studied in college was not actually what I wanted to do for a living. We were just joking earlier. Uh, my, my background’s in classical music, but I promptly black swanned uh, Alex at the end of that. And uh, you know, that’s, music is a tough industry in that, um, someone only, there’s only a job available when someone retires or dies, you know, like it’s that you’re not going on, uh, onto LinkedIn to look up new job postings and things like that. Right. If you’re trying to play in a professional orchestra or something like that, well all those spots are taken. Um, and so getting out of music school, not feeling like it was a whole lot of creativity to be used there.
Speaker 2 (01:34):
Um, I wasn’t sure what to do next, but through out my career, what has happened over and over again is that me doing my thing on different social media platforms or you know, writing things on certain websites, stuff like that. That is what has ended up being the thing that has opened all these different doors or all these different windows, all of that different stuff. It’s also, you know, I was thinking about it and before this interview, like I’ve never, I’ve never had a job that I applied for. Everything has ended up coming through over the years from people seeing what I was doing online and saying, Hey, have you ever been interested in doing this? Or when it was time to, you know, jump off a sinking ship and you know, a flex my network a little bit and say, Hey, you know, I’m looking for something like this.
Speaker 2 (02:28):
It’s happened more than once where someone says, I’ve seen what you’re doing, I know what you’re doing online. I’d love to connect you to person X, Y, Z. And so I think that there’s really something to be said about putting work out so that, you know, having more of a portfolio approach rather than having this like resume approach or I’ve got this degree, I’ve got this piece of sheepskin on the wall, please hand me a job. Something like that. Um, like it’s, it’s turned out really well. And I think that’s what I’m passionate about helping other people do as well is you know, kind of creating that online portfolio, hesitate to use the word brand I think is the thing that’s like overused a little bit, but you know, just show like show, don’t tell, show what you’re, what you’re capable of and then let people decide how it can apply to them.
Speaker 1 (03:13):
I like that. Yeah. The portfolio approach I’ve never heard of talked about in that sense versus like a a resume and I think that, you know, we’re indoctrinated to go to school, then you get a job, you go through life. And so it’s like for me making the transition from a nine to five to freelancing and like working at home and being my own boss was like the hardest thing for me because I was like fighting against all this old programming, old habits. So were you someone that was in a nine to five and then you decided like, Hey, I really like this writing thing or how did that kind of take off? Because I know a lot of people listening right now, they’re, they’re in a nine to five and they’re just not, they’re not happy about it or they’ve maybe doing a side hustle, but they just don’t really know what to do. So tell us a little bit about your experience there.
Speaker 2 (03:54):
Yeah, yeah, it’s a great question. So after a music school, I did what was probably the most touchy feely complete opposite. Then you can do that. I really got into yoga. Um, I was teaching. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and I ended up, uh, I ended up working in operations and marketing for this, uh, multi location business, uh, that was based here in Houston. And what was awesome about that experience is that it was almost like it was the business school that I had never had. Um, I, uh, ironically I missed my second day at work because I didn’t know how to, uh, look at tabs on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Like I was literally, I was talking about starting from Sub-Zero, right, man. Um, so the zero professional skills at all, but what kind of a learning on the job and being really close and connected with, you know, a product that people are going to buy and you know, if you want to convince people, persuade them to, you know, get a membership instead of just to doing a single class.
Speaker 2 (04:52):
Just those little skills I became important and helpful in developing. When I jumped from that job, uh, I looked at the skill set that I specifically had. Like what from it, from an 80 20 perspective, what was the most valuable thing about what I was doing for the company? And what really happened was the digital marketing pieces, experiments, campaigns that we ran ended up getting like a huge amount of bang for their buck. And the studio owners were not really thinking about that a whole lot. Um, we were talking earlier about how it’s a marketer’s dream, you know, these brick and mortar fitness businesses because they’ll have these sprawling email lists and not do anything about it. You know, we had an email list of about who’s about 60,000 people, which is, you know, which is bonkers. Yeah. Right. Like talk about having fun with that.
Speaker 2 (05:48):
Um, and just from six or seven or eight years of all these different waivers, all these different people coming onto a list and all of that stuff. And so by just introducing the most basic digital marketing strategies that I was learning about online, it was learning about, you know, from people like you sharing their knowledge online. Um, what ended up happening from that is that we were able to pull back in so much money. We were able to automate so many things and connect with people, um, in email, which is, you know, still one of the best outlets. Email gets a bad rap. It really is when it comes to ROI, one of those most powerful outlets. Um, so it was cool, it was cool to identify that and that was something that people needed and could be directly connected to helping the business make more money.
Speaker 2 (06:37):
I think that was key when I jumped offering that same service and this very, very tight niche. Uh, when it worked, it was about connecting it to the ROI, right? And that’s what any business owner, especially if someone is a brick and mortar business owner and you know, I was paying for a roof over a lot of people’s heads and a payroll, that’s what they’re going to be listening for is ROI, ROI. How am I going to make this money back and more? Um, so to jump into that, I think a big piece of it was rather than feeling like I had to completely reinvent the wheel about what my consulting was going to be, just taking the majority of my skill set or an element of my skillset that was producing the biggest bang for my buck and offering that in a consultant capacity to a suite of different clients, um, ended up shifting gears and allowing me to work for myself. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (07:28):
Yeah. So many knowledge bombs right there. I want people to like go back and listen to that because I think what you said too about niching down is so important. So many people just want to start and help everyone do everything. That was something I struggled with. Um, but then yeah, I mean if you, you have like so many skills I, and not just you. I mean like so many people listening that have skills where they just discount them cause they think everyone knows this stuff. But you probably went to that yoga client and told them, you know, Hey, let’s do this. And then all of a sudden you get wind backs and you get people signing up and all these upsells and they think of you just like this genius. Right? And so it’s like there’s so much opportunity out there with brick and mortar.
Speaker 1 (08:04):
Sue, I’m you, my dad runs a very successful business, doesn’t know how to use the internet. And I mean, it’s just crazy. Crazy to me what is out there. So I think that hopefully it’s something that people can take from your story is that you have a lot of skills that people will pay for, but you have to get yourself out there. So I think that’s really cool that you talked about that. And then we also talked a little bit before you were doing some copywriting, some content writing. Can you talk about the difference between that? That’s something that I get a lot of and like what you would recommend to people that are just starting out as is copywriting seems to be, I get Facebook ads for it all the time. And you know, everyone was talking about copywriting, copywriting. Um, personally I’ve done mostly content writing, so I’d love to know a little bit about what your experience has been with both.
Speaker 2 (08:46):
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll also say even before we dive into that, um, when people are looking to work for themselves, there are so many businesses out there who just want to outsource something. Um, so I know that in online marketing and an online business, there’s lots of very sexy, you know, information products. And here’s my evergreen funnel. For my course and you’re never actually gonna speak to me, but give me your money kind of thing. Like if you’re just looking to get your feet wet, I’m done for you. Service is actually is the fastest way to do it, right? Cause you don’t have to build anything. You can just customize it, you can iterate it rapidly. Um, and so that’s, you know, that’s something that’s important to remember. Yeah, exactly. So how I think of the difference between copywriting and content writing is that copywriting is oriented to sales in some way.
Speaker 2 (09:36):
It’s very direct, right? It is in the realm of direct response marketing. We were looking for effectiveness. Um, there’s, gosh, I can’t think of uh, whose quote it is right now, but there’s a famous saying in copywriting that the job of each sentence is just to get to the reader, the reader to the next sentence. Right? Um, so it’s, it’s very, very tactical specific. You are using distinct psychological triggers in order to get people to continue reading the page and to go further and further down the page. Uh, you’re using tools like urgency. Why should someone take action now instead of later? You’re using, uh, tools like scarcity, uh, you know, how can you create this experience in which there are only a limited number left, uh, and how to do that authentically. You know, not using fake scarcity, but I mean in genuinely have some component of scarcity to it.
Speaker 2 (10:30):
And these other components, you are, uh, you’re messing with people’s brains more with copywriting, right? You want to, you’re suspending, um, their, uh, you’re suspending their logical brain and you’re having emotion takeover. Good copywriting makes people act on emotion, but it also has logic in the pictures so that the end buyer can justify with logic. So I think that’s something than combining right brain left brain to get people to, to take action. It’s not just like, Oh, that was great information. You’re, you’re, they got them to do something acting on emotion, but justifying it with logic. And then content writing is, it goes back to that know, like trust process, right? The more and more people are looking for some sort of content experience to educate them. Um, what also comes up a lot with content marketing in general is that people need to be educated on why their problem is a problem and why they should seek a solution.
Speaker 2 (11:25):
Now, um, you’ve got, you know, in sales, you’ve got her sales page writing for example. You’ve got three different audiences. You’ve got, uh, you know, the informed which are people, those are the easiest people to sell. They know they have a problem and they know what the solution is. Uh, then you’ve got people who are afflicted. Uh, these people know they have a problem, but they don’t know that there’s a solution out there that sucks, right? Where people like they’re just in pain all the time. Then you have a third category, you have to be oblivious. And these people, it’s the, it’s the hardest audience to sell, but it’s also the biggest, and it’s people that don’t know they have a problem. Uh, and so they obviously aren’t looking for a solution cause they don’t even know they have a problem. So part of the job with content is to be educating people and helping to highlight that, you know, they have a problem and it doesn’t have to be this crazy agonizing knife, twist copies situation. It can just be, you know, you’re educating people, you’re giving them the information that they need, uh, and you’re helping them to identify that, you know, perhaps there’s a problem. Uh, and perhaps they should start seeking a solution to that problem. They’re not educated, then you’re not going to be able to play to that problem, solution dynamic. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (12:38):
Yeah. No, that’s great. I think that’s a really good description of both and both are really needed in today’s world. I think everyone goes straight to copywriting, but you know, a lot of times the content writing, I do that for several companies as well, and they just need to get that know, like, and trust out there. And then the copywriting goes after that. So yeah, I think that’s really, really important. And I’m curious how, again, you went from studying music to understanding persuasion influenced to copywriting. I mean, I think that hopefully will show people that like you didn’t grow up in this like some, uh, atmosphere that just taught you all this stuff and you didn’t go to college for it. So how did you actually learn some of this stuff on your own and how can other people,
Speaker 2 (13:15):
yeah. Um, I totally hear that. You know, I’m not just one degree in music. I have to, so I got one and then I decided let’s go back and get another one. Um, but I think, you know, after many years of thinking that that was a terrible career decision, uh, now in my writing career, it’s actually the best decision. It’s one of the best decisions I could’ve made. Because when you study a craft at a high level, you learn how to be systematic with your approach. Right? So, uh, so for me, for music school, I went to a conservatory, I went to a top conservatory. It was very, very exciting. This, uh, teacher of mine had a very patented system, get a three prong system for how people would get better at, uh, French horn was the instrument that I played. Um, he would have a session called nuts and bolts.
Speaker 2 (14:09):
Uh, so if you’re splitting up, you’re practicing, right? You’re practicing and a three sessions a day, you would have a session called nuts and bolts, which is just your fundamentals. Like how are you improving the fundamentals each day? So for me, taking that concept and applying it to writing my fundamentals, my nuts and bolts might be things like headline writing, um, reading up about sales pages, reading up about nurture sequences, content writing, uh, stalking people like you on media, right? And reaching out and, you know, prospecting, not for sales, but just prospecting to build relationships and build a network. Um, those are all, those are fundamentals. And you can create a system where you’re, you’re systematically getting better at that. Um, then you’ve got a second session, you’ve got repertoire, and that’s all the stuff that you’re responsible for, right? So as a musician, it’s your solos, it’s your recitals, it’s your orchestra, music, whatever we’re writing.
Speaker 2 (15:02):
This is, you know, you’re writing a ton about golf, you’re writing for many different clients, all of this stuff. At the end of the day, you’ve got to devote some time to, you know, fulfilling on the responsibilities that you’ve taken before. But a lot of people will only do that and then they will never get better. And they’ll also start to get kind of resentful. Um, and then that actually goes into the third session that my teacher would teach us. It’s kind of an unorthodox session. Uh, it was called the fun session. And so his approach was, you know, you need to spend at least one session a day having fun while working on and mastering your craft. Otherwise you’re going to become resentful with that. Right? And so this boy, I know some pretty stupid, not useful stuff that you can play on the French horn. Do you need a any lady goddess on any key?
Speaker 2 (15:57):
If you need any, you know, Indiana Jones backwards and forwards. I’ve got you covered. And so, but it’s like creating that fun, that sort of, that lightness and that frivolity, it’s actually gonna help stave off resentment. It’s going to help you keep your fire burning bright. And um, I think that having that system in place, like being entrenched in that system when it was time to start creating content and in some cases creating a lot of content for other people in other industries that I may not be too familiar with. Um, you know, having that structure is what kind of helps get things off the ground. And it’s also the structure that helps me continue to improve. Um, because if you, if you get stuck, especially with something like writing, you’re always working on getting better, tighter, cleaner, faster at writing so that if you have to pump out a thousand word article for someone, it’s not this half day excursion.
Speaker 2 (16:57):
You know, you actually want to become more facile as a writer that’s going to help you grow your business or your side hustle as well. Um, so having, having a system, thinking of it as a craft, right? Like how would a craftsperson get better? How would, how would a woodworker get better at their craft? How would a dancer get better at their craft? And taking that same skillset or that approach, that system, and then applying it to writing or whatever your other medium is, I think is a really key piece of the puzzle to not get burnt out.
Speaker 1 (17:27):
Yeah, that’s incredible. I love that you brought up the third prong for me, the resentful and having fun really, that really hit home for me because I was probably about a year into my writing and I hated it. I hated my clients that I was working with. I hated my niche. I was so tired. Writing 4,000 word Roth IRA blog posts wasn’t having any fun. And that’s actually, I love medium. Medium is kind of like my fun zone and the same thing happened with golf. Uh, I would go and I just wouldn’t play good and I started to like forgot why I started this whole thing. So I’m glad you brought that up because you should always still have a component of fun. I mean you should, if you want to really scale your income, I feel like you need to constantly, like you said, get better, learn new skills, get around to people, get your processes down. But yeah, that’s a nice a like thing that most people just kinda forget about is like, Hey, you should have fun too. Like this entrepreneurship thing and writing or whatever craft. Even if you’re making YouTube videos, it should still be fun because that’s when you tap into that. I feel like that’s really when your, your greatness comes out.
Speaker 2 (18:28):
Yeah. And it’s, even if there was, you know, our teacher recommended, if you only had time to do one of the three practice sessions, maybe you were traveling or you know, you were hung over, whatever, um, you know, only do the fun session. Um, you know, of those three, like it’s actually the highest priority, um, because it just gets you back in the sandbox. Um, it gets you playing again. And, um, you know, when it comes to, uh, when it comes to pursuing a craft of some kind of, it can be a lonely road. So, um, you know, keeping it light and staying inspired is a really key piece of the puzzle.
Speaker 1 (19:06):
Oh man, there’s so much great stuff there. So thank you for, for sharing that, uh, that approach. I think people can definitely use that for copywriting, content, writing, any, anything there, regardless of if they had the background or not. And that’s the cool thing I always like to talk about. I was like, I didn’t have any writing experience. I mean, my old books and blogs, I can’t even read them. They’re so bad. Right. But I had to start somewhere. Yeah. And same with YouTube videos I’ve made in podcasts, but that’s the thing I want people to like learn from this. It’s just you have to get started. Like no one is going to be great the first time they do anything. I mean, I was terrible at golf for 10 years, but I just was stubborn and I just kept going. So I love that you talk about that.
Speaker 1 (19:43):
So just to pivot a little bit, because we talked about copy content, uh, I want to go to where you were talking about earlier before the call because you have been featured in massive publications all over. I am like, I got some serious like writer, jealousy, envy over here cause Ivy you are in some of my favorite magazines, publications. You’ve, you’ve done media, which I do want to get into. But um, one thing I always tell all my writing students and clients is that yeah, you should work on getting by-lines right. I mean for me like that was fearless motivation was like the first one. And I probably publish a hundred blog posts over there. And then gold cast and similar things in the personal development industry. And I know for you you’ve been in success and men’s health and all kinds of stuff, entrepreneur. So talk a little bit about why people should strive for those. And then can you also talk about like, is it something you do for money or really just getting your name out there?
Speaker 2 (20:34):
Yeah, great questions. Um, so with media, the advantage, uh, we’re talking specifically about earned media, right? So kind of in the whole realm of marketing, you’ve got owned media, which is creating your own awesome podcasts, YouTube episodes, all this stuff. You’ve got paid media when you’re throwing money behind advertisements. And then you’ve got this other category called earned media. Earned media is the most trustworthy bucket by far. Um, and it’s other people talking about you. Uh, and it can be a double edged sword, right? Like we were talking about Yelp earlier, so you know, like a one star review is earned media. Unfortunately, it’s very credible in a persuades people. Um, so the thing with, with getting into media and just kind of getting started with it, you know, like a couple of my placements have been paid opportunities, but the majority of them are not.
Speaker 2 (21:28):
It’s about building a digital footprint, an online footprint, so that, you know, when you do have someone that is considering you or something like that, what are they likely going to do? They’re likely going to Google your name, they’re going to copy paste your name, they’re going to type it into Google and they’re going to see what comes up. Um, so if you’re trying to pitch yourself, um, you know, potentially take someone’s money in exchange for some words on a page or whatever you’re, whatever you’re offering is, um, having that digital footprint, um, helps people determine from their own research and vetting that you are legitimate, right? That you, uh, you have been endorsed. You have the endorsement of some of these other brands, some of these brands that we grew up being around, right? Like we had men’s health in the house when I was a kid.
Speaker 2 (22:17):
We had good housekeeping in the house when I was a kid. People just grow up with some of these brands. Um, and I think that that’s a big piece of the puzzle is people want to figure out if they can trust you, especially if you’re getting started, um, in something new or you’re fairly new in whatever your a side hustle is. Whatever your craft is, you’re not going to have those experience, uh, markers that other people have. You can’t say have helped over 3000 clients with my online course. You know, you can’t say that at the beginning. Um, so there’s other ways to go about it. And one of the best ones that is also household names is by using media, by using public relations to be able to do that. Um, and one of the biggest things that I’ve learned with media is that media begets more media.
Speaker 2 (23:09):
So what will come up often is people will say, well, I’m a premium brand. You know, I’m luxury, so I’m, I can only be an Oprah magazine. I can only be in the wall street journal, right? Like, Oh, I’m a luxury brand. Um, media is a ladder, so you need to work on getting smaller placements and even guests posts some things like that. It doesn’t matter if the site is niche, it doesn’t matter if it’s someone’s blog. Um, every little bit matters. And what that says to media at higher and higher tiers is that you understand the process. Other smaller outlets have already endorsed you. They don’t need to go through any kind of, you know, vetting process like, is this person legitimate? Um, should I be featuring that person and the FOMO that you experienced, you know, and kind of research researching me a little bit. Media also experienced that as well. You know, they go to look and see, look at a pitch, look at an expert and they go to Google you and there’s pages and pages of by-lines and things like that. They’re like, okay, we need to hurry up and feature this person before they, you know, before they don’t become available anymore. Because clearly what they have to talk about is who’s going to be really, really helpful.
Speaker 1 (24:24):
Yeah, that’s, that’s great. I think that, like you said, that know like, and trust master factor is just so, so big. And that’s like the biggest thing I’ve learned from, from my few years of entrepreneurship is just having that out there. So, so people can get comfortable and familiar. So if someone’s listening to this and maybe they’re just starting writing and they’re, they’re doing some guest posts, things like that. Also like how you talked about it’s a ladder, cause I’ve had another mentor of mine talk about that as well. It’s like you go from tier one and then tier two and tier three and like, like you said, some of those outlets create that FOMO within each other. So I’m really glad you said that cause I’ve heard that several times now. But for someone that’s like just starting out and they’re like, man, I really want to get featured in success magazine or entrepreneur or somewhere like that, where would they start? Is it like, do I need to get, like you said, it’s a ladder. Do I need to start at down here? And then once I have X, Y, Z published, then I can pitch that? Or how would someone go about that?
Speaker 2 (25:17):
I think if you have a great idea, if you have a great pitch, you can pitch almost anywhere. Um, definitely it’s like flattened quite a bit more. Um, that said, it definitely helps when you’ve got some notches under your belt. Um, this question comes up a lot. It’s how do I look for, how do I find the outlets? Um, that I want to potentially be in. And I think a really good approach is that follow the leader approach where you take a writer that you like, um, or you take an article that you like and you look up the person who wrote that article and you just start to see what other outlets that they have been in and what kinds of things that they’ve been talking about. A lot of people don’t realize on a Google search, you know, how you can filter like images or videos or things like that.
Speaker 2 (26:06):
There’s also a filter for news. Um, so you can just, you can just filter, uh, and see what, you know, for a certain, it could be a certain influencer or thought leader. It could also be for a certain topic. Okay, you want to talk about productivity, uh, of feeding your dog. Great. Knock yourself out. Like, let’s see who is, who on earth is covering that and how it’s getting spun so that it ends up getting featured. Right. And so I think that’s kind of a good way to, one, see what media are being drawn to, what they are featuring, what they’re attracted to. And then two, it also helps you to identify potential outlets that you know might actually be a really, really good fit for you. Um, sometimes, uh, getting a guest post in a really, really niche placement is more beneficial than being in something really, really broad, right?
Speaker 2 (26:59):
Like we have, um, uh, we have a client who is a lawyer for entrepreneurs. She has a, uh, a monthly retainer. She has like an online program that is legal services for, you know, entrepreneurs and small business owners. So yeah, she can get, uh, you know, one sentence quote in a, you know, a round up with a hundred other experts. Um, but she’ll probably get more bang for buck if she goes to some of these big entrepreneur brands and she offers to write a guest post for your charge. Um, you know, another question that comes up a lot is how do I find the person to contact, right?
Speaker 2 (27:37):
I identified who I want, like what outlet I want to be in, identify that stuff. A lot of sites will have the information on their contact us page. Um, so that’s one place you can start. Uh, something else that I would recommend is if there is a particular writer at an outlet and you like their writing, um, then find the one social media and them and start to build a relationship. Um, you can do that with editors. You can do that with producers. You can do that with writers. Okay. You want to be an inc magazine, you can Google ink magazine editor right now and you know, you can just at least starting from there see like, okay, who are the editors, who are the people that I’m targeting, who are the actual people that are going to end up being those gatekeepers if and when I get to the point where I’m going to pitch them.
Speaker 2 (28:26):
Right. Um, and then in terms of finding a specific email address, you know, it’s actually like, don’t let it stop you. It’s usually not that difficult to find someone’s email address, especially if they’re at like a higher, higher up publication. Um, often again, the contact us page of a website will, if they accept pitches, it’s going to tell you exactly how to pitch them. And so my recommend recommendation is to follow those rules to the T. um, and then more and more media take pitches through, through DMS. You know, you slide in their DMS, you’re just like, Hey, what’s up? You know, um, I had an idea I wanted to shoot it your way. Um, or even my favorite is, Hey, we’d love to, we’d love to help you guys this quarter. Um, are there any particular topics that you’re looking at covering? Um, that way?
Speaker 2 (29:16):
Like, it’s not about me. I’m like, I’m a shy pitcher honestly. So it’s not, it’s not about me. It’s about helping them first, um, and seeing if they’re going to say, you know, Hey, we’re really talking about webinars a lot in entrepreneur this month. Well then that actually informs my pitch and it’s just a few extra brownie points to say, okay, I’m going to write a piece on webinars. I’m going to write a piece that connects to that. And you know, it shows them that you’re listening and that you’re paying attention. And in a world where so many people will just pitch themselves like I’m sure you’ve gotten it, you’ve probably gotten seven LinkedIn private messages since we’ve been on the phone right now. Right. I’ve just, you know, those, those stock pitches that Nope, haven’t taken the time to customize. Um, and you know, media see right through that and potential clients see, right, you’re at two. So a customization can go along the way.
Speaker 1 (30:06):
Yeah, no, I, I completely agree with that. And I mean I’ve found that even when I was pitching, you know, in the beginning of my writing journey and getting clients, and I tell that to all my students, like customize those pitches. Like show them how you can help. Cause it’s not about you. It’s about how you can help their brand, their business and you then get the money or the byline or the the publication or whatever and that that’s the point. But I like that you said that too. I hope people are listening and understand that it’s not just like, Oh I’m going to go throw this pitch out there. It’s a process like build relationships. There’s no one way to do it. DMO, email them, follow them on social media. I just like all those solutions. I hope people hear that because everyone wants the Amazon fix for everything and I’m guilty of that as well sometimes. But I think that if you just play the long game, you’re always going to win. So one thing, one thing I hear with that too, those people get real scared of pitching new clients, outlets, things like that. A rejection. I personally, I didn’t have time to deal with that because my blog was failing so much that if I didn’t make money I was going to have to crawl back to a nine to five. So what do you tell people that are like worried about rejection out there?
Speaker 2 (31:12):
I think it goes back to, you know how, think like a salesperson, right? Um, like the good news is that pitching and prospecting are a very similar muscle, right? Um, so the worst thing that can happen is they say no or they don’t respond and you just, you move on. Some editors at top publications, they’ll get several hundred emails a day. It’s not because they don’t like you, it’s just that they have 750 pitches in their inbox because they were in meetings from 10 to four, you know, so it could be that like it’s not necessarily reflection on you. And I think that also it’s a muscle that grows with time, right? If you think in like, uh, like the days of sales calls, cold calling, like in the people would get into the office and it would be a race to see who could get to a hundred, knows the fastest first person do a hundred nos gets a prize.
Speaker 2 (32:03):
You know, and it’s just with sales. I think looking to good sales people is a great way to start to overcome that fear. Great people, great salespeople know that it’s a numbers game, right? That at the end of the day you’re going to get, you’re going to get nos, you’re going to get more nos than yes. And um, if you know that what you have is compelling, um, if you know how to write an article and you feel like it’s going to be a good article, you just need to shop that around and look for different outlets. Um, you know, until someone says yes. Uh, so I think that that’s if you’re, if you’re dotting your I’s and you’re crossing your with, you know, CRE again, like we just talked about, not doing something that’s stock, uh, not doing something that is just cookie cutter, making it specific, showing that you’re thinking about the other person, uh, you’re thinking about the situation that they’re in. If you’re going to pitch something like a television segment, make it as easy as possible for them to say yes. Like, here’s my information, here’s the link to all this studies and statistics so you don’t have to track it down. I’ve already done it for you. Just make it very friction-free and make it easy for them to say yes
Speaker 1 (33:15):
- Now we have so much in common, I just preach that all the time. I just constantly say, I’m like, make it easy for people to say yes. I mean people are busy like he said, and I think that’s a good perspective to people really personalize it and think like, Oh, I’m not good or they didn’t like my work. And like, all these, all this chatter comes up and our mind tries to protect us. And it’s like, maybe they just were out sick. Maybe they didn’t see your end, but I mean, maybe it went to like one of their nine inboxes and they didn’t see it. So, yeah, I think that’s really good.
Speaker 2 (33:41):
Yeah. I think it’s like w it’s also even addition to the quality. It’s like, leave it with a closed ended question, right? Leave it with a simple, like, all they have to do is say yes. Um, I think saying, I think typing something like, what do you need help with is kind of a shot in the foot, right? Cause then people have to stop. They’re like, wait, no, what do I need help with? Well, uh, I don’t really have time to respond right now, but make it completely simple. You know, like, Hey Michael, I know you have a podcast. I’ve created five videos for you. I’m like, just syndicating some past episodes. You can just have them for free. Let me know if you’d like some more, some time. I just think it’s so easy to say yes. Um, and I think that that combined with being custom and showing the, showing the recipient that you’ve done your homework, that’s gonna make a huge difference.
Speaker 1 (34:31):
Love it. No, that was, that was so good. And I know we’re running out of time here. I could talk to you all day. You’ve had so much great stuff for the audience, but um, would love to get any other, uh, you know, new advice that you would have for writers. I think so many people are looking for outlets online and, and I talked to so many people that are just like, I don’t know where to start or a am. Am I good enough? All this stuff. Is there anything you, you know, you’ve been at this five, six years now, so if you had any other just one liners or just pieces of advice that you think would really help people get in the action mode and get off the sidelines.
Speaker 2 (35:04):
Yeah. I think two things come up. Number one is as you’re finding your footing, this is why I love medium. Um, write about lots of different things and see not only what develops traction, uh, but also what you like writing about and what comes easily to you. Um, for me, especially lately, I write a lot about marketing cause it just comes easier to me then than some other stuff. You know, I’ve tried writing my productivity before. Um, but I am grind sloppy sometimes. So you know, it doesn’t come quite
Speaker 1 (35:38):
as easy when you’re writing about productivity and you’re not being productive. So distracted. Yeah. I just, I sit in there. Yeah. So it’s, so I think that’s number one. I think
Speaker 2 (35:47):
people try to niche, uh, too early in the creative process, right? Like you’re trying to find this super tight niche. This when I was doing digital marketing for multi location yoga studios, I ended up having to broaden, um, after about a year because that is too tight of a niche. There are not that many mom and pop owned multi location fitness boutiques, you know, in the country. So after a while I had to start broadening out. That’s actually how I ended up in the, in the, um, with a full time client that I have now is, uh, I just like, I had to broaden it and find other things to talk about and to discuss. And so I think, uh, niching is a smart business decision when it comes to your creative process. You might need to explore writing about different things in order to find your groove, um, in order to just write a lot and get your writing muscles really warmed up and to get them big and strong, um, and to see what works well.
Speaker 2 (36:46):
Um, so that’s number one. And then number two is I think reading about different kinds of writings. So I talked before about like writing sales pages, writing headlines, writing, uh, by-lines, you know, all of that kind of stuff. You know, what’s, how would you structure writing a 500 word article versus writing a 2,500 word article? Um, why do book authors hire book coaches? Why do you know, what does that look like? So just learning about some of the different scopes of, of writing, I think that will help identify, uh, what you, what kind of writing you want to be doing. Some people, or many people as you’ve seen from the Facebook ads, just want to do copywriting, right? It’s lucrative. It’s always needed. Who doesn’t need messaging that makes money. Um, and so that might be your jam. Um, but for other people, uh, you know, there’s also industries where content writings, something that’s a little bit more fleshed out, something that is not so, uh, muscular and intense 100% of the time, that’s actually more interesting to them. So I think one is writing about different topics to just exploring the different kinds of writing that are out there and what you like doing the most and the biggest factors.
Speaker 1 (38:02):
Incredible. And before I asked the, uh, the last question, uh, what are some of the best places people can connect with you and follow and read your stuff or watch your videos?
Speaker 2 (38:11):
Yeah. Um, so I, right now I’m focused on medium. Um, so you can find me on medium if you’re not on there. Uh, my username is just my name first. And last, um, my email if you want to get in touch with me for anything is [email protected] Um, I am very old school. You can just email me personally. You don’t need to worry about being on my newsletter and getting and you know, an automated sequence about how I grew up on a farm or whatever. Um, you know, you can have it be just, you know, just a conversation I’d love to get in touch. Um, and uh, what I’m also working on a lot this year is building, um, building some content on entrepreneurs. So if you go on entrepreneur.com, um, I’ve got some stuff on there and I’m working on pumping some stuff out there. So any of those places I’d love to be in touch.
Speaker 1 (39:00):
Right. Yeah. And I just want to say thank you again for the last question just because you’ve taught me a lot just from our 45 minutes together and just be really understanding the power of relationships. Do I think that’s something for a while I was just in such a transactional mode with, with clients and things like that just cause I was like, I really need to like make some money here guys. And so, um, you know, now I’m in a very different spot so hopefully people can learn that, uh, relationships are huge in writing in any, any business or career. So thank you for helping with that. And for the last question, uh, what do you think is a, the number one belief that a successful writer needs to have to, to really make it online?
Speaker 2 (39:38):
Ooh, is a great question. I think, I think the biggest piece of the puzzle is keeping the locus of control within yourself. Um, so what I mean by that is not getting, uh, not getting too caught up in your metrics, in your responses. It’s like if you get into a situation where you have some constructive criticism or some commentary or things like that, um, you know, a small slice of your attention can go to that later. But for the vast, vast, vast majority of people writing a lot and optimizing for writing a lot is going to give you much more information about what works and what doesn’t. Uh, and what’s more likely to go viral. Secure clients sell more on your sales page, whatever that is. Very few people are at. I think that kind of writing volume. Uh, and so I would say like the number one habit of successful writers is that they write a ton. Um, and so if you want that start writing more than you think you should, um, write twice as much as you think you should. Um, and you’ll just see that musculature start to improve over time.
Speaker 1 (40:57):
Love it. Is there any like mindset or belief that you feel like they need to have? Is it like just an unwilling belief to not give up or that they can make it, is there something that you kind of clung to in the beginning years when you were probably like, eh, is this thing going to work or is there any, any sort of mindset DCF?
Speaker 2 (41:14):
Yeah, it’s just about getting better. And it just goes back to like, I’m, I lucked out. Right? And going to music school where it was just about the only thing you can do is practice to get better. Uh, and so I think if that is at the core of your writing journey, um, that mindset and that outlook that
Speaker 1 (41:34):
you’re going to go very far. Great. Well, Nick, thank you so much again for being on inspire your success podcast. You inspired me to just stop what I’m doing and work on creating more relationships and, uh, really build my brand even more. So, thank you so much again for sharing an hour with us today. Thanks so much for having me. Okay.
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- Episode 108 – From Dream Job at Google to Full-Time Medium Writer - July 9, 2020