Allison Nazarian’s Advice on Digitally-Savvy Freelance Writing

Through her company Allison Media GroupAllison Nazarian offers copywriting, content creation, social media, blog management, and marketing consulting services. She also shares helpful advice for others in the field through her company blog, which covers everything from marketing to developing a content calendar.

Below, Allison offers insights on social media writing, finding new clients, disclosing rates, and building strong foundations before kicking off important projects.

In what ways is writing for social media channels different from writing for more traditional formats (such as brochures and printed newsletters)?

Allison NazarianIn addition to being so much more conversational, there is an element of direct communication in and on social media. You are speaking directly to people, and in real-time. It is interesting because in some ways there is far less control over the conversation because anything can happen or come up, yet you know exactly when, where and how people are getting your message as opposed to a brochure or other printed piece that you basically never see again once it is let our in the world.

What method or channel have you found to be the most valuable when it comes to acquiring new clients?

I don't know that there is just one, but for me I would have to say social media (Twitter, in particular) and word of mouth. SEO/search engine rankings used to be a bigger source for me, but I think the Internet has just gotten much more crowded and noisy.

How do you determine the rates you charge for your work?

l prefer to charge flat-rate project fees and/or flat monthly retainers for a set scope of ongoing work. I find hourly rates to be self-defeating to the service provider, and of no value to the client... although I will go hourly if a client wants to OR if we are doing consulting calls or engagements. Per-word charges aren't, in my opinion, even worth discussing for a serious marketer/copywriter.

What process do you follow when establishing contracts with clients? Do you have a template you modify? Is there typically a negotiation process, or are documents just signed?

l have a contract/agreement template I have used and revised for years. It is customized by the client and project and it works well for me. I try to keep it as simple yet as specific and anticipatory as possible. My pricing is very fair and based on my extensive experience knowledge of what it takes to do what I do, so I tend not to negotiate nor do I attract negotiators.

Many people (both in marketing and journalism realms) are saying press releases are dead. What are you suggesting clients use as an alternative for conveying important announcements to large audiences?

l don't think they are dead, but they aren't a means of getting the press to notice or call you as they may have been back in the past. To answer the question, I think social media fills a lot of that vacuum and then some. That said, social media does not do all it can do when you employ a "throw everything against the wall and see what sticks" approach. It has to be relevant, engaging, valuable, etc.

What heuristics do you use to determine what sort of tone would be best for a client's unique audience?

l take a lot of time to research on my own and to speak directly with the client and/or their teams. I also use a Marketing Questionnaire I created years ago and it gives me a lot of this info up front. I think this is the difference between a copywriter who knows and understands marketing, and a writer who calls him or herself a copywriter.

Do clients typically reach out to you for help with just one of the many services you offer (e.g. just creation of a press kit), or are you more often contracted to provide multiple services in one go (e.g. website copy development, ghostwriting, and editing)?

Both, really. I prefer long-term, ongoing relationships for both of our sakes, but I have, over the years, worked on many, many one-time projects happily, profitably and, for the client, effectively.