Content Creation, Content Strategy, Content Writing, Freelancing

Did my first client consultation yesterday ๐Ÿ˜€

And it went great!๐ŸŽ‰

So this gentleman sent me a DM asking how can I help him with personal branding on LinkedIn.

What was the actual problem that he was facing?

Wait for my tom’s post to find out๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyhow, I told him that I’ve laid out a simple content creation strategy process in my ebook ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฉ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—œ๐—ป & ๐Ÿฏ๐˜… ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐Ÿฏ ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐˜€ to get over the exact problem he mentioned & asked him to read it.

But he insisted on a 1-on-1 & so we scheduled one yesterday.

I was nervous about it a bit tbh since I hadn’t done any paid consultation before but was confident about my process & strategy.

In the end, he was happy with the session.

He said it really helped him & said if we can schedule another one in about 3-weeks time to review his progress๐Ÿ™†โ€โ™€๏ธ

Huh! The happiness you get when it’s a job well-done is second to none!๐Ÿฅฐโค

If you want to build a trusted personal brand on LinkedIn, then do read my ebook here.

And if you too like my client, can’t wait till you’ve read it & want a 1-on-1 consultation to discuss your exact problem, then DM me right away!

Have a great weekend & keep finding your voiceโœŒ

Content Creation, Content Strategy, Content Writing, Freelancing, Personal Branding

Not sure who’s your ideal client?

Here’s how to find-

– Do a couple of projects from different industries/niches
– Narrow down a few that interest you more
– Further narrow down on the exact industry & skills you enjoy the most
– Find out which companies/individuals need those skills & industry knowledge the most

BOOM๐Ÿ’ฅ

You got it!

Those are your ideal clients.

Feel free to repeat the steps as many times as you feel the need for change.

Works every time๐Ÿค˜

And! If you want your ideal client to find YOU, then read my ebook: ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฉ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—œ๐—ป & ๐Ÿฏ๐˜… ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐Ÿฏ ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐˜€.

It has my tested & proven strategies, techniques & step-by-step process to build a trusted personal brand on LinkedIn & get your desired results.

Click here to get your copy!

In any case, keep finding your voice๐Ÿ˜ŠโœŒโœจ

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Content Creation, Content Writing, Freelancer's Life, Freelancing

Here’s why I shied-away from marketing myself for the longest time!

As an introvert who was deeply passionate about doing something that helps improve people’s lives, I knew I’d found my calling when I chose health and nutrition writing to be my vocation.

But, who knew that the struggle isn’t over yet? yet another challenge, a new one after figuring out my niche๐Ÿ˜›

Because as you’ll agree, though not sure why it took so much time for ME to realize it๐Ÿ™ˆ, that merely having talent isn’t enough, you got to market yourself too! Big time.

What was I even thinking? like the day Pragya figures out her passion, like clients will start raining from the heavens or what ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’ญ

Eventually, I realized that ain’t working for me, I mean I was barely surviving trying to keep my head above the surface just so I can breathe but for how long I could’ve carried on like that anyway๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Most of my clients up until now had been either via inbound leads OR via referrals(yes, I’ve a great set of friends & fellow content writers :)) but that just didn’t cut in terms of my financial goals.

Tbh, I was just struggling. I mean how far can you expect you to go if you just rely on just choosing from what comes your way?

I knew that if I wanted more, I’d to go out there, market myself, promote my services and get the high-quality clients that I knew I deserved.

But the biggest mental blocks that I faced was that:

๐Ÿงก If I reached out to my potential prospects and told them what I’ve to offer them even though I’m not sure whether they need my services or not will be like pushing someone & trying to sell someone something they don’t need

๐Ÿงก I didn’t want to bother anyone with my cold-pitches recalling how the feels I get when someone sends me a LinkedIn connection request & slaps their service promotions right as I accept it (I still don’t like it)

๐Ÿงก The age-old adage that we’ve grown-up feeding on i.e if you’re really good at something, the world will take a note. Took me quite some time to realize that that ain’t totally true. I mean it doesn’t work that way or at least it didn’t for me cause I knew I was good at it but still, clients were always MIA lol. God! how did that happen, so unfair :p

And if you’re an introverted, female business owner, I’m sure you relate to this.

But then while surfing on the net one day I came across Marie Forleo’s YouTube channel & liked her content so much that I binged over her videos! Amongst so many gold nuggets, this one stood out for me & that’s when I started to look at sales in a completely different light๐Ÿ’ก

..and that made the much-needed mindset shift โœจ

Content Creation, Content Writing, Freelancing

How Did I Get My First Big Freelance Project?

Once you can picture what exactly your dream job will look like (unless you already have one), you think “Phew! the hard part is over, now what remains is to CHASE that dream whole-heartedly and that’s it! The rest will follow.” Just to be clear, by ‘rest’, I meant money, name, fame and sorts :p Gosh! Can anyone be so far away from reality? Haha, if only I knew this back then!

Finding my calling

After I decided that content writing and digital marketing is the field that I want to build my career in, I started applying for freelance writing gigs on Upwork, Freelancer, etc. LinkedIn was the only other source that brought me a couple of inbound leads now and then. And when this is all you got, it’s fair enough to say that it’s neither sustainable nor enough to keep you going in your good and bad days. That is when my struggle began.

  • Had I found a work that I found incredibly fulfilling? Yes.
  • Had I started making money out of it? Yes.
  • Did it meet my financial goals? No (not by a long shot).

Realizing the financial gap and unfulfillment

After finding my passion i.e. writing (fortunately something that I could also pick up as a vocation) and doing so for quite some time, I realized that it wasn’t enough or perhaps, the way I was doing it wasn’t enough. I felt unfulfilled and felt I could do so much better than this. This is when I decided to consciously make a shift in working style and focus on getting retainers or rather than doing one-off projects like I had been doing until now.

Changing my work strategy

This difference between what I thought I deserved and what I was actually offered in terms of the project renumeration was huge. This meant, my strategy needed to change. Consequently, my prospecting had to be niche down to match my unique capabilities, and so did my proposals. I now decided to focus on offering my services in a bundled package rather than one-off deliverables and make it reach the individuals/ organizations that can benefit from it. A smooth win-win for both me and my clients!

Ready to crack my first juicy deal

Although, all of it might sound fancy, but reality perhaps was far, far away from imagination. It was a real struggle, still is, but getting your foot inside the door, in other words craking that first juicy deal, is the hardest.

A friend and a referral

Amidst all this, I received a message from one of my writer friends asking if I had an experience in content management roles? Fortunately, I did! So I said yes. Although, in the hearts of hearts I thought, it can be another of those dream bubble leads that will just burst-off before turning to reality. Like it had happened a 1000 times before but whatever, where else had I to go anyways? “Let me just give it a decent shot” I thought. Yep, that’s all I’d in mind. And with that, I just did some research about the prospect, had an initial brief about what they are looking, prepared a proposal based on their needs and sent to them with literally ZERO expectations. Wasn’t expecting much given the series of rejections/ recruiter’s bailing out experiences that I’d almost got habitual to.

The revert

Without much expectations, other than after showcasing all my capabilities, my portfolio that matched to their needs, my due share of follow-ups (almost on the verge felt am I forcing myself or what), it will all go down to dust. Fetch nothing. So when I received the email revert asking some more details on how things will work, I kept calm and answered, elaborating on all the queries like I always did for all the prospects.

Radio- silence

What did I expect? haha! As usual, they too went on radio silence after recieving the proposal. But because I was I, had to be persistent with at least a couple of follow-ups before dropping the lead. First followup, no reply. Second follow-up, this time along with my work portfolio and voila! Got a reply back saying that the founder is figuring out what all roles do they want me to take care of. Didn’t take it too seriously (for the same fear of being ghosted for the 1001th time and getting my heart broken). I simply reverted if I can give a demo or have a walk-through call to explain how do I plan to go about it and how can we make it work while working remotely.

The demo call

I received a revert on it, saying we CAN have a video call to discuss how it will work as I’d proposed in my mail. We had the call and the founder asked their genuine queries, some relevant questions, all of which I addressed patiently. By the end of the call, I’d got a green signal as they confirmed that they want to move ahead with this project with me on a four-month pilot as 120 days will be a good time to see if we’re a natural fit for each-other and based on which they will decide to continue further or not.

Needless to say, for someone looking for one ray of hope, this was total sunshine. Someone had finally shown some positive sentiment although I knew I couldn’t believe it 100% (based on my past expireinces) until I see the advance in my account.

Enabling social media/ admin account access for me

As I was going to be the blog writer and social media manager for the company, all the social media handles were enabled for me so that a smooth working system was established before I start the project. I too got engaged with the company staff in getting things in place and whereever I thought I could help, I did.

The D-day, cause I knew I was worth it!

And finally, the day came when the system was fairly in place, the agreements were signed and thereafter, I saw the first potent amount in my bank account via a freelance project. AH! finally!!! Had been waiting for this moment for so, so long. To get to do the work I love and get the worth I deserve. Get paid, and get paid well for what it’s worth because I knew I’m worth it. And that was it. That one incident brought the spring back in my walk, got the much-needed boost of confidence which for quite some time had only got jilted, bruised, and hurt.

What was my lucky charm?

This is the point when I wish I could just slyly say “…and there was no looking back” but I guess saying that won’t be true. I still have to hustle hard, very much. Although, what I CAN say is that now, I’m much more aware of atleast one proven way that has worked for me time and again in bringing some really good projects my way and i.e. via Referrals.

Even in this case, I believe what actually brought this opportunity my way and got me lucky was that friend, who on understanding that she won’t be able to take up the project, checked with me and sent it my way. To be honest, this hadn’t been the first time that I’d got a client through referral (thanks to my amazing community), but for the first time, I got a project in the capacity and the value I was targeting. And that’s what made this particular project extra special in more ways than one! ๐Ÿ™‚

On a closing note

If you’re still reading, thank you so much for being with me so far. Truly. And if you’re someone who at this point finds himself or herself in the situation I was, I just want to say that I see you and I know that you’re worth it. Never let anyone’s inability to see your worth, make you feel otherwise. Just keep heart, rest if you must but do not quit my friend. Sending lots of love and light your way, take care and be safe.

Content Writing, Freelancing, Health Writing

How To Write A Perfect Guest Post Pitch That Gets Accepted?

4 Tried and tested tips to get your guest post pitch accepted in publication, blog or website.

Ok, so in my last blog, I gave you the strategies on how to get started as a health writer and strategist. The first step towards it is to create some noteworthy samples that show your interest as well as a flair for health writing. In line with the same, in this blog, I’m going to share with you some of my tried and tested processes and tips on how to pitch a guest post for a health blog.

Two points before we begin:

  1. There is no set-process for pitching and as such, there are no guarantees: Yes, it true. So the best way to get it right is to just keep trying and work towards improving it on the way. Meaning, keep trying and as you receive a green signal from a credible blog, see what has worked for you, try to deconstruct that message, explore more in that direction and tweak your future pitches based on that when you pitch again.
  2. The basic concept for guest post pitching remains the same irrespective of the niche: While this blog focuses specifically on the nuances of pitching a guest post in health blogs and magazines, the basic concept of pitching for any niche remains the same. So even if you’re looking for pitching guest posts in any other niche, for instance, cybersecurity, bitcoin, IoT, career strategy etc., even then, the main concept is applicable to all.

Benefits of guest blogging as you’re getting started as a health writer:

  • It will your pilot-project to test out and raise your pitching game: Irrespective of your aiming to get a full-time job as a healthcare writer or become a freelance health writer, you will eventually have to pitch-in for both. Writing a killer resume for the later and nailing the art of communicating and establishing a connection for the later. And pitching, and successfully so, it will definitely sharpen your mind-ax when you go hunting the real deal.
  • It will provide you with a curation of your writing samples i.e. your portfolio as a health writer: As already explained in the opening of this blog, the guest blogs help in putting together a good collection of your first writing samples and preparing a good portfolio which you can then share with your prospects as you approach them or they approach you. Since guests posts are not just a testimony of how well you write but also that your writing does have the power to connect (Afterall, it did connect with the editor of the publication you submitted it for. Also, inevitably making them the first recipient of your interesting blog idea so :))
  • Guest posts give you trusted backlinks: As you might already know, backlinks help in increasing the credibility of not just your writings but also of you as an authority in your domain. Thus, increasing the Google search ranking for you when they search for a good writer in health and wellbeing niche or your blog in the same niche. No doubt, it does take time to reach that level but eventually, if you remain consistent to keep upping your game, then you will reach there. So yes, guest posts are one-heck-of-a-credible-way to get authentic backlinks from trusted websites in health & wellness, life science and medical niches. AND establishing your presence as an authority in the health writing field.

So these were some of the benefits of guest blogging or pitching for guest posts. And now that we have got that out of our way, let’s get started with the cool stuff!

4 Tried and tested tips to get your guest post published in a health blog

Ok, so have a look at the below email pitches for the guest post requests that I’d made to some of the reputed blogs in senior care category (one of the many categories under the broad umbrella of health niche) that got me some positive responses. Then we’ll deconstruct them to find out why they worked to give you a few takeaways that you can implement in your pitches.

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Now, let’s deconstruct the guest blog pitches that worked and got a response!
Ok, so it has taken me a while to get my health blog pitches accepted (after a lot of rejections, gosh!). But finally, I think I did get a few things that if we keep a note of then it significantly increases the chances of your pitch getting a response or getting your pitch accepted. Let’s find out:
1. Be focused on the sub-category you want to target for guest posts in the health niche: Health and wellness is a very big niche with many sub-categories under it, for instance, senior care, medical travel, healthy nutrition and lifestyle, addiction withdrawal and rehabilitation, mental health just to name a few. So even before doing anything just try to find out which particular sub-category would you be interested and comfortable to write in. My suggestion will be to pick the one which is not as explored and written about as yet and is in high demand. Plus, you should also find yourself interested enough to explore it and write about it.
2. Search the blogs, publications and organizations that select guest blogs in your chosen health sub-category: Like any other research, as you’ll enter the health blogs that accept guest posts, you’ll get hundreds of listicles saying ‘100 health blogs that accept guest posts’ or ‘List of 200 health blogs to submit your guest posts’. Now, in my opinion, it’s a total bogus idea to even think to choose that route and even consider blindly pitching to them. It’ll only leave you with your time wasted and your heartbroken. Reason? As I mentioned above health is a fairly wide niche in itself and you just can’t be master of all, it’s practically not possible and without having that clarity, your pitch won’t work.
The editors get hundreds of pitches in their inbox every day so for your pitch to stand out, which will happen only when you’re focused and personalize your message. Unfortunately, going by the listicles route, it’s highly unlikely that personalization would be possible. So rather than going for listicles, a far better approach is to search by sub-category. You can do so by mentioning the category in which you are willing to write a guest post in followed by an addition sign and then typing guest post. As an example, if you want to write in baby care then you need to type ‘baby care+guest post’ in the search bar. So now, the search results that comes up, make a list of it in an excel or Google sheet with the name of the blog, website address and contact email ID.
3. Check the Domain Authority (DA) to finalize your prospect list for guest blog submission: Now once you’ve the list for the blogs and publications that accept guest blogs in the health niche category that you’re targeting, set a daily pitching goal for yourself. For example, I’d selected seniorcare as the category that I wanted to focus on for guest postings so I prepared my list comprising of all the senior care blogs and even some of the organizations in the seniorcare field (senior in-homecare service, seniorcare communities etc). I would then even further narrow down my list by checking the domain authority (DA) of all the websites in my list.
Without getting in too much depth, Domain Authority determines how authoritative and recognized a website is. It is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 with DA of 1-30 is not good, 30-50 is average, 50-60 is good and anything above 60 is excellent. There are various DA checkers available on the web. As for me, I mostly use https://websiteseochecker.com/domain-authority-checker/ to check the DA scores. So this is a must-do step to further narrow down your list so that by the end of this you’ve with you a solid list of credible websites where you can pitch. After all, you don’t want go through all the efforts of pitching and writing a good blog only to find out that it was a total waste of time because the website is not even recognized enough for you to mention it in your portfolio or provide a good backlink to your blog/ website.
4. Reach-out with a personalized pitch: Set the target to pitch to 5 blogs per week. Some might think this number to be too low but for me, with my full-time job and preventing the burn-out that is the number one killer of creativity (which by the way is much needed here), this target was just fine. So as I’d started reaching out, I would surf through each blog to understand their messaging, the topics they publish on and details like that. Ones I got a fair idea about it, I made a list of a few topics that I believed would go with the theme and the type of content that they publish. With that in place, I draft a simple email as seen in the images above. Now, topics may be different for each of your targetted blogs based on its themes, content and style or it could be the same if the said factors are similar.

Dos and Don’ts
A few dos to keep in mind while pitching:
Email subject lines matter, a lot! People, in general, are in a rush (yes, even in quarantine :P, thanks to the decreasing attention span) so show the value that you’ve to offer right in the subject line. For me, most of the time I’m pretty straight forward mentioning ‘guest post’ and then giving away the blog post idea right next to it. Other times, I might put the name of the blog/ organization I’m pitching to followed by the blog post topic.
Keep your pitch-email short and crisp: Again, the same rule of having a busy life and short attention span applies here as well. Don’t bore them by bragging about yourself or telling them what all accolades you’ve got because quite frankly, they won’t care about it. Only one thing can get their attention and that is what benefits you’ve got to offer them or to their readership. So don’t stand or stroll on the fringes. Come straight to the point. If your idea is good and they have the bandwidth, they’ll surely get back to you.
Add the link to your LinkedIn profile and any guest posts that you’ve under your belt: Yep, as you’re heading towards the end of your email, don’t forget to mention those links as that will built your credibility since you’ve provided the editor a window to further get to know you and see your work.

A few don’ts to keep in mind while pitching:
Other than the opposite of all the above, there’s one obvious point that I would definitely advise to NOt do while pitching (not just for health blogs but for any blogs and pitching in general) and i.e. to please don’t sound desperate. Desperation is the number one turn-down and people can tell it from 2 Kms away if someone sounds desperate so please, don’t.

On a closing note
If you’re reading this, thank you for staying with me this far and I hope you’re leaving with a few good takeaways that you can now try out yourself and hopefully, benefit from them. If you found this blog useful, please do let me know. You can also tell me any topic that you would like me to cover related to health writing or freelancing as a health writer. In my next blog, I’m going to talk about how to look-up for the right prospects in your Health and wellness niche and pitch them. Until then, bye!