Pitching clients and editors: October’s freelance update

A girl's silhouette lifts her arms to the night sky

This month saw the publication of my first non-law enforcement, (sort of) non-tech article, a piece of first-person journalism that delved into “Hacking My ADHD.”

It’s sort of a continuation of my blog posts on the subject, a more positive spin on the challenges I’ve experienced, and hopefully — the point of all journalism — a way to get people thinking about how to hack their own productivity challenges.

And, because it was the first “yes” in a sea of “no’s” over the summer, it was the thing that convinced me that journalism should play a bigger role in my business strategy. Not a 100% focus, but certainly a bigger part of my mix. I’ve been busy working on pitches, so look for more articles like this over the next few months.

On a not unrelated note for this month, my Crimes Against Children Conference recaps were also published. Was it overkill to divide a conference recap into two parts? Possibly, but the reason I did it that way was the talk topics themselves. Most got very in depth, and paring them all down to a few sentences each — to hit the word count needed for a single piece — would have missed the point of offering recaps. So:

  • Part I focused on the technology associated with child abuse, both in the present and in the future. I attended some eye-opening presentations on cryptocurrency, virtual / augmented / mixed reality, mobile peer-to-peer investigations, and protecting investigator mental health.
  • Part II focused on multidisciplinary team collaboration, particularly among forensic interviewers, prosecutors, and digital forensic examiners. That part focused on what those team members might need from a forensic examination.

How do I know it wasn’t overkill? Well, as of this writing, Part I received 3,376 views/reads, while Part II received 5,075 — blowing away the argument that people don’t like to read long-form content!

Pitching articles vs. clients

October also pleasantly surprised me by bringing a few marketing prospects my way. Some needed website help; others, help with blogs and newsletters.

It was a little bit of a curveball after a summer in which several promising marketing leads appeared to fall through, and attempts to land new ones fell flat. ADHD doesn’t lend itself well to multiple interpretations, so I found it easy to interpret the “no’s” as the message: “Maybe marketing really isn’t for you.”

Ultimately, though, what all those “no’s” gave me was the space to reorient my approach, leaving more breathing room for journalism while allowing for specific marketing clients; in other words, to recast my thinking away from marketing strategy and back onto very focused projects.

For example, I’ve learned that the client projects I enjoy — and excel at — the most are smaller ones: sole proprietors who need help with conveying their value proposition. Their websites are small stories in themselves: what problems they solve, and how they help their customers solve them. Their blogs or newsletters might get pretty technical about how they do this. 

Keeping things — an article, a website, a white paper — simple, small, and tightly focused seems to be where I excel, a counterpoint perhaps to the constellation of thoughts and ideas in my head. Have a project like this that you could use help with? Contact me!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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