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Marketing for Brand Newbies

Hi, I’m Lisa Kosan. I’m a freelance writer with a passion for nonprofits and the arts.

My clients say I’m a great storyteller.

I listen.

We have fun, relaxed interviews.

I get it right.

I help tell your stories and share your news.

And you get what you need. On time. Stress free.

Binder Clip Editorial. Where writing comes together.

That’s my elevator speech, or “cocktail napkin” — a succinct description of my business that can be told on an elevator ride or while juggling a Cosmo and a plate of shrimp at a cocktail party.

It has to convey enough about my work and, I believe, my personality, to entice a potential client to ask more.

Pivot | Publish | Prosper

I was at the grand Roosevelt Hotel at 8 yesterday morning for the ASJA’s 2017 Writers Conference: Pivot | Publish | Prosper. My fellow panelists for “Shaping a Brand for Journalists and Writing Consultants” were Joan Price (an advocate for ageless sexuality), Jennifer Gaie Hellum (journalist and personal branding consultant) and moderator Rae Padilla Francoeur (author and principle of New Arts Collaborative).

ASJA Writers Conference NYC 2017. Lisa Kosan, Jennifer Gaie Hellum, Joan Price, Rae Francoeur (not shown)

Developing a brand helps you define who you are, what you do and why someone should hire you instead of someone else. Your brand helps you draw lines and decide which jobs to accept to grow your business. It clearly communicates your personality and style – traditional, conservative, sassy, anti-establishment – in every social media footprint, piece of printed material or presentation you give. You need to be consistent in your message, the colors and typefaces you use, your logo and photo. You must be your brand.

On Their Minds

Our audience on this early session of Members Day seemed to be established in their careers. They were communications consultants, ghost writers, content specialists and one fabulous “kick-ass writer.” They were getting clients but wanted to evolve or solidify their presence in the market. They needed to work on their brand. And they had questions:

Should I have more than one elevator speech?

YES. Tailor it to the audience, the work you want to pitch at the moment and the time you have. Develop a 10-second and a 20-second version.

Can you have multiple brands?

An emphatic NO. But sub-brands are useful if they don’t corrupt the main brand. A caveat: If some of your work is so different from the rest or of an ilk that the majority of your clients might feel uncomfortable, then YES, keep your work and your brands separate.

Should you take jobs that don’t mesh with your brand?

YES, if you need to pay the mortgage. NO, if they truly go against your moral code. (But that, too, depends on the mortgage.)

Do I really need a brand?

YES! It will help you set guidelines and get you work!

How do I get more work?

A real comedian in the crowd! Honestly, though, you should network and then do more networking. Go to conferences. Ask to speak at your town’s Rotary meeting to explain something you know how to do (like writing newsletters or updating social media posts), and then pitch your own business. You might just get a client or two after your presentation.

Set up informational meetings. Instead of asking for work, ask if your guest knows someone else who might be able to help. People really do like to help, and sharing contacts is easier than coming up with a job. And don’t forget to regularly circle back to all the names you’re keeping track of in a notebook or contact file.

Getting work takes work, and a strong brand.

If you like my elevator speech, reach out at

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