Today’s guest is Portia Wofford, an award-winning nurse, writer and content marketer who lives in Alabama. After dedicating her nursing career to creating content and solutions for employers, Portia now runs a content marketing agency, The PW Agency.
Her agency empowers health and nursing brands to grow their communities through engaging content that connects and converts. As part of her mission to help nurses earn extra income, beyond the bedside, Portia teaches nurses how to get paid and published by showing them how to land their first paid freelance writing gig. Nurses can learn more about her courses and training packages at http://pwenterprises.co/nurses-who-write.
Portia began freelancing in 2018, leaving her home health care nursing career. She created The PW Agency in 2020, so she could bring on more nurse writers and help more health care brands.
Nurses are used to writing in a more academic style, so Portia started teaching nurses how to write blog posts for consumers or a health care audience.
Portia’s agency hires other nurses as freelancers to write for her clients. She also trains nurses how to write, whether they choose to leave nursing or write as a side gig. She has seen an uptick in interest during the pandemic as more nurses leave nursing.
A few lessons Portia has learned that has helped her freelance career: Never stop learning and learn how to take constructive criticism of your work.
Portia says some freelancers rely too much on social media to get clients. You need to get uncomfortable and reach out to potential clients. Understand you’re going to get a lot of “no”s. If a potential client says no, Portia likes to ask if there’s a reason they said no or if there’s a better way she should approach them. Their feedback can be helpful in how she approaches other prospects.
That doesn’t mean Portia doesn’t believe in social media, but it’s only one aspect of marketing. She positioned herself as an expert in content marketing (not a freelancer) and a go-to thought leader in her industry.
Good marketing requires a lot of research. Portia researched specific brands, then went to their websites to try to find the decision makers. She then uses LinkedIn to contact them.
Portia’s research focuses on finding out who the decision-maker is, instead of the gatekeeper.
If a contact says no, Portia will reach back out in 60-90 days and asks “How’s your business doing now? or “How’s your content doing?”
Portia’s social media strategy as a freelancer was to offer a lot of content marketing tips to her potential clients. She doesn’t focus on sales. She always includes a call to action, which could be something like “if you have any questions, contact me at …”
She’ll also say, “drop ‘freelancer’ in the comments if you understand.”
When you create or revise your content marketing strategy, start with your goals and consider what avenue you want to use (certain social media platforms, a blog, etc.). Having a niche also makes it easier to zero in on who your clients are.
Don’t just think of your clients. Think of the end reader—your client’s customers. Who are they? Where are they?
Portia walks us through how she thinks about pricing and what she recommends for nurses.
Portia gives each client a content brief to fill out to gain plenty of information to be able to price the project properly and prepare to work with them. In this episode, she provided a long list of questions to ask clients.
Portia also recommends having a minimum rate. You can tell each client upfront by email: “My minimum rate is $XXX. Are you prepared to invest in this service?” That weeds out clients whose budgets aren’t large enough for your services, without either of you wasting time on a discovery call.
In The PW Agency, Portia has a virtual assistant and several nurses who are sub-contractors, not employees. She has been an LLC from the beginning of her freelance career, which made the transition to an agency smoother.
When she switched to an agency model, she told established clients: “I enjoy working with you. My business has expanded; I’ve brought on some other writers, and I would love for them to be able to take over some of your pieces.”
Portia believes that her strong reputation and rapport with her existing clients reassured them that the agency work would remain high quality. She trains all of her nurse writers in her writing style, and now clients can get more content pieces in a faster amount of time.
Portia recently hired an editing team that reviews the content. She also reviews every piece of content herself before it goes to a client. But the writers get the bylines.
All of her subcontractors sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and a contract that covers confidentiality and other issues. She has protections written in so subcontractors cannot “steal” her clients. Portia found a local attorney who understands freelancing and whom she can meet with in person and establish a relationship with. Hiring an attorney is an important investment in your business to protect yourself.
Hiring a diverse range of nurse writers is important to Portia. Diversity improves the content she creates for her clients too. She tells her clients she won’t work with clients who don’t believe in diversity and promoting health equity. She’s transparent about her values upfront.
Biz Bite: Don’t Procrastinate. Break down a project into bite sizes and do a little bit a day at a time.
Join the Deliberate Freelancer Facebook group.
Support Deliberate Freelancer at Buy Me a Coffee.
Subscribe to the Deliberate Freelancer newsletter.
Episode #88 of Deliberate Freelancer: Positioning Yourself as an Agency and Partnering with Other Freelancers, with Reggie Holmes
Episode #68 of Deliberate Freelancer: Yes, You Need to Build a Personal Brand, with Hilary Sutton