Marketing for writers

It is no secret that many successful writers and bloggers everywhere use the principles of copywriting to give their message more power and influence.

Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things. — David Ogilvy

It is also no secret that most writers would like to earn money or their entire living from their writing. If this is true for you, then, understanding the psychology and principles behind advertising, marketing, and copywriting is essential.

Get to know your readers

Like any marketing effort, as a writer, you need to understand your readers. Ask yourself:

  1. What do your readers want?*
  2. How do they feel about what they want?
  3. Why do they act the way they do?

Once you can answer these questions, you can:

  1. Better understand what and how to write
  2. Write with emotions that your readers will relate to
  3. Reach a bigger reader base with your targeted writing
  4. Provide your readers more satisfaction by doing all of the above

*What do your readers really want?

According to Drew Eric Whitman (affiliate link), humans (i.e. your readers) have 8 needs or desires:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

Whitman provides some pretty convincing evidence (you’ll have to read the book) why tapping into one or more of these eight desires can dramatically affect sales, or in our case, readership.

People buy because of emotion and justify with logic. Force an emotional response by touching on a basic want or need. — “Seven Principles of Stopping Power,” The Young & Rubicam Traveling Creative Workshop


Before you publish your next article or longer work, fiction or nonfiction, think deeply about which of the eight needs or desires your writing topic most reflects. Can you capitalize on this knowledge with a change in title, or with an increased focus or theme?

Let us know about your homework results!

This article is meant to whet your marketing appetite. I am writing an entire series on marketing for writers. Please join me for more and little by little we will learn together to love marketing (or at least make it less painful).