Generate Leads With Creativity: 21+ Methods That WORK in 2020

We can’t deny that lead generation is only getting more difficult.

With so much exposure online, people are used to seeing these techniques to generate leads.

Which means we have to be more creative with the ways we generate leads moving in 2020 and beyond.

But what if I told you there were a few key methods that almost no one is using that have personally worked for me to grow from 0 to over $6 million over the past 4 years?

Interested? It’s a personal method I use daily to bring in only the most qualified leads and I’m finally sharing the details with you.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Lead Generation in a Nutshell

For those of you new to lead generation, it’s just a more complex way of saying “collecting potential customers.”

A “lead” is defined as, “someone or something that may be useful, especially a potential customer or business opportunity.”

These are people who usually choose to opt-in to something on your site, via social, or even Youtube. They’ve raised their hand to say, “I want more content from you!”

And that’s great, because you’ll eventually hope to close them on your product or service. But first, you have to acquire them, which is what this post is all about.

What makes a great lead magnet?

If you want to generate a lot of leads, you’ll need a couple high-quality lead magnets.

A lead magnet is just that: a way to attract new leads.

Usually, you’ll find these lead magnets as downloads, sign-ups, discount offers—anything where they must trade their name and email (and sometimes phone number) in exchange for something you’re providing.

Here at SPS, we’ve got several of these, all tailored for a specific avatar and located in areas that make sense for them.

And that’s one of the most important pieces of a great lead magnet: it’s placed strategically.

Here are a few more criteria for a great lead magnet:

  • Easily accessible, the fewer steps people have to go through, the more likely they’ll fully opt-in
  • It has to be something they need (and is relevant to their pains)
  • It has to solve a problem or make a huge promise
  • It has to add value
  • It should be as unique as it can be

How to Generate High Quality Leads in 2020

As I mentioned above, finding ways to get people to opt-in is getting harder the more technology advances. You’d think it’d be easier because of that, but people are getting smarter—they know what you’re doing.

That means we have to start pushing the envelope when it comes to lead generation.

Here are a few of my favorite methods of generating leads for Self-Publishing School.

#1 – Free + Shipping Funnel

This is by far the best lead gen tool we have here at SPS, and we’ve coined it as the “Book Leverage Loop”, as you can see below.

The Self-Publishing School Book Leverage Loop

If you’ve visited this site before, you may have seen a slider to buy a free copy of my bestselling book Published.

Yes, I give these books away, and only ask that they pay for shipping at a $7.99 price point. The value prop here is the book itself, and the fact that it’s completely free.

Better yet, people who buy this book end up being some of our most qualified leads that come in, closing at a much higher rate, which brings down cost to acquire a customer significantly.

How to do it yourself:

Obviously, the first step is to write and publish a book—successfully, that is, which requires a proven system for a lucrative launch and a method for obtaining great book reviews.

#2 – Publish a book

Different than the method above because in this case, the people finding your book on Amazon are now a new lead gen channel for you to optimize.

We here at Self-Publishing School teach our students how to optimize their books effectively for lead generation, and this method has even brought in several thousand dollars of business work for our students.

You can check out Qat Wanders’s story here to find out how she generated $30,000 in her first month published from leads generated by her book—and that’s not including book sales.

There’s a reason I’m so passionate about this method of lead gen.

Firstly, not many people are doing it. They think it takes too long to write and publish a book, so they don’t even bother. When in reality, it can take less than 90 days to publish a quality book.

Secondly, it establishes your credibility and trust almost immediately. And we all know how hard this portion of converting leads really is. Usually this takes an entire follow-up sequences, texts, and value-adds just to get to this place. But a book does this almost instantly.

The fact that you’re a published author is enough for most people to trust you as an authority in your field.

And lastly, it’s the best damn business card you could ever have.

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#3 – Optimize your content

Don’t make the same mistakes I did in Self-Publishing School’s website’s early days.

We got very good at ranking our content organically but our organic revenue numbers weren’t really budging.

The issue there? We didn’t optimize the blog posts themselves for conversion.

The content also has to be written in a way that’s informative, optimized for search engines, but also copywritten so new viewers opt-in.

This might seem like a no-brainer but I’ve seen it all too often: people want to bring in that traffic and so it’s their sole focus, forgetting that when the traffic does come (which it will if you’re at this game long enough), they have to be able to capitalize on it by bringing them further down your funnel.

#4 – Extremely time-sensitive offers

Currently, most people are over-exposed to “get this deal while it lasts” tactics because we see it too much and most of us know it’s not actually real in the sense that you can usually head back to that deal the next day and see the same “One Day Only!” offer.

But if you take it a step further and make it a genuine, time-sensitive offer (meaning you actually shut off the deal when you say you will), it can bring in leads rapidly.

Trying something like an hourly time-stamp can push people to make a choice to opt-in faster because FOMO (fear of missing out) is real.

#5 – Quizzes and Assessments

If there’s one thing that’s universally true, it’s that people want to learn more about themselves—specific to something that’s causing them a good deal of hardship.

Quizzes and assessments are fantastic tools to pull in leads you can further qualify at the backend.

People like Michael Hyatt and Jenna Kutcher use these methods to grow their email list and scale their businesses. Jenna Kutcher is even featured on Interact’s Homepage with the quiz she created through them.

The key with these times of lead generation techniques is to be intentional about making them valuable. So don’t just create a quiz with random questions and answers—they should actually work and do what you advertise.

Here at Self-Publishing School, our Author DNA Assessment brings in about 3,000 leads per month from this website.

You can check that assessment out here:

#6 – Find manual leads on social

Most people will ignore this one because it’s “too time consuming.” Which I get. Personally, it’s not too realistic for me to hop on Instagram or Twitter and manually message people.

But if you can get someone on your team responsible for this, you can find really hot leads lurking on your pages.

The best people to message are those who have interacted (comments, liked, etc.) on your content repeatedly and continuously. Even people who have already messaged you.

These people are even desperate for contact with you. Not only that, but they’re showing up and adding to your online presence, which only bodes well for your company when they do convert.

#7 – Chatbots

There are so many things you can do with chatbots nowadays.

It really adds a personal touch and those who end up “chatting” with you are typically a warmer sale than those who opted in for a gated piece of content because of that personal touch.

And the best part? You can automate it so it does the work for you.

Michael Hyatt over at BusinessAccelerator.com even uses one as a sort of assessment (for segmenting) and as a lead capture.

generate leads

They use this in a few, really smart steps.

Step 1: Collapsed chatbot – Here all they do to get you to open the bot is have a “…” present, but the fact that it’s a chatbot will make those interested open it in the first place.

Step 2: Ask a segmenting question – This is a really great opportunity for his team to collect leads in a distributed method, segmenting people based on what their interest is, which allows them to better craft follow-ups and email sequences that convert at a higher rate.

Step 3: Collect contact information – Before giving anyone further help, they collect the contact information in order to convert down the line, making this a solid lead capture.

Most chatbot software is super easy to use and integrates with your email marketing software—and your email software might actually already have a chatbot in its features (like Hubspot does).

#8 – Spinning wheel

If you sell or offer low-ticket products, a spinning wheel with different “prizes” can be a fun way to pull viewers into the products you offers.

It’s kind of a 3-for-1 in the sense that the wheel is animated and colorful (usually), which catches their eye. Secondly, it displays several offers so prospects can see just what you give in value. And lastly, they get something of value from it!

Here’s an example of what a spinning wheel to generate leads looks like:

generate leads example

#9 – Giveaways

I think we can all agree that people love free stuff.

Giveaways are an amazing way to bring in new contacts while segmenting as well. If they sign up, they’re clearly interested in receiving whatever it is you’re giving away.

We’ve done a couple Kindle giveaways for people who opt-in (as well as subscribe to our Youtube channel and comment), but you can make the giveaway criteria whatever you want, really.

We not only used it as a means of generating leads, but also to grow our Youtube account.

#10 – Ebook downloads

When blogs were just coming up and the kindle (and publishing ebooks) were all the rage, you’d be surprised not to see an ebook giveaway on a website as a gated offer.

You still see this today!

People love free content, especially something described as a “book” because it means there’s a good deal of content and therefore, value.

#11 – Cheatsheets

We all want shortcuts. We’re busy and we want to save time, so positioning something as a “cheatsheet” to cut down on the time it takes to do or complete something is a hot lead gen offer.

Here’s an example of what that could look like:

Something to note: sometimes these can just be a sheet with information. When it comes to this lead magnet, a lengthy download isn’t expected.

#12 – Checklists

We use this lead magnet in order to capture leads coming in when they’re ready to launch. It’s our “Book Launch Checklist” and it’s literally just that: a checklist of what should be done before hitting “publish.”

These are really quick and easy to make, since people aren’t expecting much more than a simple sheet with boxes they can check off.

You can get creative with this

#13 – Templates / Blueprints

The word “blueprint” is actually really popular right now. Everyone wants the exact “blueprint” for doing something correctly.

And templates are just as coveted.

We bring in over 400 leads per week with our Book Outline Template Generators.

And the main reason this method to generate leads does so well is what it solves: both time and know-how.

People want your expertise and they want it in a way that saves them a massive amount of time.

You can check out our book outline template generator tool here:

Book Outline Template Generator

Choose your book type to receive a "fill-in-the-blank" book outline template you can use to plan your book.

Enter your information below to receive your free outline template!

Book Outline Template Generator

Thanks for submitting! Check your email for your book outline template.

In the meantime, check out our Book Outline Challenge.

#14 – Examples

About 65% of people are visual learners. Which means having visual examples of what you’re trying to sell (or something related to it) is a massive win for the majority of people.

A gated opt-in for examples is a great idea for bringing in leads interested in what you sell, and it provides you with the opportunity to show off.

These are just a few ideas for using examples for lead generation:

  • How-to examples
  • Step-by-step process examples
  • Client result examples
  • Course “sneak peek” examples
  • Visual examples (like a “List of 15 High Converting Lead Magnets”

#15 – Case studies

This is probably the most effective method to generate leads at the bottom of the funnel. They’re ready to see results and what you can really provide for customers.

We have an entire page dedicated to these with CTAs listed throughout.

A great way to make this offer irresistible is to tie money to it. Something that says, “How a Busy Mom Made $43,000 in One Month” is far more alluring than “How a Busy Mom Published Her Book”.

And, as always, make sure these are quality. Provide screenshots, hard numbers, and a real testimonial (videos are even better).

#16 – Toolkits

Here’s another example of a lead generation method that solves two major pains: the time and the know-how.

Most people can probably end up searching for a bunch of tools they need for whatever they’re doing, but if you have an easy download with all the tools they could need, it’s a no-brainer to opt-in.

Bonus points if you’re a powerhouse around what the toolkit offers.

An example of this is Jenna Kutcher. One of her best performing lead magnet is a list of resources she uses on Instagram. Since she grew her business from nothing to over a million by securing her platform on Instagram, it’s really illogical for those looking to do the same to not opt-in.

While it’s not positioned as a “toolkit”, it’s essentially the same thing.

#17 – Resources lists

Google is really convenient. But one thing that it lacks is a time-saving feature. They try to do this with ranking certain posts at the top, but it’s not always that simple.

Which means if someone is looking for a bunch of information, like a list of where to find writing jobs, spending hours scouring Google is a waste.

Those people would probably opt-in to a list of resources to find writing jobs instead of trying to find them themselves, giving you their contact information with ease.

Creating a resources list is also a great brainstorming tool by itself. You’ll get to better understand the needs of your target audience by finding and building a list of resources they would need.

For us, this list might look like something that includes editors, cover designers, where to find beta readers, and all of those other book production resources (which we actually include in our Rolodex for our students).

#18 – Workbooks

We use this method here at SPS too. It’s by far our biggest lead gen tool aside from our webinar, but they’re actually supposed to be used together. We offer the webinar workbook as an opt-in after people have registered for our webinar.

Our workbook brings in about 400+ leads every week.

If you don’t have a workbook available on your website (especially if you use webinars as a lead generation tool), you’re missing out!

#19 – Printables

Anything someone can print ends up becoming valuable.

One way we use this method is with our outlining mindmaps.

People can opt-in and receive a download, which they can then print out and use for themselves.

The bonus here is that they’ll have a physical copy of something with your company’s information on it right in front of them. Keeping you and your business top of mind for them is super important for conversion down the line.

Plus, then they’ll associate your company with their success or wins in the area they’re working on.

#20 – Email courses

Email marketing is still super important, no matter what anyone else says. It’s not a dead conversion channel and in fact, it’s the best one.

And that’s probably why you see so many people offering “5-Day Courses” that take place in daily emails. It’s perfect to get people on your list, create a habit for them of opening your emails, and gauge their interest in a course-type setup to begin with.

Reedsy does a great job of this, offering their courses like they’d be hosted on their website.

But if you click to take the course, you’re prompted to fill in a form, which triggers the course via daily emails.

#21 – Prompts

Sometimes people really need help developing ideas, and that’s where prompts come into play.

We have both fiction and nonfiction writing prompts to help some people get started. Most of these are super easy to make and provide a ton of value, particularly if someone uses one of your prompts.

#22 – Tools or Calculators

Just like we’ve got our Book Profit Calculator, you should have some sort of measuring tool like this too, especially if you’re in the business of making people more money.

Being able to showcase comparisons is super important for people to see the value you can provide.

And the lead gen factor? Just ask for their email in exchange for the results.

We have several tools we’ve created (with more on the way), that work to bring in a combined 450+ leads per week.

#23 – Pre-made spreadsheets

People hate making their own highly functional spreadsheet. If it’s just numbers in a column, no biggie, but most people want something more advanced and lack the skills (or time) to make it.

So doing it for them is a surefire way to get an opt-in.

Remember, you can even use all of these methods within your book when you write and publish it, but using these on your website and in your other marketing efforts can increase your lead generation significantly.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

writing jobs

Writing Jobs: How to Make Money Writing Online in 2020

The options are out there.

Take it from someone who figured out how to make a living writing after only a few months…you can do it the same way I did (which I’ll explain in this post).

Do you want to work from home?

Do you want to work for yourself?

Do you want to make a living doing something meaningful and fulfilling?

The answer is obvious and the only question is…

How?

Whether you want to be your own boss, spend your day doing something you love and are good at, or even if you’re just looking for a new career opportunity, learning how to make money writing and which writing jobs are even available to you is worth it.

How to Make Money Writing

So you’ve already determined you want to write. You love it, it’s fulfilling, and you don’t despise it nearly as much as you do that 9-5 you’ve got now (or are still avoiding like the plague).

Firstly, that’s fantastic (we love writing here at Self-Publishing School, if you haven’t noticed)!

Secondly, now the work begins because writing jobs won’t just start falling from the sky and landing in your lap.

And that’s why you’ll have to learn how to make money writing, since there are far more opportunities than you think exist out there…

In this post, we’re going to cover:

  1. The highest paying writing jobs
  2. How to find writing jobs online
  3. Online and remote writing jobs (& how to find them!)
  4. Jobs for creative writers
  5. Blog writing jobs

By the end of this blog post, you’ll know exactly how to make money writing like our very own Student Coach here at Self-Publishing School, Lise Cartwright.

She makes a full-time income of over $4,000 per month just from her self-published books—and you can do the same.

What are the highest paying writing jobs?

Not all writing jobs are created equal. After all, there are many different forms of writing, all coming with their own price tags.

These are the highest paying writing jobs and our advice for breaking into them.

#1 – Author $$$$$

One of the best jobs with one of the highest earning potential is becoming an author.

This could be nonfiction or fiction, it doesn’t matter.

I understand that this one may come as a surprise. After all, the reputation of “starving artist” and the stigma against authors has to have been created for a reason.

But in today’s age, with technology and the possibility of self-publishing, making a large income as an author is not only realistic…

…it’s easily attainable with the right system.

Check out this book profit calculator to help you get a feel for how much money you can really make by self-publishing your book.

STEP 1

Enter Your Information Below To Calculate Your Potential Book Sales

STEP 2

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CONGRATULATIONS!
Here's What You'd Earn:

Your profit per book:

In 3 months, you'll make:

In 6 months, you'll make:

In 1 year, you'll make:

Being a self-published author is far more lucrative than traditional publishing nowadays solely because it’s directly up to you how much you make.

The more you work and market and push for more book sales, the better you’ll do. And therefore, this has the highest earning potential.

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#2 – Screenwriter $$$$$

If you’re someone who would rather write movies or TV shows than books or novels, this could be the path for you.

Screenwriters—especially if you work hard and make it to the “big leagues”—have extremely high earning potential.

A screenwriter writes TV shows and movies. Contrary to what many believe, there are typically several writers who work on one show and movie, but it’s not necessarily easy to become a Hollywood screenwriter.

That means if you work hard, play your cards right, and focus on committing to this path, you can potentially make a lot of money writing.

#3 – Content writer $$$$

If you’re looking for a great career as a writer, content writing is where it’s at.

Now, I may be biased (since this one is actually my job), but it’s a lucrative field to get into—especially nowadays.

Every company has a website. And as Russ Henneberry from DigitalMarket says, every business should have a blog.

And that means every business needs a writer for those blogs.

However, keep in mind that content writing is more than just writing. There’s a lot of information about SEO you need to learn if you want to be effective at your job.

That being said, it’s a growing field and you can even find remote jobs.

#4 – Technical writer $$$

Not many people realize there’s a lot of opportunity in this department.

What is a technical writer? This is a person who knows how to take complex topics and condense them into easy-to-understand jargon for the layman.

This includes writing in the fitness field, medical, psychological, law, and many more.

If you have a set of specialized knowledge, seek writing jobs for companies looking to break it down so anyone can understand it.

How to Find Writing Jobs Online

The best method for finding writing jobs is to hit up the internet.

You’re bound to have better luck searching online than any other way. And with so many different job sites and apps out there, it’s worth diving into a few to see what jobs are available.

Here are a few of the best websites to find high paying writing jobs:

These are also reliable places to find freelance writing work, however, you will often be paid less for these jobs and they’re typically short jobs:

When it comes to searching for writing jobs online, you have to keep in mind that some people will be more reliable than others.

Our first list covers places you can find writing jobs that are typically much better pay and longevity than the websites in our second list.

However, don’t dismiss Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer completely. I personally got my start on them!

Online and Remote Writing Jobs

What sounds better than working from the comfort of your own home, and even from bed, with nothing more than a laptop in front of you?

Almost nothing.

As someone who works remotely and as a writer, it’s extremely convenient and enjoyable to do what I love.

If you’re wondering where to get started, here’s a list of remote writing jobs you could potentially have:

  • Content Manager
  • Content Editor
  • Content Writer
  • Copywriter
  • Technical Writer
  • Speech/Script Writer
  • Transcriptionist
  • Academic Writer
  • Columnist
  • Grant Writer
  • Proposal Writer
  • Translator
  • Social Media Manager
  • Film Critic
  • Food Critic
  • Proofreader
  • Editor
  • Travel Writer
  • Ghost Writer

This list could go on, but this is great starting point for you to pinpoint what interests you. From there, you can learn how to find these types of jobs.

How to Find Online and Remote Writing Jobs:

If you’ve decided what you want to write about, it’s your job to do research so you can find the best job that fits what you’re looking to do.

There are two methods for finding writing jobs online:

  1. Outreach – you personally find websites and platforms you want to work for and reach out via email cold pitching your writing services.
  2. Respond to job postings – this is the more traditional method in which you visit job boards (like the ones listed above) and respond to job postings with your resume.

Outreach for Writing Jobs:

This method often takes the most finesse in order to get right. After my stint with Upwork and Fiverr ended, personally used outreach to land some of my most consistent and highest paying clients.

Here’s how you can do outreach to land writing jobs:

  1. Determine your niche and the type of content you want to write. This can be beauty, fashion, education, parenting, movies, television, fitness, lifestyle, and any category you’re interested in. We recommend choosing one you both enjoy and know a lot about (less research means you can do more and therefore get paid more).
  2. Visit websites you know have content in this niche. For example: if you want to write about food and travel, Thrillist.com might be your best bet. Choosing a niche like wellness might land you on sites like TheGreatist.com. If you’re not sure which sites cover your niche, just do a quick google search for, “[your niche] websites”.
  3. Scroll down to the very bottom of the site’s homepage and look for “write for us” link. Not all websites will have this but many that are primarily content usually have a means for you to write for them, as seen in the example below from IntrovertDear.com.

  4. Click on the “write for us” or equivalent page. Read over their guidelines to see if this is a good fit for you. If you want to know about compensation and they don’t list any, simply location a contact email or fill out a contact form and ask!
  5. Cold pitch your idea. Technically, since they are accepting writers, it’s not considered a “cold” pitch, but you do still have to sell them on your ideas. Focus on what they can gain from working with you and less on you. This becomes easier with experience and proven results.

Responding to Job Postings for Writing Jobs:

This one is just like any other job you apply for online.

After searching for writing jobs via the job boards listed above, simply send in your resume and CV if applicable.

A few tips to optimize your resume for writing jobs:

  • Be unique and creative with its appearance
  • Focus on the results your writing has obtained
  • List technical writing skills in addition to just “writing”
  • Make sure to mention your knowledge and experience with SEO (which you’ll need for almost any online writing job)
  • Be humorous and let your style come out

Here’s an example of my personal resume that landed me this writing job.

writing jobs resume

As you can see, I tailored it to this company’s branding and made sure to focus on getting my own personality on the page (address/company info is hidden).

The trick is to find jobs that you’re a good fit for and where your style and voice will fit in the best.

Jobs for Creative Writers

There are more jobs for creative writers than you think.

Many of us automatically think “author” when we think of creative writing. And while an author is one of the best options, it’s not the only one.

NOTE: If you do want to write creatively as an author, make sure to check out our VIP Fiction Self-Publishing Program so you can get started in the next 90 days!
Learn more about it here

Here are some of the many jobs available to creative writers:

  • Author
  • Short story writer
  • Creative writing teacher
  • Story blogger
  • Playwright
  • Children’s book author
  • Novelist
  • Ghostwriter
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Social Media Manager

Creative writing doesn’t limit your options as a writer. All writing needs some creativity thrown in there and these jobs allow you to do that.

Blog Writing Jobs

With the invention and high utilization of the internet, every single website needs writers.

There are two options when it comes to blog writing jobs:

  1. Create your own blog
  2. Write for another blog

How to Find Blog Writing Jobs:

Blog writing jobs are everywhere. Whether a website advertises that they’re hiring or not, you can often wiggle your way into writing for them.

In the section above about performing outreach for online writing jobs, we highlight the system of cold pitching, which involves visiting websites and looking for a “write for us” page at the bottom.

If you can’t find this page, you can use tools like Hunter.io or ContactOut in order to locate email address in which you can pitch to.

jobs for writers

Here are a few tips for finding blog writing jobs in your area of expertise:

  • Determine your writing niche
  • Google “[your niche] websites” in order to find sites with your content
  • You can also try Googling “[your niche] write for us” to locate their specific writing page
  • Read their content to determine if your voice/style is a good match
  • Look at their blog posts and determine if there’s an area of weakness you can strengthen

Doing these things will ultimately help you find the best writing job for you.

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