After you choose a niche to focus on and you create your portfolio as a freelance writer (2 vital things that should never be neglected and you surely already know), it is time to market your services. This is not at all something simple. You WILL experience a lot of stress and frustration.
The big thing to remember here is that you can be the very best freelance writer in the world and still have problems when it comes to finding clients. You will need patience because it will take time to build your reputation and connections. Yes, you need connections.
The internet is filled with advice for freelance writers. Most advice is totally useless or incredibly outdated. We live in 2020 right now, the year that everyone wants to forget, but the year in which you need to be smart with how you market yourself as a freelance writer.
So, let’s get started.
Build A Strong LinkedIn Profile
Let’s start with something that most freelance writers do not even consider, or they just do not take it seriously. I actually have 2 clients that send me writing work from time to time that found me on LinkedIn.
And my profile sucks. It only features the BARE MINIMUM. You can do a lot more with yours.
When it comes to professional networking, LinkedIn is the place to be. And the good news is that most of what you have to do revolves around optimizing your profile.
Add A Header Image
Think about your LinkedIn profile as a business card. Do you want to have a shallow business card? No! Add a header image. You can so easily use Canva to create it or just add something that represents you, your industry, or your personality.
The header image will stand out.
Make Yourself Officially Available
LinkedIn allows you to advertise the fact that you are available and you look for work. Look for the “Job Preferences” part of your profile. Also, as an extra tip, you can always change your header to be appropriate, like “freelance writer looking for work”.
Regularly Post Content
You are a writer, right? Write! LinkedIn’s publishing feature is where you can highlight your writing and your services.
As with every such opportunity, the goal is to offer content that is helpful, well-written, and as informative as possible. At the same time, you can post links just as on Facebook, so take advantage of it!
Make sure that you do not spam. As always on social media, you need to strike a balance between helpful posts and promoting your services. Even if you promote your writing, try to do it in a professional and witty way.
Build Your Network
Look for good freelance writers and connect with them. You surely already figured out that you can connect with some potential clients but do not neglect the other writers.
You can learn so much from other writers as they might share something that is very useful for you. Also, networking can bring you clients. You never know when someone has more work than he/she can handle and might refer you. This is actually a very common practice among writers.
Feature Your Work
The last thing I want to share with LinkedIn is that you can now feature your very best content. Take advantage of this opportunity. Share a LinkedIn article that was very popular or just a couple of links to some of your best writing.
Maybe you have a published eBook or a website where you blog. Feature that!
Extra little tip: Make sure that you do not accept all connection requests. While you never know who will have some work available, there is a limited number of connections you can have, and it is easy to reach that limit. Think quality.
Launch Your Blog
Once again, you are a writer! Write!
There is no reason why you should not have a blog as a writer. ZERO. Nada. Zilch.
Launch a blog and write as often as possible.
The huge advantage of launching your blog is that you get to choose everything about it. The important thing is the topic that you write about. You are practically self-publishing so you have complete control.
There are many different reasons why you should launch a blog as a freelance writer but one that few people take into account is that you constantly build a source of content that can be repurposed in the future. Sure, you write articles that you can show off as a part of your portfolio. However, at the same time, you have content that you can use on social media, or for some graphics.
How does the blog help you to market your freelance writing services?
- Your credibility is automatically boosted since you can showcase the knowledge you have.
- High paying clients are attracted.
- You have a portfolio that you can easily share with anyone that can access the internet.
- Since you keep writing, you improve your writing so you become better and better.
- Search rankings are increased as you post high-quality content so you get more traffic and more visibility in your industry.
Don’t know how to start a blog? I looked for a good guide for you and found this one:
Create An Email Signature
Freelance writers use their email a lot. I do not even want to count how many emails I go through every single day and I am no longer a freelance writer. Now I mostly do SEO and marketing work. Sure, I still write and get writing jobs from time to time but the point is I get hundreds of emails even if I write a lot less than before.
Now. I have to be honest. When I was a “full-time” freelance writer, this is the biggest mistake I made. I did not have an email signature. I missed out on a great way to promote my services.
Here’s a very simple example of an email signature you can use:
“John Snow – Professional freelance writer, copywriter, and ghostwriter
Link 1 | Link 2| Twitter Link”
Done. It is not difficult, is it? Always have a signature in which you tell people that you are a writer, maybe that you are looking for work, and add relevant links, like your blog or portfolio.
Learn How To Sell Yourself
Again, something I did not do in the past that I wish I did, because it works.
At the end of the day, you promote yourself. You market yourself. This means you need to learn some marketing and a huge part of marketing is learning how to sell a service/product. In your case, you sell writing services. In order to do that, you have to promote yourself as a writer. Makes sense, no?
How can you sell yourself?
Obviously, there are many things that you can do but here are some suggestions that you will rarely find in tutorials about this subject:
Create An Intro
You need this to break the ice when you network or when you start a conversation. Basically, this is an icebreaker that you use in order to engage and hold interest, to keep the dialogue going.
What do you do? You will hear this question in many forms.
How you answer dictates the rest of the conversation.
When you say “I am a freelance writer”, the conversation tends to stop there.
When you say something like “I teach women how to look great in a bikini”, you create extra conversation.
You are then asked what do you mean or what that means. You can answer something like “I write fashion tutorials for women that empower them and make them trust their bodies.”
You would be surprised to learn how much attention something like this creates. Because it is witty and makes you stand out, you might end up being offered a job from the person you talk to or one of his/her connections.
Create A Slogan
My slogan is not the best, but it is mine and I am sure that you can come up with something better. Mine is:
“Marketer by day, gamer by night, human always!”
In just a few words I quickly highlight that I am a marketer, that I enjoy video games, and that equality and ethics are very important for me. I tell people more about me in 8 words than many say in a 1000 words presentation.
Your slogan needs to be appealing to those that you want to attract. This is a little difficult to do and it might take some practice. To make it easier for you, when you create your slogan, think about the following:
- Your desired clients.
- The services you offer.
- Your USP (unique selling point).
- How you stand out from the competition.
- What you are very good at.
- The type of writing you do.
Think about different slogans and try them. See if people respond as you want them to.
Write A Good Bio
It does not matter what writing you specialize in. You always need a good bio. In fact, you need 2. A long one and a short one. They both have their purpose.
Your bios should be written in the third person. Even on your blog. In the bio, you need to show that you are an expert. This is true even if you are a complete writer.
Focus on your skills and what you want to do with your writing career. Learn more from this article:
One More Thing: Embrace Networking!
In freelance writing, oftentimes it is not what you know that counts. It is WHO you know. You will keep hearing this from the experienced writers. This is because networking is particularly important in this industry.
I understand that networking can cause discomfort. You might not feel great interacting with people. The good news is that you can do it online.
Embrace social media and interactions with professionals in your industry, together with other writers just like you.
Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Then, actively participate. Join forums. Actively use Twitter.
There is so much that you can do to market your freelance writing services. The tips I mentioned are just some of those that are less common. I am sure you can find many others that you can use. Read them, learn from them, and adapt them to your personality.