How to Find Your Ideal Client as a Freelance Writer

Shockingly, the average freelance writer earns less than $10,000 each year. Just let that sink in for a second. How …

Shockingly, the average freelance writer earns less than $10,000 each year. Just let that sink in for a second.

How can anyone afford to support themselves on such little money?

Needless to say, if you’re earning this kind of cash, you’re probably not writing for your ideal clients, and we want you to do that!

If you can relate, never fear because you’re in the right place. Here are a few actions steps to help bring you closer to scoring high-quality writing gigs.

Sound good? Let’s dive in!

What’s an Ideal Client?

First things first, you need to identify who your perfect client is. I love Elna Cain’s criteria for this, so for now, let’s use this as a general framework. For most of us, a great client fulfills the following:

  • Pays your specified rates on time, every time!
  • Communicates in a timely and effective manner
  • Offers regular work
  • Allows you to write about topics you’re passionate about
  • Publishes a byline crediting you for your work

Now, we understand finding clients like sometimes sounds like a tall order, but trust us, these people are out there!

If You Want Something Go and Get It

It’s really as simple as the subheading sounds. To start writing for better clients, you need the confidence to put yourself out there.

If you’re new to freelancing this means building a killer portfolio. If you want prospects to take you seriously, you need to demonstrate you walk the walk in addition to talking the talk.

This is where guest posting for reputable sites comes into its own. Ideally, you want to write for companies that pay their contributors, offer a byline, and boast a loyal following of readers.

The more popular the publication the better, because going forward you can use the social shares you’ve accumulated as further proof that you’re an amazing writer!

Guest blogging also boasts the following benefits:

  • Free marketing: You’ll massively increase your reach. You’re writing for a new audience, and who knows? Some of those readers may even need a freelance writer!
  • Finding your passion: The more you write, the more likely it is you’ll figure out what you enjoy writing about. This works wonders for helping you choose a niche to specialize in. Although selecting a niche isn’t essential- establishing yourself as an expert makes it way easier to command higher rates.

You Have a Portfolio, Now What?

Now you have a portfolio, it’s time to set your rates. Carefully consider your bottom line. Then, if you can afford to, turn down clients that aren’t able to pay your rates.

This is another fab tip I learned from Elna Cain- If you’re nervous about charging higher fees as a new freelancer, approach it gradually. For example, if you’re currently writing for a client for $0.04 per word. The next client you negotiate terms with, ask for $0.06, then the next $0.08, and so on. Continue to do this until you reach your optimum rate per word. Dream big- what’s the worst that’s going to happen- they say no?

How Do You Find Clients That Pay Higher Rates?

Now you have a rate in mind, it’s time to start pitching high-quality clients. Here are a few things to bear in mind as you undertake this task. Carol Tice is the queen of sending letters of introduction and query letters. As I was going through some of her resources, I noted down the following key points:

Do Your Research

If you’re thinking of sending cold pitches, swot up on your prospects. You want to get a feel for how profitable the company is. Tiny businesses and solopreneurs often can’t pay the higher rates you’re commanding. So, do some snooping to find the following info:

  • How many people does the company employ? Ideally, your prospect should have a team of 20 or more, this drastically increases the likelihood of them affording higher rates. Head to LinkedIn and check out their company page to see how many employees are registered with them.
  • Run a Google search. If your prospect has just received a large wad of funding there’s a good chance they’ll publish a press release providing some of the details. Startups with funding are usually keen to spend money like crazy because they need results- and fast!

Perfect Your Pitch

As you start crafting your pitches, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Never say you’re new to freelancing: You want to inspire confidence, and inexperience doesn’t do that!
  • Show you know their industry: List any expertise you have in their industry. If you have any samples of published works complementing their niche, that’s ideal!
  • Build credibility: Show your prospects you’re a safe bet. Glowing testimonials from previous clients are amazing, as are stats proving your blogging gets results. For example social shares, a documented boost in website traffic, an increase in social media followers, etc. Also if you have any experience SEO-optimizing content and using popular platforms like WordPress or Wix, that’s usually worth mentioning.

Our Final Top Tips

There are plenty of resources you can use to find and reach out to potential clients. Some of my favorites include:

  • Job Boards: If you need a helping hand finding top-notch clients, using a job board like Contena is worth its weight in gold. When I first started out, their rate per word estimations were really useful. Plus, their detailed descriptions of the gigs and links to company websites allowed me to assess whether these prospects fulfilled my ideal client criteria.
  • End your pitch with a call to action: To increase the chances of hearing back from your prospect, end your pitch with a call to action. For example ‘when would you like to get started?’ or ‘can I send you clips of my previous work?’. Choose something you feel comfortable with. A strong CTA works wonders for encouraging some sort of response.
  • Follow up: There’s a good chance your ideal clients are busy people- so they might not respond straight away. If you haven’t heard back after a week or more, send a polite follow-up email to gauge their response.

We hope the above advice helps you find and score work with better clients. Best of luck of luck with it all, we’re sure you’ll get your perfect writing gig soon!

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