For those of you who missed Part One of this article, I thoroughly suggest going back and giving it a look. Over there you’ll learn all the foundations you need to successfully optimize your LinkedIn profile. Whereas, Part Two of this guide focuses on using LinkedIn to find and connect with potential freelance writing clients.
So, with all of that in mind, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of Part 2.
1. Identify Your Ideal Client
Before you do anything, you need to understand who your ‘ideal client‘ actually is by asking:
- What kind of clients need the skills/knowledge/experience you have?
- Which niche do you want to write for?
- Which companies do your prospects work for?
- Do your ‘perfect clients’ all live in a specific area?
The answers to the above questions should help you figure out the kinds of clients you want to write for- without this info, you’ll struggle to use LinkedIn to find qualified prospects.
The next thing to do is spend some time listing all the potential job titles your prospects might be using in their LinkedIn headline. This process is essential for helping you search for decision-makers who may be in a position to offer you a writing gig.
2. Leverage People You Already Know
It stands to reason that you’re more likely to have success with warm leads than cold ones. As such, we suggest reaching out and connecting with people you already have some kind of relationship with.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re a former co-worker, someone you’ve met at a conference, or a fellow writer or editor working for the same content marketing agency as you- if you have something in common, ping them over a connection request.
Top Tip: Every connection request you send should be accompanied by a friendly note detailing how you met/ how you know one another.
This is hands down one of the easiest and most effective ways of building your professional network– so be sure to give it a try!
3. Sending a Personalized Connection Request
Let’s just circle back to sending personalized connection requests for a sec.
By this stage, you should now have a list of prospects you want to connect with, it’s time to send them a connection request. The most important thing to note about this is that you need to customize your invitation.
However, you should note: in order to send a personalized request to a potential client, you’ll need to be on their profile page.
DON’T just hit the “connect” button that appears next to users populated via a LinkedIn search. This won’t give you the option of attaching a customized message when sending a connection request.
This then begs the question; what sort of message should I attach to my LinkedIn connection requests? Well, put simply, you need to briefly explain why the prospect would even want to connect with you on this platform.
Here’s a template you can use:
Hi [insert prospect’s name]
It was great meeting with you at [insert as applicable] / working together at
[insert as applicable] / [add however else you know them!]. [Insert something else you can bond over- some of their recent work/ something interesting they mentioned/ something notable on their website, etc.]! I’d definitely love to keep in touch with you on LinkedIn.
[Insert your name]
You get the idea! Edit this template however you see fit.
4. Say Thanks and Build a Rapport
Within 24 hours of a prospect accepting your LinkedIn connection request, ping them over a message to say thanks.
At this stage, we highly recommend not promoting yourself in any way, instead, it’s essential that you take the time to build a rapport with them. Scour their LinkedIn profile, website, Twitter,- or whatever else, and see if they’ve published anything that could help you kickstart a conversation. Perhaps they’ve recently published an article you found interesting? Or maybe they’ve just been awarded some sort of accolade for their work?
All you want to do with these first few messages it get to know them a little and create a killer first impression.
Then as time goes by, continue building a relationship with them by pinging them over a message once a month which is jam-packed full of valuable content.
Ideally, you should send them over something that helps them achieve their overarching business goals. Use this as an opportunity to show you understand what the prospect’s struggling with and that you have the answers. When done well, you can easily show you’re an authority in their niche and build credibility- without pitching or selling to them. This is a surefire way of building a genuine relationship with a prospect.
If you’re not sure what kind of content you should be sending, here are a few ideas:
- Blog posts
- Video tutorials
- Case studies
5. Join LinkedIn Groups
In addition to all the above, you should join a few LinkedIn groups relating to the niche you want to write for. To find these groups, tap a few keywords into the search bar on the top of your homepage.
Once you become a member, be an active voice on this platform. This is one of the simplest ways to ‘meet’ new prospects- and it doesn’t come across as ‘forced’ or ‘sales’.
Now, when we say ‘be active’ in LinkedIn groups, we’re not suggesting to just publish a post introducing yourself along with a link to your website/LinkedIn profile/ Twitter handle, etc.
There’s a high chance this won’t produce fruitful results.
Instead, we suggest scrolling through the posts made in the group to get a feel for the kinds of questions that pop up time and again- are you able to provide a helpful answer? Have you written an article addressing these issues? If so, get involved in the conversation!
Building relationships with prospects over LinkedIn takes time, so a degree of patience is required with these methods. Our best advice is to set aside 20 minutes a day to send connection requests to potential clients and answering questions in your LinkedIn groups. If you commit to doing this you’re bound to reap the rewards in the long run!