I’m going to assume that you’ve either decided to launch your freelance writing biz…or you’re seriously considering it — am I right?
If so, you’ll need to learn how to market yourself like a pro.
Having the writing chops to do the job justice is only half the battle. As a freelancer, you’ll spend a lot of time (at least in the beginning) selling yourself as a writer — after all, how else do you expect to get clients?
This then begs the question: How?
Well, never fear, because we’re going to explore precisely that in this article.
Does that sound good? Great. Let’s get down to it!
6 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer
1. Have a Plan
Fail to plan, and plan to fail — whoever came up with this phrase is a genius, because nothing could be truer!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re comfortable with a notepad and pen or a spreadsheet on Google Sheets — the important thing is making time to create a concrete marketing plan.
But, don’t let the phrase ‘marketing plan’ phase you. It sounds way more complex than it actually is. All it needs to do is answer the following questions:
- Who’s your ideal client?
- What are your short and long-term goals for your freelancing business?
- How do you plan to achieve those targets?
- What are you going to do to track your progress?
- What steps are you going to take to include marketing tasks in your broader schedule?
- What marketing methods do you fancy trying?
Now, tape your plan somewhere you’ll see every day. Preferably it’ll be taped in your workplace, that way you can refer to it as you go about your working week. Hopefully, this should help you stay on track.
2. Create a Portfolio
If you haven’t got a portfolio displaying your talent, the chances of securing paid work as a freelancer are next to nil.
Luckily, there are loads of places online where you can create a professional looking portfolio — for example, Clear Voice and Contently. These are both fabulous options because they’re also content marketing agencies. So, if they (or their clients) think you’re a good fit for a project, they’ll reach out and contact you.
If you haven’t got any previous work to display in a portfolio, start guest blogging. This is the easiest and quickest way to start getting bylines. Some companies even pay guest bloggers to contribute content to their platform — this is one of those scenarios where the phrase killing two birds with one stone certainly applies!
3. Be Active in Forums
There are so many writers forums out there. If you haven’t checked out Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers Den, then I suggest that you do. Her forum is pretty active and jam-packed full of actionable advice.
Keeping up to date and staying active within a variety of writers forums is an effective way of networking with other writers. Plus, there’s a high chance you’ll hear about companies looking for freelance writers and content strategists. Not to mention, you’re bound to pick up lots of helpful hints and tips!
Everything we’ve just said about writers forums, also applies to discussion boards dedicated to the niche you want to break into. This is an excellent opportunity to show to clients in your industry that you’re a pro — without coming across as salesy.
Top Tip: Your forum signature should always include a link to either your website or portfolio. That way prospects interested in your writing services can easily find more about what you have to offer.
4. Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an excellent place to secure new clients. It’s the best social media platform for networking with prospects. So, make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized to attract your ideal client to reach out and contact you.
Top Tip: Use LinkedIn’s search feature at the top of the page to find people looking for freelancers. Type in phrases like: ‘hiring writers’ or ‘hiring [insert your niche] writers’. You’ll be amazed at how many viable leads you’ll find using this method. From there you can send them a connection request, strike up a conversation, and see how things develop.
5. Pitch Like a Pro
When it comes to pitching, freelancers often make the mistake of focusing on themselves, rather than their client.
Don’t make this mistake.
Your pitch should always show clients how you plan to fix the problems they have.
To find out more about pitching, check this out.
Once you have a few drafts of your pitch under your belt, you’ll be able to do all the following marketing methods:
- Responding to job ads on writer’s boards
- Cold e-mailing
- Guest blogging
As you can see, once you master the art of pitching, you’ll open up a wealth of marketing opportunities. Arguably, this is probably the most important skill to have in your marketing arsenal if you want to be a successful freelance writer.
Top Tips for Pitching
Grab their attention from the get-go: Your e-mail subject line should be less than 65 characters, and scream “open this e-mail!” Editors are busy people, so you need to grab their attention.
Keep it brief: Like I’ve just said, editors are time-poor, so you need to keep your pitch sharp and to the point. Don’t ramble on for ages — keep it concise.
Follow up: If you haven’t heard back from your pitch after having waiting around ten working days, send them a polite and personable follow up e-mail. You’ll be amazed at how effective this can be!
6. Reward Referrals
This marketing tactic, is only applicable to freelancers who are slightly more established.
If you have a good relationship with a client, and you’re working for them on a regular basis, offer them a discount on their next order if they refer your services to someone they know…and they hire you.
Everyone’s a winner in this scenario!
Start Marketing Yourself
We hope the above advice has helped give you a better idea of how to go about marketing yourself as a freelance writer. Whichever method you try first we wish you the best of luck — keep sticking at it and you’re sure to see the results!