If you are skilled at writing and want to become a freelance writer, you will need clients.
Sounds pretty obvious, right?
But finding the right clients can be a challenging part of freelancing, and it’s something many don’t consider until they are struggling to find work. Below, I’ll cover 15 simple ways you can get those feelers out to find clients as a freelancer.
Create Freelance Writing Boast-Worthy Opportunities
The first five tips are going to deal with making yourself more marketable. You need to have reasons for clients to choose you over other writers (and not just because you are willing to work for nearly free).
Creating these boast-worthy opportunities will also give you something to post about to friends, family, and followers so they will know about your new venture and keep you in mind for any writing work they may need. If no one knows you are offering freelance services, they won’t be able to recommend you or hire you as a writer.
Choose a Niche
One of the first things you need to do as a freelance writer is to consider your skillsets—what sets you apart? As a writer, you might end up covering a lot of different topics and industries, but you can often attract clients willing to pay more for the specific expertise you have.
Are you a great DIYer?
Did you work as a teacher, medical assistant, lawyer, therapist or plumber?
Did you get a degree in a specific field or grow up in a certain environment (like on a farm or in a very religious setting)?
These are the types of things that can help you define your niches. Clients want a writer with a deeper understanding of what they do. When you choose to work with clients in industries that you have hands-on experience in or a passion for, you are able to create more engaging, higher-quality content that customers are willing to pay more for.
Start sharing content, tips, stories and memes within your niche areas so people identify you with those topics.
Build a Portfolio
It will be difficult to find work if you can’t prove you are a good writer that understands grammar and has the right voice for the brand. Even if you don’t have a client yet, you can build a portfolio to showcase your abilities.
While some clients will want to remain confidential, other clients may give you a byline—which means you can include this published work in your portfolio. Share it with the world!
Start writing portfolio samples for your niche based on the kinds of clients and projects you want to attract.
Prioritize Continuing Education
70% of full-time freelancers participated in skills training in the past six months. (Fundera)
Whether you want to take brush-up classes on grammar rules, marketing classes for content marketing, or a class that gives you insight into your niche, there are lots of learning opportunities online. You can pay for some classes and take other classes for free.
Earning a certification can be really helpful for proving your expertise in the subject. Writers’ conventions, marketing events, and other learning and networking opportunities are great as well.
Ongoing education not only helps you expand your skill set, but it also gives you something to post about and looks good on your portfolio, profile, and resume.
Start searching for classes that will improve your professional knowledge as a writer or within your niche.
Start a Blog
It can feel overwhelming to start your own blog, but it will give you content to share on social media and in your portfolio.
Choose a topic you are knowledgeable in and one that is valuable to your followers. You can write about your niche or something else entirely, but becoming a blogger gives you an opportunity to show you can write and create quality content on a consistent basis.
You can start a free blog (on a platform like Blogger or WordPress.com), or think long term and pay for a domain name, website host, and web design template (on a platform like WordPress.org)—but the important thing is to just get started. Try to post on your blog once a week.
Sharing a good review is vital when you are working to build trust. As you work for clients, any and all good reviews are great opportunities to do a little boasting.
Ask previous clients you have worked with to give you a written testimonial or review that you can post on your website or in your portfolio. These reviews will help you show new clients what you have to offer.
Delight your clients and then ask them directly to give you a review if they are happy with your work.
Make it Easy for Clients to Find You
Before looking for clients, you want to create the platforms that will draw in business. These next five tips revolve around different platforms that you can use to build visibility online and make it easier for clients to find you.
Get Active on LinkedIn
There are a lot of professionals on LinkedIn and many clients will look you up there before hiring you. Set up a profile that showcases your work history, portfolio, resume, and current employment.
Then, start giving endorsements to other professionals you know (don’t endorse complete strangers). This increases the likelihood that they will return the favor and help build up your profile.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and share professional content for your niche industry on your feed (especially things you’ve published or have a byline for).
Post on Facebook
You probably already have a personal Facebook profile where you share personal experiences and posts. This can also be a great outlet for sharing the content you right. Most of your Facebook friends probably know you somehow in person. But they could also be potential clients or know potential clients that they could introduce you to.
Remember who your audience is here. There’s a good chance that you aren’t going to find anything other than supportive friends and family on your personal Facebook profile. So you may want to create a Facebook page for your business or blog as well. There, you can share new blog posts and bylined articles as well as updates on your business.
Don’t go crazy talking about work, but do share memes, stories and blog posts that interest you.
Join the Conversation on Twitter
It can be hard to build traction on Twitter, but it is a great place for sharing quick thoughts and links. You can pick a niche and follow lots of important thought leaders in your industry as well as other freelance writers. Take a look at what types of content they are sharing and model your posts after there’s.
One of the great things about Twitter is that it provides a public space for people in a variety of industries with many different interests to start a conversation online. Look for conversations in your niche and find ways to add your own insight.
Tweet or Retweet several times a day to slowly build a solid presence on Twitter.
Build a Website
Build a website with static pages that provide your writer’s bio and content samples. Your website can include pricing or contact information for new clients. This is a great place to also attach your blog and social media, providing your website with fresh content consistently.
You will want to start learning about SEO to help you make this website rank well on search engines. The best way to do that is by consistently publishing helpful content about the topics that your audience cares about most.
Focus your various pages or blog posts on topics that are most relevant to your audience and include the keywords and phrases they search for most.
Guest Blog and Get Bylines
There are plenty of sites that allow writers to submit content and will give you a byline. Medium, Huffington Post, and Mashable are just a few examples of the many sites that allow you to send in guest posts. Bylines on these sites provide a direct link back to your site for potential clients to find you.
Writing guest blog posts on popular sites not only exposes you to a new audience, but it also gives you even more content to use in your portfolio.
Start researching sites to submit articles that will appeal to target clients in your niche.
Seek Out Clients Directly
Once you’ve established your bases, you can start finding clients to approach for jobs. Having profiles, post history, and work samples already ready is important because many clients and companies will research you when you reach out.
These next 5 tips are ways you can start reaching out to clients to bring in freelance jobs.
Making connections through networking can make up an important part of your exposure to new potential clients as a freelance writer. The more you can rub shoulders with business owners and marketing professionals, the more visibility you will have in your target audience.
While it may be difficult to find in-person networking events right now, you can still network by attending virtual events and joining the conversation on social media.
Remember, the initial goal of networking is to introduce yourself and what you do, but not sell immediately. Get to know the people you meet at these events and foster those relationships so that these new contacts will think of you fondly and reach out when they need you.
Create a professional and quality-printed business card that is easy to hand out whenever you attend business events, fundraisers, or conventions.
46% of full-time freelancers rate word-of-mouth as their top way to find work. (Fundera)
One of the best ways to sell something (like your services as a freelance writer) is to have others recommend it to their friends, families, and colleagues. Encourage your clients to spread the news about your writing services and always go above and beyond to help a good client.
There is going to be the occasional difficult client that doesn’t pay well or respect your professional boundaries. However, you’ll find that most clients are agreeable when you deliver content that meets or exceeds their expectations. Work to provide the best service possible for your clients, and there’s a good chance they will recommend you to others who need your services.
Don’t be so rigid in your policies that you won’t help out a good client—delight your client and then ask them to spread the word about your skills as a freelance writer.
If you think there are companies in your niche that don’t have great writing or aren’t optimized for search engines, you can reach out to them directly. While you may be turned away a lot, you will get occasional clients who are interested. You will have to consider the value of your writing as well as your policies for revisions, submission, deadlines, and payments.
Make sure that your pitch is specific to the client you’re reaching out to. Instead of talking about yourself and your qualifications, focus the conversation on how you can benefit the client.
Before pitching, prepare examples and solid pricing sheets. You don’t want to come off as inexperienced or unsure.
Apply on Job Boards
You can seek out interested employers through writer job boards like ProBlogger, BloggingPro, and Freelance Writers Den. Sites like these will have freelance jobs listed. You can apply and may be able to snag new clients.
Keep in mind that some of these job boards require payment while others are free. Those that require payment will typically have more exclusive job postings with fewer writers competing.
Don’t undercut yourself with low pricing. If you can’t make a decent hourly wage, you are going to burn out fast. So, while you may have to work for lower rates to prove yourself, make sure you are considering how much time you are spending for the rates you are pitching.
Choose a Third-Party Site
Third-party sites are a great way to find new clients. The reason writers reach out to third-party writing platforms like WriterAccess is because these platforms do a lot of the heavy lifting that comes with freelancing.
The platform is responsible for bringing in clients, facilitating growth, monitoring jobs, and making sure that clients pay on time. Part of what can make a freelancer’s job so difficult is working without a real support system. If a client is being difficult, changing instructions, or refusing to pay in a timely way, what can you do? Many freelancers spend more time attracting clients, communicating, and billing than they prefer.
There are a lot of third-party writing sites and content mills out there, but most of them do not pay very much per word.
WriterAccess is different.
WriterAccess offers a tiered rating system that allows writers to work their way up to higher pay. As writers prove experience and skill, they can be paid more for their work. WriterAccess has a great setup for helping both writers and clients have the best experiences during the writing process. Writers are paid in a timely manner and can earn a very good rate (much higher than many other third-party sites). While clients have thousands of pre-vetted writers at their disposal.
These are just a few of the best ways to advertise your skills to jumpstart your freelancing career. If you are interested in becoming a freelance writer or ghostwriter with WriterAccess, learn how it works and apply today.
Alethea M. has worked as a freelance content writer at WriterAccess since 2013. She got her B.A. in Communication Arts and Graphic Design from the University of Saint Francis. She enjoys the flexibility of freelancing as a stay at home mom of four. She spends free time in her vegetable gardens, cooking, painting, teaching art, and blogging.