If you told someone you were a freelance writer ten years ago, you may have gotten the question, “What do you do for money to pay the bills?” as the person waits politely to hear about your day job. Today, freelance writers are making more money than ever due to the convergence of two tributary forces: the need for gluts of content on a regular basis and the easy-to-use tech tools that bring writers and marketers together.
Even in a microcosm such as WriterAccess.com, there are levels of writers with the highest pay going in the pockets of writers who work tirelessly to promote themselves and provide superior customer service. What can we learn from these top-tier freelance earners?
1. Create a Killer Profile
A fabulous freelance writing profile starts with a story that grabs the attention of your readers while making you seem both human and approachable as well as astonishingly knowledgeable. Your picture should be professional but show a bit of style–no glamour shots, please! And yes, it takes some time to go through and answer all of the questions for your profile, filling out the details of previous work history and more.
When you think about it, you are filling out a job questionnaire one time and it is likely to be reviewed each time a prospective customer is looking for a writer. Time spent on your profile and samples is one of the best investments you can make to advance your writing career. Speaking of work samples…
2. Present Yourself as an Industry Pro
Clients hire a writer for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they don’t have the time to nuance their messaging or don’t feel confident in their own writing abilities. It could be that clients simply do not have the time to create the onslaught of articles and whitepapers required to support a robust content strategy. You can raise the comfort level (and the rates!) for clients when they feel that you are an extension of their team.
The single best step you can take to support your business is to leverage the platform! Take advantage of the additional tests and certifications. Add prolific amounts of samples and specializations to your profile. Make yourself so compelling that clients cannot imagine hiring anyone less qualified–and you will see that you receive more profitable projects as your profile expands.
3. Craft a Casting Call Response That Gets You Hired
There are dozens of Casting Calls posted on a weekly basis. With thousands of writers vying for the attention of clients, how can you make sure that your Casting Call response stands out above the rest? As with all writing, put yourself in the mind of your audience–in this case, your prospective clients. What types of questions are they likely to need an answer to before hiring you? Things like:
- How can I be sure this writer will deliver to expectations?
- What happens if I don’t like their writing?
- What are the next steps once I select a writer?
- How do I know they understand my content and my audience?
The more of these questions you can answer in your Casting Call response, the better the chances are that you will be selected. Insert these integral points into your response for maximum impact:
- Approximate number of projects completed
- Your approval rating (assuming it is high!)
- Any special certifications or awards you have received
- How your knowledge parallels their audience or topic
- A link to your work samples, review and profile
Just as when you are adding your work samples, it is worth the time investment to refine a core Casting Call response that can be modified slightly or added to based on the needs of the specific project.
4. Never Stop Learning (Just Add Tech!)
The best writers are able to step into the client’s mind, learn what drives their audience and craft an engaging message. You rarely will know as much about a specific industry as the person hiring you to be their writer. However, you can do the research to learn more and become more valuable. Even if you don’t have extensive experience in a particular field, you can often leverage related knowledge to connect the dots. Technology is one of the hottest topics in content marketing, and one of the most lucrative, too.
Continually look for ways to learn more about how tech intersects with your core body of knowledge. If you are primarily comfortable with real estate, beef up your knowledge about targeting a specific message to an audience segment. If you are more focused on business, you will definitely need to understand the difference between SaaS (Software as a Service) and on-premise software installations. This expanded expertise lets you make recommendations to your client on topics or directions for an article or blog post. Who knows, they may be so impressed that they hire you again!
5. Always Ask for Referrals
Whether you work for a client one time or off and on for years, it is always a good practice to be grateful and to ask for referrals. It only takes clients a few seconds, and most are very happy to perform this small service for you if you ask graciously. Using your manners never goes out of style! Your level of professionalism, blended with awesome writing and a fun personality is what will bring clients back to you repeatedly. Great feedback from clients goes a long way with the WriterAccess team when it’s time for star reviews!
Creating a freelance writing career is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, dedication and professionalism to achieve success in this field. Writing ability doesn’t hurt, either! These tips will help you attract and retain fruitful clients who will keep you hopping with plenty of stimulating projects. Happy writing!
Myca A brings 12 years of director-level marketing, sales and communications experience. She has worked with all sizes and types of organizations from GE Capital Corporation and a $100MM non-profit down to a small local promotional products manufacturer. Her experience in publishing, process improvement, change management, leadership, finance, communications and marketing give her a broad background to draw upon when crafting compelling content.