The job description of a freelance writer is long and convoluted, including everything from content creation to accounting. Unfortunately, the one task that actually pays the bills, writing, often gets the least amount of space in the job description and schedule. For many freelance copywriters, the process of looking for work hogs attention. The key to bigger paychecks and bulging bank accounts is flipping the script and spending more time on paid writing and less on marketing.
Pump up your profiles
You can spend your days chasing down leads, applying to postings, bidding on jobs and sending out pitches, or you can let work come to you. Creating elaborate profiles requires an up-front time investment, which can scare off even seasoned writers. However, putting in the effort to fully describe your skills, style, and experience on each profile, plus your professional website, makes it simple for clients to connect with you. For writers that work through a variety of sites, the news is even better. Because most sites ask for similar profile information, you can create the content once and simply tweak and tailor for additional sites.
For many writers, the most difficult topic to write about is themselves. If you find yourself struggling to eloquently toot your horn, don’t be afraid to ask for help for the community of writers. Partner with another writer, or even a handful of professionals, to trade profile suggestions, revisions and verbiage.
Look for recurring work
Working with a consistent set of clients, that request weekly or monthly work, is often more lucrative than working with hundreds of clients that need a single job. Though recurring jobs, such a blog posts, newsletter articles and social media posts may pay less per order than larger jobs, such as websites rewrites, they have the advantage of offering ongoing work with less time spent on marketing.
For clients that initially need a one-and-done service, look for opportunities to extend the relationship with mutually beneficial jobs. Gently educating a client on the advantages of an up-to-date blog or frequent social media posts and suggesting a few potential topics can result in an influx of assignments.
Ask for referrals
Why market yourself when happy clients can do it for you? Word-of-mouth advertising is often the most effective form of marketing, so ask for satisfied clients to pass your name along to their network. Even if they can’t refer you to new potential clients, a review or endorsement can be a helpful addition to your profile. While many clients are happy to provide a review, they often won’t think to, or know how to, do it on their own. When you know you have wowed a client, don’t shy away from asking for their endorsement.
Once you have an ongoing relationship with a client, don’t let it go cold. Keep the spark alive with frequent communication. Reach out to clients that you haven’t heard from in awhile to ask how you can help meet their content needs and include a suggestion or two for timely articles or blog posts. Remember, the key here is to be helpful without harassing. If a client typically requests content on a schedule, reach out to them just after the first missed order.
Michelle S has been a freelance writer for three years but she is better known as the momma of her tiny pup, Peanut, and the captain of the 38-foot sailboat, Sunchi.