Writer Tools for Success: Your Writer Profile
The perfect writer profile can help you land high-paying writing gigs. On WriterAccess, there’s a section where you can write up a little something about yourself and include some short writing samples. If you’re getting clients through your own writer website, the profile is what you put on the “About Me” page.
Considering the importance, you’d think that most writers would spend a lot of time crafting this short piece, but most just throw something together without giving it much thought.
Some writers simply jot down a few sentences listing professional qualifications: “I have an MFA in creative writing. You can find my published work in the New York Times and Parents Magazine. Check out my writing samples below.”
Others go overboard in the opposite direction: “I first knew that I wanted to be a writer when I was three years old. My mother always said I had a knack for writing stories…”
Neither one of those profiles alone is likely to garner a lot of interest from clients.
Use the following advice to create a better profile.
What’s Your Story?
Your profile should tell prospective clients a little bit about you, but it doesn’t have to be done in a boring way. It’s your first chance to show them what you can do with the written word, and you don’t want to blow it.
In general, it’s best to match the tone of the client you’re trying to attract. These days, many clients are looking for writing in a conversational tone. Something that has a bit of “flair”. Show that in your profile. On the other hand, if you’re looking for clients in a more conservative field, you might not want to be too creative in your profile. Mimic the style they’re looking for.
“Extras” that Are Still Important
Often, writers come into freelancing as a side gig or a part-time job when they’re in school or raising a family. Alternatively, writing is something they turn to after another type of career. Too many writers leave this information out, not realizing that potential clients might jump at the chance to work with a writer who has experience in their industry.
Former nurses, for instance, are the perfect fit for clients in the medical industry because they won’t struggle with the medical terminology. A parent raising a child with special needs might be a good fit for a toy company, a psychologist, or a learning website. Any background knowledge you have can strongly influence your writing, and clients might crave that connection.
Don’t forget to briefly mention some of your hobbies, too. The weekends you spend surfing or gardening, and your vacations abroad could also attract a few clients.
Include Some Keywords
If you were the type of client you want, and you were looking for a writer, what are the types of terms you’d search for? Would you search “finance writer”, “call center experience”, or “business blogging”? These are the types of words you should sprinkle throughout your profile.
Now, you don’t want to make things sound awkward. Writing something like, “Are you looking for a business writer, a marketing writer, or a finance writer? You’ve come to the right place” hits all of those keywords, but it’s the type of SEO writing that people hate because it sounds horrible and repetitive.
This means that you’ll have to carefully select which keywords you want to focus on. In the above example, for instance, you’d want to select just one “_____ writer” keyword, then use the other two words in different ways.
Search engines are getting better every day, and they will be able to tell that you’re a business writer even if you haven’t used that exact phrase in your profile. But if you’re able to use the keyword phrase that your preferred client is most likely to search for, you’ll stand a better chance of showing up in the search results.
Impress Potential Clients
Don’t be shy about pulling out the stops to impress potential clients. If you’ve been published in a national magazine, mention that. If you’ve won an award, let people know.
Think there’s nothing special about you because you haven’t written for a well-known publisher? Think again.
Clients can be impressed by any work that has your byline, even if it’s from a small website. They could also be impressed by other measures, such as a 100% article acceptance rate. In a world where mediocre (and sometimes terrible!) writers can sneak in through the cracks, consistently producing quality content is something to be proud of.
If you’re creating a profile on writing platforms, be sure to check the terms of service before you tout anything that could potentially be breaking the rules.
Select the Right Samples
Choose samples that are sure to impress. Ideally, you’ll want some samples that are in your target industry. If possible, you should try to vary the samples, too. For one writer, this could be samples in a variety of industries, demonstrating flexibility in subject matter. For another writer, the variety could show different styles of writing — something funny, something informative, and something instructional. Showing different types of writing — blog posts, brochures, and newsletters, for instance — could let a client know that you can be the only writer they’ll need.
Adding a picture of yourself can seem controversial. Everyone hates thinking that they might lose a job because they’re not attractive enough. When you work remotely, though, the picture gives clients a sense of who you are. It makes them feel like they really know who they’re working with.
Choose a picture that looks professionally done, even if you only had your spouse snap it with their phone. Show your face clearly. Using clothes, background, and pose, try to convey the type of person you are. For instance, if you want to attract traditional business clients, you might want to dress in a business suit. If you’re looking to show that you’re a “fun” person, you might have a picture where you’re clearly laughing.
Edit, Review, and Update
An embarrassing confession: As I wrote this, I realized that my own profile might be put under more scrutiny, so I went to check it out. And I found a typo. That profile has been up for months with a mistake. I could just die.
But it does illustrate an important point: You need to take extra care with your profile. Carefully go through what you’ve written, looking for mistakes. Ask a friend or another writer to look at it and give you some tips. Only then can you post it.
Don’t stop there, though. Take another look at it each month. If you’re not getting the jobs you want, maybe you need to revise it. You could try refocusing on a different keyword. You could add some experience you gained recently. You might, like me, notice a typo that you’d missed the first time.
It’s hard to work on something like a profile when you have paying projects lined up, but remember that your profile could lead to more work. Take the time to create a great one. And, if you’re looking for other awesome tips, keep an eye on the WriterAccess blog page!
Shannon T has been writing professionally for over 10 years. In addition to the thousands of articles, blog posts, and web pages she’s ghostwritten, she has bylined work that’s been published on sites like Headspace.com, ModernMom.com, Chron.com, and Fool.com (The Motley Fool).https://www.writeraccess.com/writer/13956/