Three Tips and a Bonus to Market Yourself

Today’s tempting tidbit of freelance business advice comes to you from James Chartrand of Men with Pens, a featured Freelance Writing Gigs blogger. Enjoy!

Marketing yourself to land new clients can be an overwhelming, frustrating task. How do you do it? Where do you look? What do you say to people to convince them they need you? Sometimes it just seems easier to do nothing and hope for the best.

Well, instead of doing nothing, why not try to write a few pitches and send them out? Here are a few tips to help convince people to hire you:

Believe in Yourself

Sometimes our own politeness and discomfort at blowing our own horn gets in the way of promoting ourselves. Don’t be shy; these people need you – they just don’t know it yet.

So let them know. Write a brief email and use strong, confident language. Convey that you know you’re the best person for the job – right here, right now – and mention why. List strong qualities that prove you’re better than the next person (even if you don’t think you are).

Focus On the Benefits

A common mistake that many writers make when writing to potential customers is listing credentials. Boring. People are only mildly interested in your qualifications. They’re thinking, “So what?”

Answer that question. Every time you write something about yourself, your credentials and your work, give the “so what” that makes a difference. An English major? So what? 10 years of experience? So what? The answers are the only ones that count.

Know What They Need

Do you know what customers need? Good content is the wrong answer. People don’t care about that. They don’t want articles or ebooks or website copy. They want a better life. They want less work. They want more money, more attention, more sales and more success.

So tell them how you’ll help give them that. Business owners care only about results, so list some of the potential results they’ll achieve from working with you or using your content. Show them how you’ll change their life. Pitch beyond what you sell, all the time, every time.

Go Find the Work

Unless you’re hugely famous or very popular, work isn’t going to fall in your lap when you need it. Take advantage of resources you have to pitch your services to people:

Email campaigns – gather a list of likely contacts and sent them an introductory email
Job boards – set up a profile on a good job board and start pitching for gigs
Offline marketing – put together a folder of some samples and hand it out to local businesses
Article marketing – write articles about how better content helps businesses succeed
Advertising – buy ad space on websites, forums and in local newspapers
Blog commenting – leave valuable comments on blogs that potential clients visit often
Want ads – peruse Craigslist for likely gigs and answer ads looking for writers
Pitch to companies – visit websites of magazines or companies and see if they have job openings

Try every resource and give each your best effort. Believe that everything you try will work, and have the patience to hang in there for a while.

You never know what could happen and you have nothing to lose but a bit of time.

Can you think of other ways to promote yourself? How do you stand out from the competition and get people to notice you?


  1. says

    James, this is great – thanks! I’ve struggled with the About page on my new Web site. I’m going back to make sure I focused on the benefits and what they need to know about my work that differentiates me from other writers/editors.

    Much appreciated!

  2. says

    Thanks for the valuable info. I have been a little lax in the marketing area because I really wasn’t sure how to. This post has given me the “kick” I need to get started.

    I agree with Hazel and will change up some things on my website and blog too.

  3. says

    This is great, James. (Have I mentioned how excited I am to see you here? I have? Well, let me mention it again!) What you’ve said about showing them the benefits — what you’ll gain them — over what your credentials and and such… SO true. Potential clients really don’t care how great we are and how well we write; they want to know how we’ll make them money.

    I also think getting out there and networking with people who need our stuff is an important step a lot of us seem to miss in the beginning. We hang out with fellow writers, read a bunch of writing blogs, leave great comments, talk about writing on our own blogs — and all of that is great — but we sometimes forget to get out there and visit the places where our potential clients hang out. And really, that’s the key to making money. Find the clients. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Ya know?

  4. says

    This is a fantastic post, and so nicely timed, too, since I’m just starting to launch a freelance service. Everything is marketing, right? And the better you can “sell” yourself to a client, the better job they’ll know you can do–even if they don’t realize that you’re “selling,” a great promo piece or introduction for yourself will still help convince them that you can sell for THEM. Even if it’s subconscious.

  5. says

    These are all great tips! One additional one I would suggest is social media sites such as Twitter. I’ve found lots of great contacts that way, and have been able to socialize in a more personal manner. When they do decide that they need your services, you’re not sending a “cold pitch.” You’re someone that they already know and trust.



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