Man, it just isn’t easy to be a freelance writer sometimes. Sure, you have the ability to set your own hours and rates. You can work from literally anywhere with an Internet connection and you are your own boss. Plus, if you ever need to take time away you can do so. All in all, it is a good career choice, but it still has its difficulties.
Probably the most common question I hear from people new to the business, or even occasionally those who have been in it for awhile, is how to find work. The market is vast, but so is the competition. Worse, there is a serious gap between what some clients want to pay and what some writers can make a living off of. It is a dilemma that is faced by even the most seasoned freelancers.
You have to be able to find potential clients, promote your work and come up on top of the competition. To do this, it is best to really build up your arsenal, keeping all those weapons that will blast you to the top of every potential client’s go-to list.
Freelance Writer’s Weapon No. 1 – Work Quality
This isn’t going to sound like a weapon, but it is your most important one. When finding clients (or letting them find you) it is crucial that you have plenty of high quality, top-notch work for them to read, especially if you post your work around the web, and so they might come across you through your articles. You would be surprised by how often this happens.
Your absolute best bet at finding people bearing work is by always making sure your own is the best possible product, especially when something is in your name and on a site or in a publication that has any kind of real readership. That means no doing a poor job to get it done and then forgetting about it. Always work your best to make sure the client is seeing your best face.
In addition, you might want to go through past work and see what it looks like. Did you have a couple of posts on your blog that weren’t so good because you were miserably sick? Maybe you hired a ghostwriter or two during a busy period, and they just didn’t match up to your usual standard. Whether fixing those up or removing them altogether, you should always know that whatever you have up is good.
Freelance Writer’s Weapon No. 2 – Own a Blog
Portfolio websites are great – don’t get me a wrong. They provide you with a creative and stylish way to show off your past projects. But they aren’t so necessary for writers, who will always be showing off a more text-based media, unlike graphic designers who have to have a site to show what they can do.
My advice would be to have a blog. If you already have one, keep up on it. Post at least a few times a week (preferably on the same days) and promote from that platform. Because that is exactly what it is: a foundation for you to express your views, show off your skills and gain a following.
To help you gain more readers, it is a good idea to start guest blogging, as well. This will not only give you more work but will expand your visibility, bring people to your blog and give yourself a list of networking individuals who might just refer you out or turn to you with a project idea.
Freelance Writer’s Weapon No. 3 – Utilize Social Media Sites
I will never understand why so many writers have been bagging on social media lately. Sure, it isn’t a way of expressing literary genius, but it is a nice method of promotion and communication with readers and clients alike. That is why I will always recommend it.
Your social media contacts are your business cards you collect in real life. You never know when you use one!
You have the basic ones like Twitter and Facebook. But if you want to connect with clients you should have a LinkedIn profile, which is a great way to network with people in various niches. It is also a great online profile.
Freelance Writer’s Weapon No. 4 – Referrals
These are your best friend and your bread and butter. Existing clients can pass you on to people who need writing services. Just let the people you work for know that they are free to pass you along to anyone who needs stuff done. To be honest, most will probably do that anyway.
But make sure you are up to date with information. For example, if you are offering a certain price to an existing client that is less than your current rate, let them know that is a discount and what your actual rate happens to be.
These are all common sense, useful tips that will expand your promotion arsenal with very little effort. That will, in turn, get you more work, increase visibility and perhaps double your readership or more.