As a freelance writer, your income depends on your ability to market yourself, bringing on new clients and attracting desirable work. Without the force of a company with a marketing budget, however, it can be hard to put yourself out there. You need some low-budget, high-return strategies.
Luckily, there are plenty of simple marketing tricks that can help you attract work, from the mundane to the peculiar. At the end of the day, much like writing, marketing yourself depends on using what you have and working your networks to build professional connections.
How to market freelance writing services
Make a Website
You can’t succeed as an independent freelancer if you don’t have a website to refer people to when they ask about your work. Yes, you could just give them your email, but without a website, each time you make a new connection, you have to send them a collection of files and links to testify to your skills. With a website, you can compile all of the things clients usually ask for – work samples, a CV, testimonials – in one place.
There are plenty of free resources online that will help you build a better writing portfolio, and that can generally help you leverage your portfolio to get more work. This may be the most powerful tool in your arsenal as a freelance writer.
Make Business Cards
After a website, your next most valuable marketing tool is a great business card. Who uses business cards these days? While some may think that no one uses them anymore, they come in handy when you’re out there in the brick-and-mortar world.
A business card doesn’t need to be busy or brightly colored, but it needs to contain the basic information and you need to keep them with you all the time. Luckily, this shouldn’t be too hard since you can run off 1000 business cards for a fairly low price. Just stick some in every pocket, backpack, and bag.
Beyond your name and contact information, the piece of information you should consider most carefully when creating your business cards is your job title: how do you want to bill yourself? Calling yourself a freelance writer or even just a writer isn’t very specific and won’t grab anyone’s attention. Aim for a job title that will attract clients, dubbing yourself a consultant in your top knowledge areas, a journalist, or a content marketing specialist – whatever most closely captures what you do while remaining interesting.
Use Close Connections
One commonly overlooked marketing strategy that can really benefit freelance writers is engaging family and friends as supporters. No, they don’t need to hire you and they don’t even really need to understand what freelancing is. Rather, they just need to understand that you’re seeking clients in a general sense, people who might just need one small job. Then, give them some of those all-valuable business cards and ask them to give them out if someone they know mentions a writing task. If you’re not right for the job, that person will pass you over. It’s only a business card – over distributing them won’t hurt your freelance career.
Finally, depending on your niche (we don’t recommend this one for finance writers, for example), you may want to get creative in your marketing strategies. Once again, business cards are great for this. You might go to your local bookstore and slip business cards into books related to your field or tuck them into bathroom mirrors.
For the slightly tamer freelancers out there, similar options include leaving your business cards on the tables at cafes where you’re a regular, at hotels when traveling, or at your local library. By taking this approach, you make yourself a resource, putting your services on offer where people might not expect to find such a thing.
Freelancers who quietly sit and wait for work to show up don’t get jobs and don’t make any money. So, get your name out there, even if only in your local community. When people know that there’s someone with the necessary expertise and interest available to perform a task at a reasonable rate, they’ll jump at the chance – but they have to know you’re out there.
You might also want to read “How to Effectively Attract Clients: Create a Genuine Connection“.