Freelance writers need all the credibility they can get. Everyone starts off at the bottom being virtually unknown in the writing world. However, with the following strategies, you can earn the credibility required to get high paying, high-level gigs.
1. Start a serious blog in your niche
Freelance writing often gets in the way of writing your own content. However, publishing your own work is crucial for developing credibility. Having your own blog tells people you are:
- Serious about your writing career. What writer doesn’t have their own outlet for expression?
- Dedicated. Publishing your own content tells people you’re committed to writing and you’re not just trying to monetize a hobby.
- Good at what you do. Having a blog gives you a live portfolio to share with potential clients. This is especially important when you’re a ghostwriter and can’t share any of your work.
Your personal niche doesn’t need to be the same niche as your clients’ content. If you’re passionate about fashion, start a fashion blog and don’t worry about the niche turning off potential clients. Your clients will see your writing skills no matter what subject you write about.
Of course, it helps to publish articles related to the subjects your clients pay you to write, so you may also want to consider starting a general blog just to establish credibility in multiple niches.
2. Start writing for people you know
Do you know someone with a blog who normally publishes reader contributions? Ask if you can contribute a regular column. Ideally, you should get paid for your work, however, sometimes working for free is necessary. For instance, new blogs don’t generally pay for content, yet can be a significant source of traffic to your business’ website if the owner markets the blog properly.
Vet each situation carefully. Only write for blogs that have potential and a solid marketing plan.
3. Publish free educational content
Start publishing free content in your area of expertise. It doesn’t matter how small your niche is – there is an audience for every subject under the sun. If you can establish yourself as an industry expert, your niche might be small, but you’ll get the lion’s share of work and money.
Marketers have been using this strategy for decades. The idea is to publish high-quality content that readers would expect to pay good money to access. When you’re truly an expert in your industry, you can afford to ‘give away’ several secrets and key pieces of information without having to worry about running out of ideas for your paying clients.
4. Offer discounted services
Offering free and discounted services is controversial in the freelance world. Many say you should never work for free, while others say it’s sometimes beneficial. The truth is, working for free can help you generate new, paying clients when done correctly.
If you’re going to offer free or discounted services, set up your system like a marketer. Don’t discount your normal rates. Raise your rates first and then discount them so that you’re not cheating yourself out of income. For example, if you normally charge $30/hour, market your services as being discounted from $40/hour to $25/hour for a short period of time.
Marketing psychology ensures that people will view the discount as a great deal, even though it’s only $5/hour less than what you normally charge.
5. Say yes to every gig for a while
Under normal circumstances, saying yes to every gig is a bad idea. However, when you’re trying to establish credibility, taking on projects that seem over your head could turn out to be a blessing.
Many people seriously underestimate their abilities and skills and only take gigs that are safe. The problem is, the big money is found outside of your comfort zone and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you’re challenged.
Worst case scenario, you’ll take on a gig that you need to bow out of. It happens. You’ll never know what you’re capable of achieving until you try.
6. Get certified
While it’s true that anyone can get certified online in anything they wish, those certifications are taken seriously by many clients. Certain certifications may be available to all, but those who take the time to complete a certification prove they’re committed to their writing career.
What can you get certified in? Whether it’s SEO, content writing, digital marketing, or copywriting, get that certificate as soon as possible.
No matter what strategies you take on, keep writing. The more you write, the better writer you’ll become and you’ll be justified in charging expert-level rates.