By Candidate #1
The Internet has provided us with a vast amount of freelance writing jobs to choose from, but we shouldn’t neglect our local community. If you’d like to increase your freelance writing income, your local community is another place to search for writing jobs.
Through this post, you’ll learn how to find work in your local community, how to apply and how to follow up. What do you say, are you reading to increase your freelance writing income with freelance writing jobs from local clients?
The first thing you need to do is prepare a promotional package to send or deliver to potential clients in your local area. Your promotional package should consist of the following materials:
- A well-written cover letter that tells the potential client your experience, what content you can prepare for them, how that content could benefit them and how hiring you can be beneficial to them. If you need help listing ways you can be beneficial to them, check out the great suggestions mentioned in last week’s post: 10 Sensible Defenses of Telecommuting
- Business and Rolodex cards with your contact information and website URL. While a business card may be misplaced, a Rolodex card is something the potential client can immediately add to his or her Rolodex.
- A brochure detailing your experience, the writing services you offer and your rates. You could edit each brochure to fit the business you contact. For example, if you’re sending your brochure to a daycare center, include the following writing services: newsletter content, blog content and website content. For your experience, include any expertise you have composing parenting-related content.
After you’ve prepared your promotional package, gather a list of potential clients by browsing through the yellow pages in a local phone book, as well as checking local business directories on the Internet. Businesses to send your promotional package to could include daycare centers, funeral homes, grocery stores, wineries, liquor stores, tourism/travel centers, local newspapers, real estate agencies, doctor offices, spas and schools.
What kind of content can you write for the aforementioned businesses? Let’s explore the types of content, shall we?
Daycare centers: Newsletters, blogs and website content offering parenting advice.
Funeral homes: Obituaries, as well as newsletter, blog or website content that includes advice on planning a funeral ahead of time or other content related to funerals and/or dealing with the loss of loved ones.
Grocery stores: Pamphlets they put in their customers’ grocery bags that includes recipes, advice on how to save money on groceries, food-related articles and/or store news (sales, promotions, events, etc.).
Wineries: Newsletter, website or blog content related to wine (selecting wines, what wines go best with what foods, etc.).
Liquor stores: Newsletter, website or blog content covering party games involving alcohol and/or party planning advice.
Tourism/travel centers: Local guides with the best places to eat, top hotels in the area, restaurant reviews and/or historical sites or other interesting places to visit.
Local newspapers: A column covering local events, city meetings or local gossip.
Real estate agencies: Offer to write descriptions of homes they have for sale.
Doctor offices: Medical-related newsletter, website or blog content.
Spas: Health and/or beauty-related newsletter, website or blog content.
Schools: Newsletter, blog or website content offering parenting advice and/or offering advice for teenagers (dating, relationships, beauty advice, etc.).
Now that you know what to include in your promotional package, whom to contact and what to offer them, it’s time to begin promoting yourself to your local community. After you send or deliver your promotional package, wait a week, then follow-up with those who didn’t contact you to see if they received your package and would be interested in hiring a local writer. The best way to follow up is by phone or in person. If you follow up in person, dress professionally and take along a few clips.
While you’re waiting for the work to pour in from potential clients in your local community, why not catch up on some overdue projects of your own — projects you’ve had setting on the back burner for a while now.
Good luck and happy hunting!
@Candidate #1, I like the idea of finding work in your local community. That makes a lot of sense. My only question is do people still use Rolodexes? Seriously, I don’t know. I know that I keep all my contact info on the computer.
Also, I would add churches to your list. A lot of churches are looking to reach out and so might be interested in hiring a freelancer for a special project or two.
Thanks for reminding us to look in our own backyards!
Matt Cardin says
A very nice and useful post. And I agree with Morgan: Definitely add churches to that list.
Jenny B says
Hi #1 a great list of locals and yes churches are great to add to the list I’m also wondering about adding any specialty shops ie., natural food, pet food and care chiropractors even the town hall may be in need of writers. Just some thoughts.
Thanks for the suggestions! They were great. I can’t wait to get started.
I think this is important. I get the impression that a lot of jobs posted on the internet get a million replies. I’ve seen people complain on this site that they can’t understand why the Potato Farmer’s blog from Iowa doesn’t want to hire someone from Miami. Seeking local options is often easier and it’s something you can relate to better.
Nice post #1. It’s good to be reminded that there’s life (and work) beyond the internet.
@#1: Thanks for the mention! Glad you liked my list last week.
One of my personal favorites is when a repairperson or contractor of some sort comes to work on my house, I set up in a central location to work and tell them that I’ll be right there working if they have any questions. When the they ask what I’m working on, I tell them I’m a writer. By the end of the visit, they usually have my biz card in hand. I haven’t gotten a ton of calls this way, but I have gotten a couple!
Candidate #11 says
I carry my cards with me everywhere – and I just need to remember to hand them out more liberally to local businesses.
Candidate #1 says
@Morgan: I won’t speak for everyone, but I’ve been in several business offices in my local area and seen Rolodexes sitting on their desks. I also have a Rolodex on my desk that I use. My Rolodex is great for keeping the names and contact information of people I interview. So to answer your question, yes, I still think many business folks use Rolodexes.
@Matt Cardin: Thanks for the compliment; I’m glad I could help!
@RobinMarie: You’re welcome! I hope my advice helps you land many local clients. 😉
@Adam: I can only imagine the number of responses that jobs posted on the Internet receive, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about responding to Internet gigs, it’s that you have to be quick to respond. I think if you wait more than two days to reply, chances are it could be too late to land that writing job.
@#7: Technology is wonderful and has given us writers great opportunities — opportunities we didn’t have before the Internet was popular. However, it is nice to remember the traditional methods of finding freelance writing work. I also enjoy building my brand in my local community, and working for clients in my area allows me to do that. 🙂
@#12: You’ve very welcome! I enjoyed your post last week. I thought you gave some great advice, and when I was writing this post, I knew your post from last week fit well with it, so I provided the link.
My husband does our household repairs, so we don’t usually hire a repairperson. However, we are in the process of remodeling our home, and he’s suggested we hire a contractor to do the kitchen cabinets, so I’ll definately have to remember your suggestion and give the contractor my business card when he finishes the job. 😉
@Candidate #11: I too carry my business cards everywhere. In fact, I’ve even left them with tips I leave in restaurants, as well as lay a few in public restrooms.
Morgan, Jenny B and #13, thanks for adding your great suggestions to the mix! My list could have went on and on, but then everyone would have probably stopped reading. Then again, maybe they would have printed it out to refer back to later. 😉
I have to agree with Morgan. People rarely use Rolodexes these days. They may keep business cards they receive, but they’re much much more likely to have an electronic contact database, like in Outlook or even gmail, that they keep up-to-date. I’ve only ever worked in one industry (textbook publishing), but I can tell you that this is typically what publishing folks (not just editorial staff, but finance, human resources, marketing staff, etc., too) and university professors do.